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May's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for May 2017 is Pierre-Marie Faure, Head Sommelier at Celeste at The Lanesborough. Pierre-Marie has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

When I was a boy, my grandfather had a small piece of land where St Emilion grapes were planted. Every year, we had a big family day for the harvest. The grapes where use to produced must for Pineau des Charentes. I remember every smell and every sound of that time. As a teenager I started Hospitality school and wine came to me easily, and books after books, bottles after bottles, I became a Sommelier.

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?

Everyday, I am impressed by the finesse and the elegancy of Riedel Glassware. We are lucky enough to use the Riedel Veritas Range in the hotel, this grape varietal specific range makes every wines an experience. I personally use the Riesling shape to Blind taste, I’ve found that it’s been a very good companion for many years now.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

Our guests are always very impressed by the finesses of the core or the leg of the glass.

What’s been your greatest wine experience?

My greatest wine experience is Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru Clos Saint-Jacque Domaine Rousseau 1999. The happy wedding of sensuality and powerfulness from the terroir.

What’s been the funniest wine moment in your career?

I ordered some Magnums of Chassagne-Montrachet from one of my supplier in Dublin. One of our most regular guests came to the restaurant and ordered 2 for is party. I opened the magnum in a little bit of rush so I just checked the cork. I poured the wine in the guest glasses, and… the wine was Red. I apologized but then was able to laugh after with the guest.

What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?

When I was a young Head Sommelier, a guest ordered a bottle of Alter Ego and I forgot to tell him that it was our last. This night their business did not go so well. The guest ordered a second bottle, I apologized and told him that it was our last bottle. This annoyed the guest and he told me to find something else similar. The guest was really rude, so I thought it was a good idea to play with him by doing a blind taste with a Barolo Mosconi from Conterno, however the guest did not appreciate the choice and made me know about it. Since then I have never forgot to say to a guest that it was my last bottle.

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posted by UK Editor, 19/05/2017

topics: Blog

RIEDEL CRYSTAL UNVEILS THE AMADEO DOUBLE MAGNUM RAINBOW DECANTER - WITH 25.000€ DONATED TO THE ELTON JOHN AIDS FOUNDATION

Riedel Crystal have today announced that their new Amadeo Double Magnum Rainbow Decanter will be sold in aid of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. There will be a limited edition of 50 decanters produced worldwide, with Riedel donating 25,000(EUR) from the sales to the Elton John AIDS Foundation

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posted by UK Editor, 28/04/2017

topics: Blog

April's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for April 2017 is Glen Montgomery, Sommelier at Number One Restaurant at the Balmoral Hotel. Glen has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

What is your industry background?

After studying engineering at university, and realizing that it wasn’t the career for me, I went full-time into hospitality as I had always worked in the industry alongside my studies. I started to be interested in wine quite by accident - I was looking for something new to stimulate me in the fine-dining restaurant where I worked while I figured out “what I wanted to do with my life”. Within a fairly short period of time working as a wine-waiter and taking some basic courses, I had fallen in love with the subject and decided to pursue a career in the wine-world whole-heartedly. Today I’m really grateful for my scientific education as it really helps in a number of the technical aspects of wine.

As well as gaining invaluable practical experience in a number of fine-wine focused restaurants, I have continued my formal studies through the WSET in London, and am aiming to complete my Diploma this year. The beauty of wine to me is the sheer breadth of disciplines it covers: I can be reading about the chemistry of yeasts one day, the life-cycle of the vine as a plant the next, and the food and cultural history of a beautiful region somewhere in the world the day after. I still have the odd moment of clarity where I feel like I’m only scratching the surface of this incredible subject, but at least I can never complain of being bored!

What’s your opinion of Riedel?

