Need help choosing wine? We’ve got low-down on the world’s best sommeliers.
Jon Arvid Rosengren
Sweden may not be known for its wine but it is becoming famous for its world class sommeliers. Mikael Söderström won Best Sommelier of Europe back in 1990 while Andreas Larsson was declared Best Sommelier of the World 2007. Fast forward to 2016 and 31-year old Swede, Jon Arvid Rosengren, won the World title in Mendoza in April of this year.
Born and raised in the south of Sweden, Arvid started out studying Nanotechnology Engineering but, upon discovering his passion for food and wine, transferred to the Grythyttan School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts where he spent two years while simultaneously putting in stints at some of Scandinavia’s top restaurants. After a spell in Copenhagen (Denmark), Rosengren now calls New York City home and can be found working ar Charlie Bird on the western edge of SoHo.
Canadian-born sommelier, Justin Leone, has been at Tantris since 2011 during which time he has built up a reputation for being one of Germany’s leading sommeliers – whose knowledge of Burgundy is second to none. Leone is most passionate about Pinot Noir, but also waxes lyrical about Riesling and mature wines. You’ll find all of the aforementioned and more at Tantris restaurant were Leone works as head sommelier. The Munich restaurant stocks around 40,000-50,000 bottles of different items in its cellar so, whatever varietal you fancy, just look to Leone’s workplace.
Named one of the best new sommeliers by Wine & Spirit Magazine in 2014, Lopes – who works at Manhattan’s celebrated Eleven Madison Park – is one of wine’s leading ladies. Upon graduation (she studied English literature at the University of Chicago), Lopes found employment at a local wine shop which led to a job as beverage director at Catbird Seat restaurant in Nashville. Next stop was New York in 2013, where she was hired as a sommelier by Richard Anderson at Ristorante Morini. Not content to rest on her laurels, Lopes became the first woman to win the Chaîne des Rotîsseurs Best Young Sommelier Competition 2014. The woman knows her wine.
Spanish sommelier, Roger Viusà, started out helping in hotel kitchens on the Costa Brava before training alongside Josep Roca in El Celler de Can Roca in Girona – now regarded as the best restaurant in the world. Viusà then made his way to Moo restaurant in Barcelona’s Hotel Omm – aka the first restaurant in the Catalan capital to offer a pairing menu – and now owns his own establishment, Plaça del Vi 7 wine bar in Girona. Along the way, Viusà claimed the title for second-best sommelier in the world and the best in Europe in 2008, a year after receiving this same distinction in Spain.
Loire-born, Laure Patry, has worked as a wine sommelier in London for the last decade. Patry started out as an assistant sommelier in 2003 at Gordan Ramsay at Claridge’s, where – at the tender age of 25 – she rose to become head sommelier. Patry went onto help Ramsay launch Maze in Mayfair before jumping ship and joining Jason Atherton – Ramsay’s brightest protege until a parting of ways five years ago over finance – at Pollen Street Social. Patry now oversees the wine at Social Wine & Tapas – Atherton’s Marylebone based casual dining venture.
Li Meiyu is back at the Park Hyatt Beijing – where her wine career began – as the luxury hotel’s wine director after receiving her senior sommelier certification following a 12 month programme in Britain. Meiyu’s senior certification – issued by Court of Master Sommeliers – makes her the first woman in the Chinese mainland to hold the distinction.
Meiyu first ell in love with wine as student in France. “Being a sommelier is a kind of lifestyle,” says Li. “You need to know not only wine itself but how to drink, how to eat and how to enjoy wine with different people, in different occasions.”
All hail Pat Levinson. The Argentine sommelier is currently ranked as the number one sommelier in both the Americas and Argentina and is the only Argentine to qualify as an Advanced Sommelier from the UK’s Court of Master Sommeliers.
Wine has always played a big part in Levinson’s life having grown up in Mendoza – Argentina’s gorgeous wine region. She worked as a consultant sommelier for a number of top-end restaurants including Restó and Nectarine in her native Argentina and was named Best Sommelier of Argentina 2014 and 2010 by the Argentinean Association of Sommeliers. She followed this up in 2015, by being crowned winner at the Best Sommelier of the Américas in Chile.
Rachel Van Til
Michigan-born Rachel Van Til – a name and talent to remember – recently helped open Mabel Grey on the outskirts of Detroit, a rapidly changing American city. Van Til heads the wine programme at Mabel Gray ensuring there’s always a tipple or two to match executive chef James Rigato’s ever changing menu. While change is, for the most part, the only constant at Mabel Grey one thing you can be certain of is this: Van Til – who previously worked at Traverse City’s Trattoria Stella – always stocks bottles from the Great Lakes state.