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.