Friday, April 07, 2017

Wine knowledge for the rest of us: Oisin Rogers

In a series of 'wine knowledge for the rest of us' interviews with industry friends and colleagues, we've asked legendary London landlord Oisin Rogers to share a few tips based on his personal wine tastes.

Image credit: Hot Dinners

GW: There is an awful lot of wine out there. Where do you start when thinking about what to drink?

O.R.: Although I do know a fair amount about wine I'll readily admit my knowledge is very far from extensive. There is so much to know before becoming any way competent in wine. For me though, as my palette is not amazing, wine is about stories, about memories of places I've been and dreams of where I'd like to go. When a friend or staff member takes me a bottle from their travels or I see a great bottle from a journey I've done, that's something I'll enjoy drinking, and I look out for bottles I've enjoyed before.

As you’ve got older, what’s changed in your tastes?

There's no doubt that exposure to great wine at work has affected everything I think about wine. Having the chance to taste top wines and vintages allows me to take a view on what I'll drink when I'm out or if I'm cooking at home. I enjoy full-bodied punchy reds a lot more than I used to and lots of adventures in Northern Italy , Austria and Spain has given me a love of the wines from those bits of Europe.

Any wines you avoid?

I avoid everything natural or orange. They all taste like cheap cider to me and I've witnessed a good friend unexpectedly jump over a wall and disappear after having had a feed of some vile orange artisan crap.

An often cited gripe for restaurant customers is feeling the sommelier is forcing his own agenda on the customer, regardless of the customer’s wishes. As a customer, how would you get round this?

Stick to your price point and have an idea what wine you'd like to drink with your food choice. If it's not on the list any decent somm should be able to suggest something similar. I've never been upsold to something I didn't want to pay for and suspect this is a myth

You must have had some high points over the years and tasted some special bottles. Any particular stories?

My friend Paul found a case of mixed 1960s wine in his father's garage. Among it was a 1968 chateau Latour. I was born in that year so he took it to the pub and opened it on my birthday. It was an extraordinary wine made all the more excellent by the generosity and fellowship of my friend.

I also love amarone, having visited Allegrini and Masi on my travels. It's hard to match it with food because it's so rich and distinctive. The unique grape-drying process is extraordinary. I like to have a bottle between main and cheese to share on special occasions.

Oisin Rogers is Landlord of The Guinea Grill, Mayfair.
From its wine list, Gauthier Wines is offering the superb Chateau de Parenchere Bordeaux Superieur.

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