I am definitely a huge fan of all of the Riedel products. It has perhaps the best brand recognition of any glassware, and deservedly so. In our restaurant we use everything from Champagne Flutes (in two sizes…) to the Varietal specifics like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet/Merlot. We find the ‘Restaurant’ range to be the perfect choice day-to-day as they offer a perfect balance of ‘fineness’ of glass and durability in a busy restaurant environment where they need to be tough as well as pretty. The decanters are not only beautiful (sometimes stunning), but pour like a dream.

I believe it adds an extra dimension of quality of service when different glasses are used depending on the style of wine being served. As well as enhancing the characteristics of the wine, it also subtly states to the guest that you are paying attention to every detail of their service. Since tasting menus are such a focus in our Restaurant, the guests invariably see a selection of glasses of different sizes and shapes, and will often ask why we are using such a variety.

Personally, the Riesling glass is my favourite all-rounder (aesthetically as well as practically) as it is so versatile; I tend to use it to taste almost every wine because the tulip shape perfectly expresses aromas in tasting quantities. It might also have something to do with the fact that Riesling is my favourite grape, so is frequently what I’m tasting…

What is your best experience in your role to date?

I feel incredibly lucky to have had a number of amazing experiences throughout my career. To mention just a couple of unforgettable memories that can come with the job at its’ best: I’ve been served Dom Perignon at the Abbey of Hautvillers in Champagne, sipped Amarone over dinner in a 16th Century Italian Villa, and shared a vertical flight of astounding Brunello di Montalcino Riserva with the son of the winemaker and his partner on her birthday.

More importantly than bragging though - I am fortunate to get the chance to share my passion for my craft with people from every corner of the world and all walks of life in my job every evening. Sometimes I’m introducing someone to a wine they’ve never heard of before, but is exactly what they were looking for. On the same evening I might discuss the finer points of Bordeaux with a guest whose cellar and experience might put my own to shame! I also get to spend time with peers within the profession who share the same love of the subject and are always keen to exchange ideas, and will often be treated to meetings with winemakers who may be in town to visit their importers. This is another real perk of the job as I get to talk with people “on the ground” in regions all over the world to hear about different local trends and how their Vintages are progressing.

No matter what the context though, the beauty of my job is in being part of a world of shared enthusiasm, multiculturalism and openness to new experiences, where the ultimate aim is to take as much pleasure as possible from the simple everyday necessity of eating and drinking.

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posted by UK Editor, 20/04/2017

topics: Blog

March's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for March 2017 is Andre Luis Martins, Head Sommelier at Cavalry and Guards Club. Andre has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

My grandparents have their own vineyards in the north of Portugal so from a very young age I helped the family work in vineyards as well as the routine farming. Just before turning 16 I had my first contact with hospitality by starting as a waiter then I became a barman shortly after. About 11 years ago I moved to London and then in 2008 I joined the Royal Automobile Club as the Cellar Master in the Epsom Club House and there my journey into the world of wines and the deep love affair started. 

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your Club?

Using Riedel glasses gives me the guarantee and confidence that each wine we serve in the club restaurant is showing is full potential of aromas and taste profile.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

Using each varietal glasses is an improvement to each of the wines. The reaction of the guest is very positive. Most of the guests ask me to explain the reasons why we have different glasses, so I explain and sometimes I use different varieties of glass to show the difference in the aromas and tasting profile of each grape. 

What has been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?

I had just arrived in London and it was one of my first nights out; I discovered Krug and Red Bull in a bar in Soho. I was without words!

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posted by UK Editor, 14/03/2017

topics: Blog

February's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for February 2017 is Vittorio Gentile, Head Sommelier at Theo Randall at the InterContinental. Vittorio has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

I had just arrived in London when I started working in the hospitality industry. As a curious person, I realized how little my knowledge was about wine, and how big and fascinating the topic is. I started chasing the Head Sommelier of the restaurant where I used to work bombarding him with questions all the time, until he asked me to join his team. From there I began to discover one of the most amazing and passionate jobs.

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?

Good equipment is essential to deliver a great experience and customers know that. Whenever they find Riedel glassware on the table, their expectations are very high.

