Setting up your first restaurant whilst studying for the Best Sommelier of the World competition sounds a tall order, but one that Danish sommelier, Christian Jacobsen, took on reaching the semi-finals of the 2016 competition and winning plaudits for his new Copenhagen restaurant. Next week he comes to London to take part in Wines of Argentina Barullo event.
Christian Jacobsen was one of the sommelier team that helped set up MASH, the premium steam restaurant in London. He has now ventured out on his own with his first restaurant in Copenhagen. Whilst putting himself through arduous sommelier competitions.
As one of the semi-finalists in the Best Sommelier of the World awards in Argentina what was your perception of Argentinian wine before the event and what did you discover about them when you were there?
The perception of Argentinean wine has long been that they excelled in Malbec but not much else. That perception was put to rest. Malbec is still the first born son of the Argentinean wine industry, but so much else is going on, especially outside Mendoza.
How do you think Argentinian wines have changed in your career?
I actually think that one of the things that has put Argentina on the wine drinker’s radar is the consistency of the quality of their wines which haven’t changed much during my time. Argentinean wines have been pure and subtle for the most part and that doesn’t look to change.
What styles of Argentinian wine and regions do you think are suitable for restaurants and sommeliers on both the reds and whites?
I find white Torrontes from Salta in the northern part of Argentina extremely exciting especially in a culinary sense. When they are best they can be fragrant and electric. Also, I have a growing interest for some of the Patagonian Malbecs. They offer something completely different than their cousins in Mendoza with more purity of fruit and more complexity.
What type of Argentinian wines do you have on your list, why did you decide to list them?
The above mentioned and for the same reasons. Also, I list unoaked examples of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc from Vina Zorzal’s Ecco line – exciting wines (available in the UK through Indigo Wine in the UK). They have changed my perception of Argentinean wines as well as Torrontes.
What would you like to see Argentina improve and develop its wines?
More diversity in general.
If you could choose one Argentinian wine – or producer – of all the rest which would it be?
For obvious reasons Catena comes to mind as they have been the quality frontrunner for decades now.
How did you find taking part in the Best Sommelier of the World competition? What did you do to prepare?
I have been at it before and found it as challenging and pleasurable as always. I studied for hours and hours, tasted hundreds of wines blind and worked on my practical skills whilst setting up my own restaurant in Copenhagen. So it was an intense and busy period.
What advice would you give to other sommeliers looking to take part in national or world sommelier competitions?
Be prepared to invest hundreds if not thousands of hours. You have to be dedicated beyond dedication and be willing to put aside the pleasurable things in life for a long time. On the other hand, you grow as a professional and as a human being putting yourself on the edge. And make sure to have someone to support you, whether it being pouring samples of wine for you or rubbing your back when your head is exploding with tons and tons of information. You literally have to know everything that there is to know about wine and that is quite a bit.
Describe your new restaurant’s wine and food offer?
Restaurant Anarki is a small casual wine oriented bistro in the Frederiksberg neighborhood of Copenhagen. Food wise our ultimate achievement is flavour. Although Anarki is referred to as a bistro we are not particularly French. There are no dogmas and inspiration is found all over the world. The same goes for the wine list that counts some 600 bins from around the globe and is a reflection of my taste. I am the owner and sommelier of Anarki.
What is the best way for wine producers or suppliers to contact you about their wines?
Any way possible, but they should have the opportunity to drop by the restaurant, which I would encourage producers to do whenever they get the chance. But please make notice in advance so that time can be allocated.
- Christian Jacobsen will be taking part in a series of masterclasses and debates being held by six of the semi-finalists in this year’s Best Sommelier of the Year competition at Wines of Argentina’s Barullo event on October 25 at JJ Studios in Hoxton, London. The event has been designed to inspire and help fellow sommeliers and wine buyers discover the cutting edge wines and food coming out of Argentina. Barullo’s trade sessions take place on October 25 and 26 with the world sommeliers present on October 25. More details here and to register click here.