Our Sommelier of the Month for March 2018 is Marko Mägi, Head Sommelier at Lympstone Manor. Marko has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
I was in the finance world before and I guess I just got bored, so I joined sommelier school basic course just as a hobby and I got instantly hooked. Soon I’ve opened my own restaurants and this journey took me to England. I guess when you find something in life that you so sincerely love, you go all in.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your hotel/restaurant?
We are using the Riedel Veritas range. I think they are beautiful glasses that more importantly compliment different grape varieties and styles of wine. Great wine deserves a great wine glass!
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
I often do wine tasting experiences with our guests before their dinner and I get asked about different glass types every time. When they taste the same wine in two different glasses, the contrast always surprises and shows that this world is much more sincere and logical than it seems. The right wine glass plays a huge role in a dining experience and our guests appreciate it.
What’s been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?
When I was a younger commis sommelier, I was about to open and decant Henchke Shiraz in front of guests and it was my first experience with that wine. Henchke uses Vinolok glass cork and I had no idea that I was about to be in trouble. I removed the foil on top and eagerly started to open the bottle. My beautiful white gueridon had become artistically extremely red. I apologized to the guest and returned with a fresh gueridon, new bottle and did a better job. Lesson learned there!
What’s been the funniest ‘wine’ moment in your career?
Again, as a commis sommelier, I worked in a French restaurant with an extremely good classical wine list and had a chance to try all the great French wines in the world. There was one wine that I was yet to taste and it was the legendary Pomerol wine, Le Pin. I was so eager to finally taste it and one day my Head Sommelier came to me and announced that it looks like this will be the day. He heard that guests were discussing about having Le Pin and I was going to decant the wine for them. When my Head Sommelier went to the table to take the wine order, they asked for bread (Le Pain) and glass of white house wine. Of course, the joke is on the excited commis sommelier and more
importantly guests had great time because we had very good house wine by the glass. Three weeks later I decanted my first Le Pin and until this day every time I get asked for bread I’m thinking of Le Pin.
What’s your favourite wine that you are currently serving?
Chacra 55- a Pinot Noir from Patagonia, Argentina. Such a terroir driven wine full of expression. I’m pairing it with our partridge course and it shows great in Veritas New World Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo glass!