In Medieval Provençal times they were saumaliers, animal pack drivers who evolved during Middle French kingdom to become court officials charged with transportation of supplies. So what does a modern day Sommelier actually do? Well, Wikipedia outlines as such, “A sommelier or wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching. The most important work of a sommelier is in the areas of wine procurement, wine storage, wine cellar rotation, and expert service to wine consumers.”
A reasonably accurate job description although perhaps a little parched as our new-age sommelier has evolved to a higher learning with a wine Jedi cognizance and a seventh sense that can psychoanalyse a diner, marry the person, the dish and the wine in seconds. They are now the gateway to wine discovery equipped with clairvoyance in food and wine trends, inspiring thirst around the world.
Feared by winemakers, loathed by wine distributors as the arbiters’ of wine lists, the restaurant patron should embrace their knowledge, skills and talent as they are hopelessly and passionately obsessed with wine and will take you on journey of gastronomic enlightenment. And our new-age sommelier is no longer confined to fine dining and can be found in casual eateries, wine bars, gastro-pubs, winery restaurants, wine stores and you’ll even bump into an air-sommelier at 30,000ft these days. Some have hung up their waiters-friend and metamorphosed to the wine trade as brand ambassadors, distributors or consultants, but once a sommelier, always a sommelier.
This column explores the gustatory and olfactory manifestations of sommeliers all over this planet. We take a cross section of the sommelier’s stomach and intestines to reveal what and where they eat. And we dissect their taste buds and dopamine receptors as they relent to the Wandering Palate narcosynthesis and confess to their personal vinous pleasures and closely-held secrets – this is The Sommelier’s Palate.
Elisa Boserup, Denmark
Where do you currently practice your sommelier skills (restaurant, hotel, consulting etc)?
At Verandah Restaurant in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Where have you dined recently (restaurant) that impressed you?
Amass Restaurant which opened in Copenhagen in July of last year.
Where have you dined (restaurant, wine bar) that you were mightily impressed with the wine list and service?
Back in Seattle definitely Canlis restaurant, which is where I actually worked when I became a sommelier back in 2008.
Where is the most memorable restaurant meal you have had?
Noma. Words lack to describe the experience.
Do you have a favourite regular restaurant?
Torvehallerne market near Nørreport metro is my favorite place to go to eat and shop. It’s not a restaurant but rather a beautiful indoor/outdoor market with different small restaurants, butcher shops, fish stands, and specialty shops that range from the best chef knives you can find to artisan chocolates. I just love going there! I buy the best fish or meat there, as well as seasonal produce and flowers. And almost every time I am there I have to eat at Boutique Fisk were they make (in my opinion) the best fiskefrikadeller, served alongside with a slice of rugbrød and remoulade. A Danish classic. Though I usually just have the fiskefrikadeller served with a seaweed salad they make.
Do you cook at home and is there a dish you have perfected?
I love cooking! I would have to say that I have truly perfected Paella. The recipe was handed down to my Mom and I began cooking it with her when I was in my teens. Eventually in my twenties, my Mom liked me to be the one to make the Paella, usually for Christmas, which became a tradition in our family back when we all still lived in Seattle. So, yes, I definitely have perfected Paella. But I would also have to add Coq au Vin. J
Do you have a favourite wine bar?
Do you have a favourite wine merchant?
Of the distributors I work with, Rosforth & Rosforth, who happen to be the owners of the wine bar Den Vandrette.
What wine are you drinking at the moment?
Today I am drinking a 2012 Paul Achs Blaufränkisch Trocken from Burgerland, Austria.
Is there a wine that totally moved you – like no other wine – a revelation and motivation for you to pursue you wine obsession?
Yes, I will never forget the first time I had a 1999 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Echezeaux with my friend and mentor Jean Mario Irigon.
What’s your latest wine discovery – new region, variety or style?
I am loving Austrian reds right now; Zweigelt, blaufränkisch and St. Laurent
Tell us what is your ultimate wine bargain discovery in terms of price/quality rapport? (i.e. does not have to be cheap but over-delivers in quality for the price)
Right now the 2011 Domini de La Cartoixa Priorat Fromiga de Vellut – it is a steal.
Tell us about an inspirational wine and food pairing that you have experienced recently.
Slowed cooked lamb shank with tandoori smoked potatoes and saffron sauce with a NV Grasparossa Castelvetro Lambrusco Secco.
What is the most enthralling wine region you have been to in terms of dramatic scenery, inspiring vineyards and good eating?
Select a six pack of wines that you think are absolutely outstanding and inspirational, and that will set people on a journey of vinous discovery and enlightenment.
2008 Aranjuez Tannat, Tarija, Bolivia (Unfortunately or fortunately, for this wine, you will have to visit Bolivia as wines are yet not being exported.)
2008 Almaviva Baron Philippe de Rosthschild, Viña Concha y Toro, Puente Alto, Chile
2006 Undurraga, Altazor, Valle del Maipo, Chile
2007 Cascina Degli Ulivi ‘Terre Rosse’ Dolcetto, Piedmont, Italy
2008 Enate Chardonnay, Somontano, Spain
Champagne David Léclapart L´Apotre Blanc de Blancs Extra-Brut