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1. Was there a particular wine or experience that made you decide to pursue a career in the world of wine?
I was lucky enough to dine at a Michelin started restaurant in the Loire valley in 1991, they presented me with a huge wine list so I asked the sommelier to recommend something and he suggested a bin end of 1977 Cos d'Estournel it was absolutely perfect, drinking stunningly, even though the 1977 vintage was pretty poor.

2. You've enjoyed various roles in highly regarded companies. What (on earth) made you decide to go it alone with a start up?
I had watched companies opening with success and failure often commenting on how I would have done it differently so when an opportunity arose I decided it was time to stop been an armchair expert and go for it.

3. Is there a type or style of wine that you dislike or don't get on with?
Generally, I can see the merits in any well-made wine but personally I am really not keen on the further reaches of the natural wine movement and wines with big overt brett are really not to my taste.

4. Can you tell us an interesting wine and food pairing from your travels?
I once had foie gras three ways (the crème brûlée foie gras was incredible) paired with a stunning older bottle of Alois Lageder's Lowengang Chardonnay in a 2 star restaurant in the Dolomites - it was truly sensational.
 

Jason Yapp & Kent Barker

Jason Yapp & Kent Barker


 

5. Is there an upcoming region, grape variety or style we should be looking out for?
I think Cabernet Franc is a very underrated grape, some of the New World examples and Old World classics reimagined are quite stunning.

6. Where do you turn to source good value wines for everyday drinking?
I love the Languedoc-Roussillon especially regions like Faugères and Corbières. We have also seen some cracking wines from Romania that represent amazing value.

7. You sell a lot of (wonderful) pizza. Would you pair that with Italian wine or have we got beyond that?
I love Italian wine with a passion so its my 'go to' for pretty much everything but saying that we love to look at alternative approaches to the traditional food and wine match so try a Portuguese Dão, and currently I am drinking white Cote du Rhône with our seasonal green pizza.

8. You're a keen historian. Is there a time and a place that you would have liked to have been in reference to wine?
I would love to have been at the opening of the cellars of the 'Eagles Nest' in 1945 alongside Bernard de Nonancourt (future President of Laurent Perrier) and finding the 100s of bottles of the celebrated 1928 Salon Champagne stolen by Herman Göring at the start of the Second World War.

9. If a fire broke out and you could only grab one bottle from your shelves what would it be?
We currently have a bottle of Sonoma Pinot Noir that is truly magnificent and everything you want in a bottle of Pinot. I might sneak a bottle of the stunning 'Offerus' Saint Joseph in my bag as well.

10. What advice would you give a college leaver hoping to follow in your footsteps?
If you love food and wine it can be the most rewarding career ever but if you love money then go into banking! Also, take every opportunity to try wine wherever you can to build the memory bank and, wherever possible, in the places that they are made.
 

Eight Stony Street, Frome - Restaurant & Wine Bar

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