Our Sommelier of the Month for January 2019 is Matthew Davison, Sommelier and Assistant Restaurant Manager at Fischers at Baslow Hall. Matthew has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
What is your industry background?
My love for the industry began whilst working in a busy town centre Pub in my hometown of Chesterfield. My management experience here led me onto a position as a Sommelier at Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham. Working at that level with such an amazing team of Sommeliers was incredibly rewarding. I learnt invaluable amounts alongside Head & Master Sommelier Laurent Richet, he was an amazing mentor.
I was then offered a position as Sommelier and Assistant Restaurant Manager here at Fischers, who’ve held their Michelin star here for twenty-five years in the heart of Derbyshire.
Assuming that you enjoy using Riedel glassware, do you have a favourite glass, and what reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in the different varietal specific glasses?
My favourite glass to use is the New World Pinot Noir glass from the Riedel Veritas range. They look extremely elegant, whilst heightening the aroma of the wine as soon as it has been poured.
The conversation about varietal specific glassware usually begins when we are delivering our wine pairings alongside the tasting menu. It’s a great way to break the ice with the guests.
What is your best experience in your role to date?
Several years ago, I was told that you never forget your first visit to a winery. And that statement could not have been more accurate. I was fortunate enough to be taken to the wineries of Bertani, Anselmi and Accordini in the North East of Italy and it was absolutely mind-blowing. To experience the concept of vine to glass first hand, rather than from a book, was phenomenal. I feel very lucky to have been able to do that at an early point in my career.
What is your favourite food and wine match and which Riedel glass would you use to serve?
A wine I’ve loved since I first tasted it is the 2001 ‘Liandra Vineyard’ Syrah from Clarendon Hills. It has aged incredibly well, with dark cooked fruit and liquorice on the palate. The wine certainly has its own identity, but the aroma is reminiscent of a Cote Rotie, with its cured meat and smoky profile on the nose. That said, my preference does tend to lean towards New World wines for value and consistency that we can pass on to our guests. Due to the style of this wine I would serve in an Veritas Old World Syrah glass, alongside our Derbyshire Lamb dish, smoked garlic puree, charred lettuce and a savoury sweetbread beignet.
Sommeliers have so much influence on new Riedel users. How in your view should we portray the “Riedel effect” at the table/bar?
I think it’s about being proud of what you’re serving with. Sommeliers are great ambassadors of their wine lists and if you have a great list, quality options by the glass, and excellent service, your glassware should be in line with, and reflect that too.
We are constantly trying to create the most memorable occasion possible by enabling guests to elevate their dining experience and turning a glass of wine into ‘that’ glass of wine is a key part of this.