Know Your Sommeliers: Andre Luis Martins

Know Your Sommeliers: Andre Luis Martins

Born in the north of Portugal. By the age of 6, my parents relocated to Aveiro, just south of Porto on the coast. Just before turning 16, I had my first contact with hospitality starting as a waiter followed shortly after as a barman. While I was a student I always worked in catering. About 15 years ago relocated to London and in 2008 join the Royal Automobile Club as the Cellar Master in the Epsom Club House and the journey into the world of wines. The deep love affair started.

Your current place of work / Last place of work?

The Cavalry and Guards Club. The Cavalry and Guards Club represent history, tradition, timeless elegance and quiet efficiency plus that all-important personal touch. This gracious building, which is more a home than an institution, is situated at the Hyde Park Corner end of Piccadilly, in the heart of Mayfair, with wonderful views of Green Park.

The Cavalry and Guards Club

Why did you want to become a sommelier?

The sommelier role comes as a need at first and after as pleasure. 

How according to you has the role of the sommelier evolved, especially now during covid times?

The sommelier role is evolving in the last two or three decades and with the COVID-19 only spend up this change. In some small operations, the role will be the role of assistant restaurant manager, restaurant manager or even bar manager. In large operations, the role will be supplemented with full responsibility for the full beverage operations, assistant f&b manager. In addition to the extra duties the full beverage training and staff development. With the COVID-19 the companies are looking to the sommelier to create extra incoming to the business in this challenging time with wine zoom tastings, wine online courses, wine sales direct to the customers.

What are some of the most important skills for a sommelier?

The most important skills for a sommelier are passion and commitment to the role.

What do you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business? 

Whenever looking to source new wines to present to my members, I take into consideration the quality and the awards the wine has. Before request, sample and taste with my team and make the final assessment.

Andre Luis Martins

Your favorite places to enjoy great wine in London?

London is one the most cosmopolitan capitals of the world with large wine bars and places with a large global wine offer from Vagabond, Vinoteca, Sager + Wilde Wine Bar but my favorite place is old school Davy’s at St. James.

What is your approach to matching food and wine?

The food and wine pairing can be a complex subject to embrace but the way a prefer to use the flavor's journey each component works together, the wine and the food complement each other and bring out the best of each.

If you had to pick one red and one white wine as your personal best? which wines would they be?

This is the one million question as a sommelier every day, week, month, year your choices keep changing at this moment in time Sunday 8th December 2020, my white choice will be Vouvray ‘ Grande Année ’,  Marc Brédif, Dom. de Ladoucette, Loire Valley, 1985 and the red will be Prats & Symington ‘ Chryseia ’, Douro Valley, 2008. But the wine at this moment that makes me smile with joy is a Kopke 30 YO White Tawny Port.

What's the best part of your job?

The best part of the job for me is the warmth of the members or guests.

What movies and TV shows are you watching or recommend on Netflix or Amazon Prime in this Covid-19 times? 

You, Will, Be My Son.

Any favorite food and wine pairing suggestions for London drinks enthusiasts?

My favorite flavor journey at this moment in time is the Grahams 10 years old port and churros with cinnamon.

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