Ex-Noma sommelier to pour own wine in London
- Tuesday 18 September 2012
'Throwing away money': Anders Selmer at Lilleø
Selmer co-owns Denmark’s Lilleø winery with Noma investor Claus Meyer and grape grower Hans Lund, one of the six residents of the small island after which the winery is named.
Selmer was sommelier at Copenhagen’s Noma, voted world’s best restaurant two years running in the San Pellegrino awards, from its opening in 2003, to 2007.
He said most growers in Denmark make red wine from hybrid grapes, but he had hoped to feature a local white wine, preferably from Vitis vinifera, on the list he created for Noma.
‘We eventually decided to make it ourselves,’ he said.
Lilleø was launched in 2005, and now has 2.5ha planted to Chenin Blanc, Sylvaner, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Solaris, a hybrid. Total production – comprising three cuvees, Arwen, Salamon and Skum (which means bubbles in Danish) - is 2,000-5,000 bottles.
‘We have a very good spot on an island with shallow waters, which means we are almost guaranteed to be frost-free,’ he said, noting that the light from long northern summer nights is as critical to winemaking in Denmark as heat.
Selmer’s mentor and consultant is German winemaker Martin Steinmann of Schloss Sommerhausen in Franken.
Denmark’s vibrant dining scene – characterised by fresh, local ingredients, creative preparations and attention to detail –has inspired innovation in the country’s alcoholic and soft drinks business, but Selmer said wine remains more a project than an industry.
‘A few years ago, there were about 50 winemakers – mostly retired people,’ he said. ‘Now there are 70-80. Some of them are more serious, but it’s still a way to throw away money.’
Most of Lilleø’s production goes to Noma and Selmer’s Kødbyens Fiskebar, a seafood restaurant also in Copenhagen.
Selmer will pour 2010 Arwen and Skum, alongside beer from Mikkeler Bar and soda from Peder Zacho Hansen, in the Danish Bar at the Design Junction furniture show in London from September 20-23.