BEHIND THE BOTTLE
“I’ve been interested in wine since I was 13. My uncle was into wines and he would let me try small sips of his amazing varieties. This triggered me to study as much as I could about wine, and by the time I was 18, I knew wine was the only way forward. I was going to start my studies in finance in Hong Kong when I learned I was hired at La Strada, under the Les Amis Group. I convinced my parents that my future was in wine and began my F&B career. Once at La Strada, I explored what degrees I could obtain in the wine world and decided to study for Court of Master Sommeliers. I passed the Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examination, and received my certification as a sommelier at the age of 19.
Most people see the sommelier life as a fun job with lots of drinking, and not a job where you have to work hard. There is a lot of organization involved in getting a wine program together and ensuring guests have a great experience every night. There are a lot of challenges too, and one challenge I’m faced with is defining what I want to become as a sommelier: Do I want to specialize in a region, or become an all-rounder? Another challenge is my preparation for the advanced exam of the Master Court of Sommeliers.
Challenges aside, getting to try a wide variety wines and other spirits is an experience like no other. I try around 15 new wines a week, though most I taste on my days off. At ATLAS, I have been fortunate enough to taste many spirits as well, and I get to try unique whiskies form the ATLAS Collections. We also have weekly gin training where we try three new gins from the tower.
Based on the varieties I’ve tried, I feel that German wines in general do not get the same level of appreciation as their French counterparts and can be on par, quality wise, with any of the great crus. I personally love German wine and the history it has. As for food pairings, my favorite would be Verdejo Madeira with foie gras. The combination of the freshness and nutty character of the Madeira works well with the buttery texture and flavor of foie gras.”
This adapted article was originally published in Portfolio Magazine