Sommelier Diary - Christopher Delalonde

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It was a great feeling on the day to win Sommelier of the Year 2010, I had worked very hard to achieve it and was quite overwhelmed.

Now I am thinking of the next thing which is the European competition, which is again a much tougher call. So I think I’ll maybe take six-months off from beginning to work towards it and then start all over again. The first few weeks has meant lots of people have wanted to interview me and I have had a few invites on trips, one of those is Chile in October. Unlike restaurant sommeliers, I work for a a sommelier service called Sarment, which is directed at private clients who may want a sommelier for a particular reason. The clients are generally wealthy and occasionally famous and are looking for advice. It means I travel much more, and the hours are generally less than in a restaurant. I look after members throughout the world and insure they have whatever they need. This may mean one week I may be on a private boat in the south of France arranging wines for an event. On the other hand I may be re-arranging stock for a client’s Eurocave in London. Recently I have been to Russia to a client who is creating an enormous cellar in their villa, but the Russian market is a little scary and very bureaucratic.

I passed my Master Sommelier last year, which I think has bought a really strong and powerful structure and depth of knowledge to what I do. From a personal perspective, the world of wine has changed since I have become older, it’s been a move towards the more complicated and intense, a bit like graduating to reading Shakespeare. When I was a young sommelier it was all about Chardonnay and Syrah. I even went through a stage of being excited about Zinfandel, but that soon passed. Then it was red and white Burgundy. I’ve been 20 years in the business and now if I could choose my desert island wines, it would be a Mosel Riesling and a Piedmont Nebbiolo.

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