Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Andreas Jechsmayr
For our next sommelier we take you to upper Austria, somewhere between Mozart’s Salzburg and Strauss’ Vienna. Please meet Austrian top sommelier Andreas Jechsmayr.
It was after his graduation from hospitality school that in 1998 Andreas decided to expand his knowledge about wine and started wine course at the Wine akademie Rust from which he graduated in 2003. In 2008 he also started walking the Master Sommelier education path in which so far he is certified as advanced sommelier. Later this year Andreas will be travelling to London do the Master Sommelier exam, so we are keeping our fingers crossed for him!!
In the more than 20 years that Andreas has been working he’s seen it all and has worked as maitre and head-sommelier in some of the best and highest awarded restaurants in Austria and beyond. Today Andreas works closer to home at the Landhotel Forsthof .
Andreas has also done his fair share of competitions, with a victory in 2018 during the Best Sommelier of Austria. Not only did he compete in national competitions, he also represented Austria during multiple International competitions where he ended amongst the 10 best.
Today next to working at Landhotel Forsthof, for the past 14 years, he has been teaching at the Austrian Sommelier School where helps young sommeliers preparing for the WSET or Court of Master sommelier exams.
Please enjoy the read and get to know Andreas a bit better.
What is your favorite wine region to work with?
One of them is Austria. In my home country the clients usually ask for local wines, and also, we have a lot of native grape varieties and international ones. So you can always surprise foreign guests and clients with a good Austrian wine. Spain is also a country I like working with as to my modest opinion it has one of the best price/values, for guests with a smaller budget. And indeed, new Countries and Regions the drop on the market. So it is something that always evolves.
What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?
I don’t say I am a good sommelier, it is something my guests should decide and the people around me. But to try to be a good one, you need to have passion and be professional. You should be open to spend lots hours at work and to educate yourself, teach other people, but don’t be a tutor before your clients. Many things, called personality
Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?
This depends of the country and region in the world. In Cities like London, Paris, NYC, Berlin, it is a very hip and fashionable job. In the gastronomic ‘hotspots’ around the globe a sommelier will stay in the spotlight. In Hotels and Restaurant, more Country Side, it is mostly different. Not everyone knows what a sommelier is and really knows what they do. It is not only serving wine and having small talks with your guests. You can compare it with a show at a theater, there is always something happening behind the scenes and many things happening behind the curtain.
When and how did you get the passion for wine?
It was 1997, I stopped working in the hospitality business and I was waiting for a job as an external serving agent for Coca Cola Austria. My older Sister (at that time she worked in a very good restaurant in my Region), she said to me, come on, take a couple more years in the business, work in better restaurants, start following some online courses(self-study) or maybe even obtain a WSET Diploma. So it is thanks to her that I changed my mind and went for a job in the world of wines. This said, obtained the WSET diploma happened in 2003, and the rest is history. So 1997 I start to drink good wines (not mixed with Coca Cola :))
Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?
There are many.... Adolph Schmid would be one of them, I worked a short time with him in Restaurant Steirereck in Vienna where he has been the first “rising/star” sommelier in Austria. He is such a Gentlemen and fantastic floor man. He showed me, how you could get ‘shaped’. The runner up would be Corinne Mentzelopulos from Chateau Margaux. Une Madame avec elegance. And of course Serge Dubbs, I met him for the first time in Sofia during the best Sommelier of Europe Competition in 2008. A true gentleman in a suit.
What is your approach for pairing wines (or other beverages) with dishes?
To know the rules (that you learn after experience of many years), search for a good filling for dishes and beverages, understand the philosophy and the style of the chef’s cuisine. And sometimes take a good portion of calculated risk as a special spice in your food wine match. But it is much easier and doesn’t have mystery, it only takes you two decades when you can call it routine .... :)
Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?
Beaujolais - the wines are massive repressed about the Beaujolais nouveau effect. But there are such good producers and the wines are amazing, and you could store it for a long time. The crus show a lot of different terroir. Very nice.
For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?
I think for a couple of pre-phyloxera wines from Bordeaux, if I got a possibility....
What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or viticulture studies?
Difficult. The Day I promised myself and understood you could do everything if you want to do it. And my WSET diploma, it was also very special, including my MS Advance Examen. Also last year’s victory at the Best Sommelier of Austria Competition was an extraordinary moment.
A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winey, etc..?
Pine cone liqueur made by myself, just kidding. Oysters directly from a oyster bank, pan-fried ceps fresh from the forest, cider from my region with sheep cheese, my mother’s pickled meat with potato dumplings, my fathers smoked bacon, ... there are a couple of things I want to choose as my last meal. Let’s write a wish letter for it :)