About Peace, chickpeas and Lebanese wine - deel 2

“Château” What’s in the name? In grote lijnen kan ik de wijncultuur in Libanon het best vergelijken met ons eigen Belgen landje. Ik verklaar mij nader… Al die recente wijndomeinen net zoals onze opkomende wijnbouwers zich laten inspireren door hun favoriete wijnregio’s en bij gevolg de daar aangeplante druivenvariëteiten over nemen. Bij ons zijn dat gelukkig voornamelijk noordelijke regio’s uit Frankrijk, Duitsland en Luxemburg, bij hen zijn dat de zuid Franse wijnregio’s daar Frankrijk tot einde jaren veertig Libanon koloniseerde en bij gevolg zijn stempel heeft nagelaten in de wijnbouw. Het grootste bewijs dat ze zich spiegelen aan Bordeaux is dat zo goed als elk wijndomein, hoe kleinschal

About Peace, chickpeas and Lebanese wine - deel 1

Libanon bezoeken intrigeerde mij al jaren en dit om twee redenen; Enerzijds omdat een bevriende proever van “Concours mondial de Bruxelles” Elie Maamari van Château Ksara, mij had verteld over de pracht van de Bekaa vallei en anderzijds omdat mijn vader tijdens zijn legerdienst er ooit aanmeerde met de “Kamina” van de Belgische zeemacht en zijn ervaring destijds omschreef als “Beirut, het Parijs van het Midden-Oosten!” (in 2017 zou ik in deze uitspraak Parijs wel vervangen met pakweg Rotterdam met z’n naoorlogse betonarchitectuur) Geen wonder dat toen het voorstel in mijn mailbox verscheen ik meteen toehapte. Een land met littekens Wetende dat Libanon al een en ander op zijn kerfstok heeft

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Andres Rosberg

Please allow me to introduce to you the Americas Vice President of the ASI (Association de la Sommellerie International) Argentinean top Sommelier Andres Rosberg!! All our Belgian readers might have already met or at least seen Andres as he was honorary judge during the ‘Best Sommelier of Belgium’ contest. Something that might surprise you (especially as Andres in not old) is that he was one of Argentina’s first professional sommeliers and also (co-)founder and president of the Argentinean Sommelier Association. In Argentina it is also possible to have sommellerie as a main topic or study direction instead of doing regular hotel management school So this basically means that the job is reco

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Roderick Wong

This time I’m taking you to Asia to meet our Malaysian top sommelier Roderick Wong. If I have to compare him to another sommelier I would say he’s the Malaysian Arunas Starkus as just like him Roderick creates and has created many opportunities for many people and opened many doors in Malaysia. Roderick has been active in the world of wine for many years now (since 1993 to be more precise). During these years he’s done it all wine importer, distributor, retailer, consultant, wine judge, wine educator & obviously also sommelier :-). He founded and started Hilton Wine Academy where he has trained over 800 people and to get even more recognition he founded the Sommelier Association of Malaysia

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Arūnas Starkus

That the job as sommelier is not valued as it should be in all countries is a known fact, but that some of those countries are that close to Belgium keeps surprising me (ok I know in Belgium we are very spoiled on lots of points). Luckily in all these countries there is always somebody who is willing to fight and do everything he/she can to get the right recognition. Not only for the job as sommelier, but for everything that has to do with wine in general. In Lithuania that person was and still is Arūnas Starkus. Arūnas Starkus, a former academician - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), was the founder (2005) of Lithuanian Sommelier Association (LSA) and 1 year later he founded the Lithuanian Somm

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Rodolfo Tristão

Portugal is (re)putting itself on the map both as wine country with wonderful wines (next to Port and Madeira) from Barraida, Douro, etc… but also as gastronomical country. I can say for a fact that last time I was in Portugal it was a true gastronomical odyssey!! One of the people that has done its part in the gastronomical part is the next sommelier I’m putting in the spotlight Rodolfo Tristão. Rodolfo is a classical trained at the ESHTE in Estoril, but over the years had the chance to learn some of the best sommeliers in the world like Josep Roca, João Pires (MS) and Matheiu Longere (MS)… knowing this it probably also won’t come as a surprise that Rodolfo has participated at many national

