Find out more about the world-renowned names that make up the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards judging line-up in this Q&A series.
Sebastian Bredal MW is the owner of Symposium Wines in his native Norway. He initially worked in information technology, switching to the wine industry in 2003. From 2004 to 2009, Bredal worked for a wine importer and undertook both sommelier and MW studies. He achieved his MW qualification in 2010.
Read our interview with Sebastian Bredal MW below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
2030. Then, by 2060-70, I’d hopefully be fully competent to enjoy some of those maturing 2010 Bordeaux bottles in the following 30-40 years!
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
It was actually many years before I entered the wine industry, when I correctly pointed out that a wine was corked when at a restaurant with my IT colleagues. Respect!
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
Always too few – around 300. This number has been on an alarmingly downward trend over the last few years. Wine purchases have been suffering in favour of buying diapers for children and tiles for the roof etc. My most recent addition was a Masi Campolongo di Torbe Amarone Classico 2006.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
This is my 10th year. My first job was as a product manager for a Norwegian importer of wine where I really got the chance to use my then newly acquired WSET Diploma skills.
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
Many choices here, but one dream case would be the Chateau Cheval Blanc 1947. Obviously, I wish I’d bought that case probably before I could even speak…
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
Dry Riesling from Pfalz. It is amazingly versatile.
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
I must mention two re-discoveries. The first is Spain’s Rioja, which over delivers on quality/price, both in the modern style of winemaking and, in particular, with some Gran Reservas that are traditionally made with great complexity and drinkability. The second eye opener for me has been tasting maturing vintages of single vineyard Amarone from Italy. It is powerful, yes, but very perfumed and elegant, with beautifully integrated alcohol and fine, ripe tannic structure that cleanses the mouth neatly on the finish. Simply, these are just great food wines.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
Hugh Johnson. Being constantly up to date with the latest wine developments is time consuming, but Johnson shows that one can really be an expert in wine, and still have time left to dedicate to other academic passions and interests – such as trees, in Johnson’s case.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
Salon 1990 at one of the finest restaurants in Oslo. That was our first date, and she said “yes” on a beautiful spring day in a Tuscan vineyard a few months later…
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
I’d be happy to pull the cork on a couple of those Cheval Blanc’s already mentioned and invite the fabulous Norwegian author, Gert Nygaardshaug, to share them over an eight-hour long dinner prepared by a selected team of great Norwegian chefs. Nygaardshaug writes novels on topics that seriously matter to our world, and always includes references to exquisite food and wine in his storytelling.
☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
To taste the best wine the world has to offer. We have been making wine for a few thousand years, but technology and experience are allowing winemakers to make improvements year on year.
Written by Decanter