Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight
Now that we are only a few days away from knowing who will be the new Best sommelier of Belgium it seems nice to know which international top sommeliers will be judging and grading our finalists. The next judge I want to introduce is German Master of wine Caro Maurer. Caro is /was actually a writer who started hew career in the US writing in the lifestyle section of magazines and newspaper like Forbes and Die Welt . Since the 90’s a freelance writer fully concentrating on food and wine for several famous German magazines and newspapers.
Knowing she’s been writing about food and wine for many years now and has been top student of her class during her WSET training/exam and on top of that is a Master of wine (which is still one of the most difficult things to come in the world of sommeliers) … we can be sure she knows a loooooot about it. Caro will be judging during contest of Best sommelier of Belgium together with other female masters of wine like Romana Echensperger and Fiona Morisson .
Just like with the other judges I posted 10 questions to Caro to find out more about the world of sommeliers.
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
This is depending on the work! If this is about tasting wine then my favorite regions would be Bordeaux, Burgundy and Mosel. Is it about writing an article my favorite regions would always be the ones where I have not yet been: Romania for example or India. Is it about wine travelling it would be New Zealand which is a country I felt in love with. Is it about teaching or explaining a wine region it might be Germany because I do know the most about it.
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
To listen to the guest and not only insisting in the own convictions. To help guests to overcome their insecurity and not to make them feel embarrassed. To develop an individual style and offer authentic wines rather than mainstream.
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
I do not think so. The last decade there was a cult built around chefs, this decade belongs to the sommeliers. They are the superstars in the restaurants. What more could they wish to be?
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
End of the 80s I was living in New York and in these days Californian or American wines in general have not been very impressive. I had to drink so much bad wine that I decided this was enough and there shall be only good wines in my glass for the rest of my life – and I started to look for them and began too study them.
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
By the nature of my work I would like to choose my big examples from my wine radius: Jancis Robinson and Professor Monika Christmann, the current president of OIV, for their overall knowledge about wine and for their achievements as female pioneers in the world of wine.
What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?
Asking a sommelier for advice…
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
There are far to many to choose from and therefore I seek the answer closest to me: Mosel as this is not only a unique landscape with its steep vineyards but you will also find unique wine styles which cannot be copied anywhere else in the world.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
How could I name it before I have ever tasted it? The best wines are not necessarily the big names but the ones which surprise me, touch me and remain unforgettable in my mind.
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or viticulture studies?
The most wonderful memory of my studies? The moment it was over and I have passed. The studies were like climbing the Mount Everest. And passing was like reaching its top and starting to enjoy the great view.
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?
The best experiences cannot be planned or booked. These come when you share a bottle of simple wine in a rural bistro with dear friends and you will enjoy this moment more than any Grand Cru. Or after helping out at harvest and drinking a glass or two with all others when the work in the vineyards is finally done. This might be only the estate wine but you might think that this is the best what you have ever enjoyed.