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.
Stockholm native Totte Steneby works for Eriks Vinbar. He started his career in the food industry before turning to wine in 2007. Since 2008, he has taken part in several international wine competitions, winning the Swedish Rioja Sommelier Award, the Viniportugal Scholarship, the ASI Nordic Championship for Sommeliers and the Swedish Championship of Sommeliers.
Read our article with Totte Steneby below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I’m quite happy with 1983, although 1982 might have felt a little better considering the superior quality of that vintage. It’s always fun to drink good wines from your vintage. I feel sorry for people born in 1984!
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
A friend of my dad brought Champagne Salon 1985 to a dinner in 2003 or 2004. Salon has been my favourite Champagne since. Unfortunately they didn’t triumph in 1983.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
I only have around 400 bottles in my cellar at the moment; I just bought some 2005 Burgundy.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
As a sommelier, my first job was at Eriks Winebar in Stockholm, where I worked just after completing my sommelier training in spring 2008.
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
I wish I had more 1978 Burgundy or 1959 Champagne. But, to be realistic, I should have bought more 2005 Bordeaux – they just seemed so expensive at the time.
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
Pinot Noir, both as Champagne and Burgundy.
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
A recent trip to Swartland in South Africa was enlightening. They produce excellent, rich whites there.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
I’m lucky enough to have worked and tasted with Gerard Basset MS MW a couple of times. Who could not be inspired by his achievements and yet his humility as a person.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food ‘moment’?
I have quite a few ‘moments’ from which to choose, but one such was a mid-summer’s evening at the Palais Coburg in Vienna, enjoying a large plate of white asparagus with Hollandaise and a bottle of Coche-Dury Meursault 2005.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
I’d love to share a bottle of Romanée-Conti with Aubert de Villaine. I hope he reads this …
☆ What’s the highest number of wines you’d had on one of your wine lists?
I work with a list of more than 2000 wines at the moment. And we’re doing our best to make it even bigger.
☆ What is the oldest bottle of wine you’ve served?
A 1940 Massandra White Muscat (from Ukraine) from my own cellar.
☆ What are you most looking forward to about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
I am looking forward to both the social scene at the Awards as well as the opportunity to taste through a region so rigorously. It’s a palate building experience.
Written by Decanter
Totte Steneby is a judge at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)