Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Niels Toase
We interview sommeliers from far and wide, but one doesn’t always too go far to find top sommeliers. Our next interview brings us only a few miles outside of our own trusted Belgium, to Luxemburg. Please meet Luxembourger top sommelier and newly (July 2019) elected president of the Luxemburg Sommelier Association Niels Toase .
Niels followed a classical Hotel Management training in Zeven, Germany where after he set sail to Ireland to start his professional career at the Marlfield House. Upon his return to the main land he continued his career at the multiple Michelin star awarded restaurant Anne de Bretagne. Follwed by a career at many high-end top gastronomical - Michelin awarded restaurants in France, Jersey and Luxemburg like Le Coquilage, Bohemia and Bouquet Garni.
Not only did he follow a very nice path in his working career, his competitive journey also didn’t pass by unnoticed. In 2014 he became Best Sommeliers of Luxemburg and has participate (with satisfying result) in International sommelier competitions. Not to forget mentioning that in the last year he also obtained his level 3 degree at WSET, obtained an ASI diploma and is certified sommelier at the Court of Master sommeliers. So you see, we weren’t exaggerating :-)
Today Niels works as sommelier and sales person for the Luxemburg sparkling wine producer Bernard-Massard. A job that he combines with the job as president of the Luxemburg sommelier association and as teacher at the l’école d’Hôtellerie et de Tourisme du Luxembourg.
Enjoy the read!
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
This is quite easy for me to answer, it’s the Mosel. Considering I only live a few Km’s away from vineyards. We can find so many different expressions of Riesling and so much more. Especially when we look at the “whole” Mosel including Germany, Luxembourg and France.
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
A good Sommelier for me it’s a person of many talents. A good listener, an organizer, someone who has a lot of emphasis but also knows how to taste and tell a story and always remains humble.
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
I think that our trade today is completely underestimated and that the base of our trade are often overseen.
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
I became passionate for wine while working with my father producing goat cheese in the early 2000’s.
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
There are many people in the wine world that I have a lot of respect for. Marc Almert impressed me as professional but also as a human.
Ronan Sayburn I admire for his work style, he makes it look so easy and I’m not even mentioning his incredible knowledge.
What is your approach for pairing wines (or other beverages) with dishes?
I always try to make lively pairings, “uplifting” pairings. I prefer elegance over blockbusters.
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
Porto and the Douro valley. Absolutely amazing.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
1985 Vosne-Romanée 1er Cru Cros Parantoux Henri Jayer
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or viticulture studies?
Apart from making many long-lasting friendships? A wonderful trip with our Sommelier class to Bordeaux. Tasting many great wines and meeting some of the stars of the wine world.
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?
A meal at Christian Bau’s Restaurant in Nenning. Nina Mann also does a fantastic job with the beverage program. Absolutely mind-blowing.