To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Decanter World Wine Awards, we're profiling a number of this year's judges, who are some of the world's most renowned wine experts. Our 'Meet the Judges' interview series offers a rare insight into the world of wine and judging from the key industry experts choosing this year's best wines.
The 2007 Best Sommelier of the World, Andreas Larsson is the new Regional Chair for Austria at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards. In this interview, read his advice for aspiring wine experts, as well as what he’s looking for in a great wine.
Tell us a little about yourself – where are you based and where do you work?
I’m still based in [my native] Stockholm, Sweden, despite my more than frequent travelling. My role is Wine Director at the restaurant PM & Vänner, and apart from that I do consulting, tasting and teaching around the globe.
Tell us a bit about your expertise and how you got into wine?
I started in the restaurant business as a chef early on, but towards the late 90s I swapped my kitchen apron for the sommelier costume due to my fascination with wine.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while working in the wine industry?
Wow, what a world! I’ve learned so much about everything, not only wine but culture, history, languages, geology, geography, chemistry, agriculture… wine is truly the school of life.
Who has been your biggest inspiration during your wine career?
I had many good teachers and inspirations, and I think that was the key to becoming good at what I did.
What are your most memorable wine moments from the last ten years?
Well, the first one was when I became Best Sommelier of Sweden in 2001; I never thought I had any talent back then. It was the same case when I became Best Sommelier of Europe in 2004 – I never thought I could win that. Then when I finally became the Best Sommelier of the World in 2007, I actually thought I could win that after all the years of preparation and studying.
Which kinds of wines do you think should be given more attention in 2013?
Sherry as usual and don’t forget Bordeaux – apart from the big and expensive names, there are so many great value [wines] out there. Riesling as usual, “cool climate” Chile, and I think that Hungary and various parts of Eastern Europe are quite exciting.
Which wines are you drinking at home at the moment?
I always have Riesling, Champagne and Sherry in my fridge, however this time of the year I´m leaning towards more red, so a lot of Bordeaux and Piedmont.
What’s your desert island wine?
1934 Château d´Yquem.
What single piece of advice do you have for people just starting out in wine?
Taste, taste, taste, be open minded, learn to taste blind and do what you want to do, not what you´re supposed to do.
When judging, what are you looking for in great wine?
Purity, aromatic complexity, structure, balance, length, character, typicality and that wow-factor we find in great wines.
Finally, what are you looking forward to most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
Meeting all the talented people from around the globe.
Written by Decanter.com