As detective Kevin Ryan on the ABC crime drama Castle, Seamus Dever spends his evenings tracking down murderers. Away from the studio, he and his on-screen and real-life wife, Juliana (who plays Jenny O’Malley) are devoted to the pursuit of vino. It’s a passion that kicked off just north of Hollywood in Paso Robles and has fueled explorations to France and Australia. Along the way, they’ve built a stellar cellar that’s grown in tandem with their appreciation for wine.
Wine Enthusiast: Where was your first memorable wine experience?
Seamus Dever: In Paso Robles. The first time I tried an Isosceles from Justin Winery, I realized that wine can be layered and complex. Later that day, my wife and I went to Barrel 27 [Wine Company] in downtown Paso and pretty much had the [former] winemaker, Russell From, all to ourselves. I talked his ear off about how he made wine and, after that, I was hooked.
W.E.: How did you start building your wine collection?
SD: We started joining wine clubs almost immediately after that trip, which was a little ridiculous because we still lived in an apartment, which made for a storage problem. Every wine club we’ve ever belonged to is from Paso. We had a dozen memberships at one point, but scaled back to make room for buying Bordeaux futures. We’re really excited about the 2009 vintage. The idea of one vintage telling a story about a terroir is amazing. It’s like a time capsule that you get to enjoy.
W.E.: Where and how did you gain that appreciation?
SD: When we went to Bordeaux and Burgundy, we realized there were some knockout vintages in 2000 and 2005 as well as ’95 and ’96. Then we got to try some ’82 Palmer and realized that older wine, when it’s a great wine, loses its fruit but grows infinitely more complex in the bottle. Now, I feel a bit like Indiana Jones when I go into a wine shop, hunting the dusty recesses of the dark shelves hoping to find a great deal on some amazing vintage.
W.E.: How do you and your wife’s wine tastes both overlap and differ?
SD: She is more into whites, though I do occasionally enjoy a Viognier or Roussanne. But we both love the reds—particularly Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Lately, my palate has shifted away from Syrah and the G-S-M blends to more Bordeaux and American Meritage blends. We have a lot of white wine taking up space in the house, so every few months, my wife has ‘White Wine Wednesday’ where she invites her girlfriends over. It’s a good excuse to socialize over seven or eight bottles of wine.
W.E.: We’ve heard you have your own wine night regimen.
SD: My friend, Peter, started a wine group called “Poetry in a Bottle” on Facebook. The idea was friends in their 30s sharing their favorite wines. We set rules for each tasting to make sure we bring comparable wines. Tasting note charts get passed out. It gets really technical and geeky. My partner from Castle, Jon Huertas, has joined me for a few of these events.
W.E.: What’s in store for viewers as Castle wraps its season?
SD: I think the end of the season will have [Richard] Castle and [Kate] Beckett admitting some feelings for each other, and I have a strong gut feeling we are about to go back into the darkness in the final episodes. It’s been light for a while, but it might be high time to go back to Beckett’s mother’s murder.
W.E.: Tell us more about your wine travels.
SD: In addition to Burgundy and Bordeaux, we traveled to the Australia’s Yarra Valley over Christmas and discovered the Yarra Yering Winery. The valley, as a whole, is fantastic, and this winery is one of the pioneers of the region. If you ever find this wine, any bottle will be incredible.
W.E.: What future wine destinations do you have in your sights?
SD: Next on our list is Argentina, specifically Mendoza. There are a lot of good Malbecs coming out of there. And our friend Ryan Hess, the owner and sommelier at our favorite L.A. wine bar, Vinotéque on Melrose, has been introducing us to Rioja and other Spanish wines. He’s building a compelling case on their greatness, so Spain might not be far behind on our list.