Having grape specific glasses allows me to meet those expectations with all of the different styles of wines that I have on my list. Also, it opens up my possibilities of wine-food-glass shape combinations to maximize everyone’s experience and make it unique every time.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

There are two of them. From one side there is always curiosity. People want to understand why we are using some glasses instead of others (Chardonnay instead of Riesling for instance) and this quite often starts a conversation with the sommelier.

On the other side, you can feel the guest’s appreciation for paying attention to his experience. When I place the first glass on the table (perhaps the Veritas New World Pinot Noir / Nebbiolo) everyone sits straight-up on their chair, focuses and is ready to taste the wine.

What’s been your greatest wine experience?

There are many great experiences! But the one that to this day still gives me the goose bumps is the mesmerizing taste of Romanée st Vivant, Hudelot-Noëllat 2004 on a busy night, at the peak time in a noisy/music-pumping dining room, I quickly inhaled but was able to call and focus all senses as I was alone, in total silence, a second was stretched as it was one hour and I felt like watching a movie in the glass.

What’s been the funniest wine moment in your career?

During a visit to an important wine producer with other sommeliers. We spotted four corked wines during the tasting, after being shown and explained, for almost half an hour, a machine that was supposed to check and discard all the potentially taint corks two hours earlier.  

What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?

At the beginning of my career, during a busy service, I realized that I was pouring a white wine at the wrong table because the wide-eyed host at the next table (who was drinking that wine) was staring at me. After a moment of embarrassment, I replaced the wines at both tables (but both left very happy, at least).

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posted by UK Editor, 21/02/2017

topics: Blog

January's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for January 2017 is Julie Dupouy, a Sommelier at The Greenhouse Restaurant in Dublin. Julie has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with her response.

Julie has obtained a great selection of awards over the past few years, a recent one being named the third best sommelier in the world. One of just four women in the semi-final, Julie was crowned by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale at the final in Mendoza, Argentina last April.

What is your industry background?

I originally moved to Ireland in 2004, just shortly after finishing catering school, to improve my English. I spent 18 months working as a sommelier in Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud.  There, I learnt a lot thanks to Charles Derain who was the head sommelier at the time. I then moved to Belgium then Luxembourg and finally decided to come back to Ireland in 2007.  I have been working in The Greenhouse Restaurant for the last 2 years.

Assuming you enjoy using Riedel glassware, do you have a favourite glass or decanter?

I love the Veritas Range and particularly the Champagne glass. It is a very good comprise between the traditional flute and a white wine glass. It allows the aroma profile and complexity to express itself while still preserving the effervescence of the wine. People are generally surprised at first and then they realize how big a difference it makes. I think it is especially important when drinking a Champagne with age or with quite a lot of structure.

What is your best experience in your role to date?

I’ve had many memorable experiences but one, which stands out particularly, is when I got to taste Krug Clos du Mesnil for the first time. I was with a group of sommeliers and the bus parked outside the Clos du Mesnil. It was raining slightly, there was a mild breeze, a very unique calm atmosphere was surrounding us and we could hear a bell ringing in the distance. We were invited to follow the sound of that bell. At the back of the building was the Clos du Mesnil and inside the Clos someone was waiting for us with a tray full of Champagne glasses. A couple of minutes later, I was standing in the Clos du Mesnil, sipping a glass of Clos du Mesnil 2003. This was very emotional.

What is your favourite food and wine match and which Riedel glass would you use to serve?

I love Riesling wines so I would choose some roasted wild halibut served with a lemongrass and chervil sauce and I would pair it with Riesling “GG Kirschpiel” Keller, Rheinhessen, 2007. I would use the Veritas Riesling glass and I would probably aerate the wine in a small carafe first.

