”A great wine list is a wine list with character”

Marc Almert, Pascaline Lepeltier, Raimonds Tomsons and Arvid Rosengren.

Marc Almert, Raimonds Tomsons, Pascaline Lepeltier, and Arvid Rosengren are all part of our Star Wine List of the Year top somm jury. Here they give their views on what makes a wine list great – and share their hopes for 2021.

Marc Almert.

MARC ALMERT (2019 Best Sommelier of the World)
What are your hopes for 2021?
”One thing I hope for is to meet people in person again, to travel and visit producers. Another is a thing that I think is often overlooked in the job as sommelier; it is our economic responsibility for the industry. The pandemic has been a game-changer for the restaurant profession; we have never been put to such a strong test as during this period. We as sommeliers now have to show more than ever, that a key part of our role is to help the restaurants be profitable.”

What makes a wine list great?
”To me, a great wine list is a wine list with character, like you can know when you go to a particular chef and restaurant that a certain style of cuisine or signature dish will charm you. You can know that a place either has a deep collection of back vintages or small interesting new wave producers from an upcoming region.”

”What is the USP of the wine list? There are many good generic wine lists, but it is harder to make a wine list with identity and character, and it has nothing to do with the size, in my opinion. A small ten-bottle wine list that keeps evolving can be just as interesting. There needs to be an identity and a reason behind the choices.”

Raimonds Tomsons.

RAIMONDS TOMSONS (2017 Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa):
What are your hopes for 2021?
”Travelling and meeting colleagues, winemakers and friends. I am hoping that the hospitality industry will start to recover and getting back to business!”

What makes a wine list great?
”A list which has personality and an imprint of the sommelier and his team with selected wines and other beverages strongly linked to the philosophy of the restaurant/wine bar and cuisine of the chef. Content is all that matters, not the size of the list!”

Arvid Rosengren.

ARVID ROSENGREN (2016 Best Sommelier of the World):
What are your hopes for 2021?
”First of all, I'm not setting my goals too high this year. My hopes are that we come out of it relatively unscathed, and the same for my friends and colleagues in the restaurant world. There's a bright light at the end of this tunnel.”

What makes a wine list great?
”There are many different ways a wine list can be great, and some of them contradict each other. Depth versus breadth. Diversity versus niche. Comforting versus challenging. More than anything, I value a sense of personality and the sense that the sommelier has created the list for her audience. That means putting thought and effort not just into the selection but presentation, design, categorization and so forth.”

Pascaline Lepeltier.

PASCALINE LEPELTIER (MS, 2018 Best Sommelier of France):
What are your hopes for 2021?
Health! Vaccinations or other solutions to contain the pandemic, and to be able to get together safely!”

What makes a wine list great?
”A smart, passionate point of view, with a wine for everyone.”

Published 01-February-2021
Interview

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