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.
Aristide Spies MS is joint manager of La Cave des Sommeliers, a chain of wine shops located in Belgium and Luxembourg. He commenced his wine career as a sommelier at Les Forges du Pont d’Oye in his native Belgium. In 2008, Spies was named Best Sommelier of Belgium and, in 2013, Spies was a finalist at the World’s Best Sommelier competition in Tokyo and achieved his Master Sommelier qualification.
Read our interview with Aristide Spies MS below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I was born in 1982, a great decade for the wine trade in which many positive changes occurred.
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
I was 14. We tasted a 1990 Laville Haut Brion – a great wine!
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
1000 bottles and counting! My latest acquisition was a 2011 Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Großes Gewächs.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
I have been working in the trade for 13 years. My first job was as a sommelier when I was 18, right after completing secondary school.
☆ Which wine do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
The 2000 Oremus Tokaji 5 Puttonyos.
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
The Rhône Valley. It is a region which offers many wine styles, and one where you can still find some deliciously complex wines which are excellent value for money.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
Two people have been my inspiration: Pascal Carré, who won Best Sommelier of Belgium in 1992, 1996 and 1997, and also Paul Brunet, who is a wine writer.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
It has to be the astonishing match between a plate of truffled fresh tagliatelle and a 2001 Château Barde-Haut Grand Cru Saint-Emilion.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
I would love to share an aged Sercial Madeira or an aged Amontillado with my wife and my mum.
☆ What’s the highest number of wines you’d had on one of your wine lists?
☆ What is the oldest bottle of wine you’ve served?
A 1795 Madeira.
☆ What are you most looking forward to about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
I am looking forward to a great week of meeting other judges, exchanging ideas and, of course, tasting many different wines.
For more information on this year’s competition, including how to enter, visit the Decanter World Wine Awards website
Written by Decanter
Aristide Spies MS is a judge at the at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)