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Sören Polonius

I’m very glad to introduce to you yet again a very remarkable sommelier! This man is the founder of “Swesomm” (that if my Swedish is still up to date is the Swedish Sommelier Guild :-) ) , breeder of international TOP sommeliers as he was the coach of 2 winners of the ASI World Sommelier Championships (Andreas Larsson 2010 & Arvid Rosengren 2016) and a few European Champions. He’s also holder of the title of best Swedish Sommelier and sommelier of the year and an example to lots of Nordic (and far beyond) sommeliers. The president of the Belgian Sommelier Guild William ‘Pato’ Wouters calls him the Mourinho amongst the sommeliers Next to all the coaching he’s also head sommelier of the re

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Ivo Dvořák

I’ve already put lots of sommeliers in the spotlight, but it is far from over to put them in the spotlight… as there are many many more that I want to put in the spotlight. The reason I do this is because a sommelier’s role in a restaurant is as important as that from a chef as if one of both doesn’t do its task correctly the experience for the customer won’t be the same thing. The next sommelier I want to introduce to you is Ivo Dvořák from the Czech republic. Ivo is a classical trained sommelier (meaning that he did hotel management school) who so far has already had a wonderful career. He started his career working in several restaurants in the Prague like restaurant Vltava and the famo

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Karina Tholin

Time for another lady sommelier :-) please allow me to introduce to you our next Swedish top sommelier Karina Tholina Karina is Freelance sommelier , Educator in Wines & gastronomy and since 2013 president of the Swedish Sommelier association. She also is a true inspiration for lots of women as of all the members of the Swedish Sommelier Association more then the half of them are women!! I personally cannot support this enough!! Karina's love for wine or maybe it is better to say the big step towards the passion started between the 80's and 90's when she worked in several well known restaurant in Sweden. I once read an article about Karina where she said that "becoming a Sommelier is like go

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Jean-Vincent RIDON

Please let me introduce to you Jean-Vincent RIDON who is a great example that if you want to achieve something you can :-) Jean-Vincent isn't a classic trained sommelier who went to Hotel management school, but studied at law school and eventually political science. But if you have it in you, you can try to run and ignore it for a while, but sooner of later.... After years as successful businessman in France jean's love for wine started growing and decided to open a Wine bar and restaurant in the middle of the vineyards next to Sancerre in the Loire Valley :-) talking about change ;-) From that moment wine became a bigger part. Around 1996 left Europe and traded it for South Africa and move

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Piotr Kamecki

This time I'm taking you to Poland to meet top sommelier Piotr Kamecki Although Poland remains a relatively small wine market, it is growing a lot every year thanks to people like Piotr. As president of the Polish Sommelier association he wants to give young Polish sommeliers a chance participate and commune with sommeliers on a high international level. Give them a chance to meet , make friends , exchange ideas and initiate contacts that can lead to an interesting exchange of experiences. His behind-the-scenes influence is unmatched in Poland. But before being behind the scenes, he was on the scene himself when he became best Sommelier of Poland in 1998. Not bad for a boy who had went to c

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Shalva Khetsuriani

The next top sommelier I'm introducing to you is from the country where the first wines ever were made around 6000 b.C, Georgia... Please allow me to introduce to you Shalva Khetsuriani who's life mission is strengthening and development of the culture of wine in Georgia and introducing their wines to the world. Basically a man that is very proud of his country and the good products that are produced there!! I can personally say for a fact that I've already had the pleasure tasting a few beauties from Georgia!! Definitely something worth exploring. Shalva Khetsuriani is founder of Queen Tamada LLC, a very important agency in Georgian wine tourism. Next to that Shalva is also founder and a P

Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Pascaline Lepeltier

New York New York :-) yes indeed that's where our next top sommelier is from. The sommelier first sommelier I'm putting in the spotlight in 2017 is Pascaline Lepeltier head sommelier of the Rouge Tomate in Chelsea (New York) who grew up in in a little town in the Loire Valley. So it won't come as a surprise that she is a big Loire Valley wine ambassador and deeply in love with Chenin grapes... who could blame her ;-) :-) :-) (I'm also became a big fan after my bike trip through the Valley with Interloire) What I find very special about Pascaline is that she actually has a master diploma in philosophy and has been a teacher at university..; so not your average Sommelier profile I'd say? rig

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