How did you get into the world of wine?
My parents were in the restaurant business, my father was a chef and my mother ran the front of house. During my childhood, my passion for wine was kindled early on as I was exposed to good food and wine. I was mentored by the great Gerard Basset to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude.
What is your personal philosophy?
As much as I love the old-world wines, I am passionate about new grapes varietals, new wine regions and countries around the world where their wine industry is developing. The joy of discovery, for me, is something which can never be replicated and I love the quest for fantastic new wines.
What are your three favourite things about wine?
1. It offers an experience, highlighting the emotional links between wine and food.
2. Great wine is like a piece of art, it’s a magical thing which is almost impossible to define.
3. Wine allows me to build a strong relationship between myself and my guests while enjoying my passion.
What is special about your cellar?
We have around 1600 wines in our cellar, which I have chosen over the years. They are an expression of me and my philosophy about wine.
At Summer Lodge, we cover every country which produces wine and quality is the only important aspect in our selection. We have recently started to expand our selection of locally produced English wines and we have been pleasantly surprised as the quality is improving every year. They are now amongst the finest sparkling wines in the world. We have tasted the vintage of every wine we stock and it must be a reflection of our personalities.
As a sommelier, what is your relationship with Chef Steven Titman like?
It’s important to understand food preparation and the local produce Steven is using, in order to make a correct pairing for the guest. It is also important for the Chef to be involved with the wine experience, as this enables new ideas on how we can match food with wines. I am incredibly lucky to have worked so closely with our Chef over many years - we have an intimate understanding of each other and our cuisine.
At Summer Lodge, Sommelier Eric Zwiebel and Chef Steven Titman host regular Wine Dinners featuring guest speakers. Our wine dinners are held on a regular basis and feature wines from around the world.