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posted by UK Editor, 17/01/2017

topics: Blog

December's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for December 2016 is Sean Arthur, Head Sommelier at The Latymer at Pennyhill Park. Sean has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

During my Time at South Lodge Hotel in Sussex, I applied to join the team at, the then Michelin Starred restaurant, The Pass. During the interview process we were asked to demonstrate our understanding of food and wine pairings, I took a good stab at it, and apparently chose a good selection for that menu. I was asked to join the team as Assistant Sommelier and began my journey from there.

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your hotel/restaurant?

Riedel was a brand that I was introduced to from the beginning of my training and I always found that the various ranges gave an exclusive and special feel to a table. I also like the way that I can fill all my needs with top quality glassware using Riedel, whether its on the bar, for Brasserie service or in the fine dining/Michelin star setting.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

Most commonly when I place an oaked chardonnay glass, as I walk away I can hear them saying “Oh we have a Red wine next” and of course come back with a white. But I do enjoy taking the guest through that process that would decide a full bodied white needs that space to open up and really show off. It also makes my wine pairings feel even more intricate as each wine offering has different glass style for it.

What has been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?

I was hosting a dinner at Gravetye Manor in Sussex, I was joking all night with our MD, Andrew Tomason, about not spilling drops of red wine on the white table cloths. I told him that “I am a Ninja and don’t make mistakes like that” not 10 minutes later I fly through the service doors to the restaurant and drop a whole tray of dessert wine glasses. Luckily empty. They all broke.

What has been the funniest ‘wine’ moment in your career? 

I attended a Krug Dinner at the Waterside Inn with Olivier Krug as our host. As with all Champagne houses, Olivier was very keen to show off the style and Krug was free flowing all night. I am not one to say no to fine Champagne so accepted every refill. At the end of the evening Alain Roux came out to say hello and chat with us all, but I had so much to drink I had no idea who he was. It wasn’t until the next day when I told the Sous Chef that some chap with a black jacket came out that he googled him and asked me if that was him. The chefs didn’t let me get away with that for a good while.

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posted by UK Editor, 21/12/2016

topics: Blog

November's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for November 2016 is Claude Le Goff, Sommelier at The Pass, South Lodge Hotel. Claude has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

When I was studying my catering degree we had a renowned and very famous sommelier teacher so I naturally extended my studies into wine. Six years later here I am! I worked for two Michelin starred restaurants in France before coming to the UK. Then spent two years at Le Manoir under the Wine Director. There was an opportunity here and I have been quite seduced by the concept of the “kitchen table” where the chefs serve the food -  and there is a lot of room for wine service and wine pairings.

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?

They are quirky glasses! They reveal all the fruitiness of the wine. Tasting out of Riedel glasses is like comparing a Renault to a Porsche basically – if I may! Just the precision and the handling of the glassware – the weight, they are quite light, and give all the best expression to wine. As simple as that! Plus they are quite shock resistant which is very useful for the hospitality business.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

Usually they are amazed by the size! Obviously when I use the Riesling, and then the Shiraz for a red, they are stunned by the shape of the glass and the classiness of the presentation. All the care about service, temperature of the wine, measurement – it’s all about precision.

What’s been your greatest wine experience?

I have had quite a few actually. Probably tasting a Madeira Boal 1908. Absolutely fantastic.  Some of the top Burgundies and Barolos, as well as very humble but outstanding Languedoc, Priorat, Macon wines… and top Californians.

What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?

Pouring the wrong wine basically -  but at least offering a nice glass of Chassagne-Montrachet after… It can happen unfortunately!

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posted by UK Editor, 16/11/2016

topics: Blog

October's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for October 2016 is Elliott Waugh, Hotel Manager at Rothay Garden Hotel. Elliott has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

What is your industry background?
My career started with a simple pub job and I quickly worked up the ranks to manager and also area relief manager for the Newcastle area and a short stint in Cambridge. I then moved into the hotel industry as restaurant manager here at the Rothay Garden Hotel and again worked up to Hotel manager.

