Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Danielle Meenagh, Star of BBC's Michel Roux's Service, the trainee's view

Published:  07 July, 2011

I wasn't interested in wine before doing Michel Roux's Service -  I had only heard of rosé

I wasn't interested in wine before doing Michel Roux's Service -  I had only heard of rosé and Merlot but couldn't differentiate between them. When I started tasting and talking about wine during the programme I became very interested and wanted to learn more. At first I wasn't interested in the scholarship, but after becoming familiar with some amazing wines I knew I wanted it and put my everything into it in the hope Michel would choose me. After winning the scholarship I had a couple of weeks before starting my sommelier training at Hotel du Vin Winchester, to pursue my scholarship from the Academy of Food & Wine Service. I was telling my friends and family about how I have grown to enjoy wine, and even made them try some. It was the first time I had bought wine from a shop and I had to put thought into what I was getting.I worked in Winchester for six months with Bastian Fischer, who was my chef sommelier and taught me all the basics, from opening a bottle, to carafing and serving. It was hard work, considering I was still very new to the industry and didn't have the first clue about what I was doing, but Bastian and I got through it and I managed to do the whole six months. As my scholarship was coming to an end, just when i was wondering, "what now?" I was offered a job as assistant sommelier at the first Bistro du Vin opening in Clerkenwell, London. We opened on April 8, 2011, and, with a lot of hard work, we all pulled it off and are very busy now. I have being training with top sommelier Romain Audrerie, who has pushed me to learn. My family aren't particularly interested in wine. My mum doesn't like it, but she'll have a sniff if I ask nicely. I have recently introduced my boyfriend to wine and he loves it. He will have a sniff and tell me what he can smell then give it a swirl and tell me what he tastes. He likes Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato.I couldn't even begin to choose my favourite wine as I have so many but, to name a few, Moscato is amazing as an aperitif or paired with a lemon tart; JJ Prum, a Riesling kabinett from Germany, is clean and has aromas of stone fruit, but German Rieslings aren't generally appreciated. One more of my favourites is Turkey Flat Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre blend from the Barossa Valley. It's a very juicy, complex wine, with spices and lovely velvety tannins. It's full bodied and rich, yet so soft on palate, I'd strongly recommend it. People don't see wine as fun, and that unfortunately is a reputation it has built up. We need to get younger people working in the industry so we can make wine fun so more young people will get involved. There is always something new to learn - master sommelier Ronan Sayburn told me that. From grape variety, to how to describe the wine, to knowing your geography and the history behind the wine. There are so many different styles out there and there is one for everyone, whether you have a sweet tooth or savoury palate.