Throughout my time at the hotel Chris Carss (owner) has taught me a great deal about wines and the benefits of using excellent glassware to really bring out the best in the wine and enhance the customers experience.

I have achieved level 2 WSET and find myself constantly improving my knowledge through my wine merchant and hotel owner alike.

Assuming you enjoy using Riedel glassware, do you have a favourite glass or decanter? What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in the different varietal specific glasses?

I must say that the Riedel glassware really does give the guest that WOW factor. Those guests who might not have a great knowledge of wine love it when a new glass is produced and it really pronounces that they are receiving quality service. Conversations often arise from this and its always great to share knowledge gained from speaking with John, who is our Riedel UK business manager.

Those guests with a little more knowledge are always happy to see a Riedel glass on the table and again it cements the fact that they are receiving quality serve and glassware that will enhance their wine.

As far as favourite glass goes I love the open wide rim of the Montrachet glass, and decanter wise the Evechen is stylish and modern which I believe fits in with the style of our restaurant perfectly.

What is your best experience in your role to date?

Many fantastic experiences, both professionally and personally. In a restaurant I feel the sommelier has the best job, everyone is always pleased to see the person serving the wine and imparting knowledge, chatting about wine related experiences/stories etc is a great way to start a relationship with the guest.

On a personal level I have been very fortunate to have visited vineyards throughout France and also one in Spain. The visit to Spain was particularly special as, after a tasting in Barcelona we were invited out to the vineyard a few days later. Our host was fantastic and after a tour they booked a table in a local village on the coast. Once fully wined and dined we took a walk along the beach in the sunset and I proposed to my now wife.

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posted by UK Editor, 25/10/2016

topics: Blog

September's Sommelier of the Month

Our Sommelier of the month for September 2016 is Romain Bourger, Head Sommelier at The Vineyard. Romain has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.

How did you get into the wine industry?

My interest in wine started when I attended catering college in Metz, Eastern France. Throughout my second year my teacher was incredibly knowledgeable and enjoyed sharing this with the students; at this point my passion developed and from this I decided to continue to study for another year. During that year, I was lucky enough to have a training period in England at the Hotel du Vin, Winchester. Being an enthusiastic wine hotel, I quickly felt comfortable working amongst other passionate professionals, so before returning to France to sit my examinations I asked the Head Sommelier if they had a position for a Commis Sommelier and was offered the position!  I was delighted to start working for the company in September 2008 and this is when the real adventure started.

Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your hotel/restaurant?

At The Vineyard we use Riedel glassware; I believe that using this leading glassware perfectly complements our iconic wines. Each style of wine glass is designed to showcase the distinctive tasting notes of different wines and is a great subject of conversation with our guests.

From time to time our guests ask if the shape of the glass changes the way a wine tastes or smells.  This gives us the perfect opportunity to serve them the same wine in two different glasses to show them the difference - it’s a fantastic interactive activity that all of our guests enjoy.

What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?

The Vineyard is one of the top wine hotels outside of London and is dedicated to providing guests with an unforgettable wine experience.

Showcasing our wine in different glasses creates great interest, we can then explain why the shapes are different and how they influence the way the wine tastes - whether it is a light structured red or a heavy white that needs some air to open and develop.

What’s been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?

Throughout my career I have continued to develop and learn.  A perfect example of a wine faux pas which I learnt early on in my career is not to serve a corked wine to a table!  Although I had tasted the wine I did not detect the taint at the time.  Over years and many wine tasting my palate has refined and I would not make the same mistake twice!

What’s been the funniest ‘wine’ moment in your career? 

Throughout my career I have had many highlights and with different experiences and teams.

One of the funniest wine moments I have had was when I was at school, during my Sommelier Diploma.  I remember serving guests at a banquet and when opening several bottles of wines with my teacher my corkscrew suddenly broke when it was in the cork. We ended up using pliers to open it… and both had a good laugh at the same time!

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posted by UK Editor, 09/09/2016

topics: Blog

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