Interview With A Sommelier – Jonathan Spinat
1st November 2023
The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.
In this feature, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Jonathan Spinat, let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“My name is Jonathan Spinat I came to London when I was 19 years old and started my Sommelier journey in the City as a comis.
I soon built experience and confidence to take my career to the next level. This involved gaining a worldwide recognised WSET Certified and Advanced Sommelier qualification.
I later returned to work in the South of France as an assistant manager in a French fine dining restaurant.
My passion for wine brought me back to London. I mean where else can you explore wines from all around the world in one city? The wine market here is second to none!
My next role in the capital was as an Assistant Head Sommelier which led time to work and learn alongside Christopher Delalonde MS.
I gained further qualifications – achieving level 2 of the Master Sommelier Diploma. This landed me a role in the heart of the city – Mayfair, at the renowned Bagatelle Restaurant as Head Sommelier. I instantly fell in love with the concept and the vibe.
At Bagatelle, I’m responsible for creating our magnificent wine selection. The brand allows me to collaborate with some of the best suppliers who have access to the most prestigious wines from around the world such La Romanee Conti and the most famous Bordeaux, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux and even the iconic Petrus
My role at Bagatelle allows me to continuously build my knowledge, experience and skill. There’s more to come…stay tuned…”
Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?
“Yes, I do remember it, actually…my first experience with Sparkling wine. It was for the millennium… I had a sip – in my Dad’s Champagne glass. I can’t really remember what brand it was… But I just remember that it was too acidic and extremely bitter for my taste buds.
Then my very first experience with Sparkling wine as a sommelier was a gift, from a friend of mine, for my Birthday. He bought me 2 bottles of Perrier-Jouët 1992. I was only 20 years old and I just started to appreciate and learn about wine. And it seemed crazy for me, then, to drink a sparkling wine that old.
The colour and the taste were just insane. Both bottles were in excellent condition, but, with a surprisingly different taste to each of them. And this experience really pushed me, to learn more and more about the Champagne region as well as sparkling wines.”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“When I first started hospitality, like many people, I had to begin from the bottom. From “’ommis waiter’ to ‘barman’ – quite rapidly.
In this restaurant, the bar team was part of the sommelier team. So I had to work closely with the sommeliers as they were giving me instructions to do my job, properly.
And I remember that what inspired me was the way – they were talking to each other – when a nice bottle of wine was sold. (They were talking about flavours, tannins, acidity level, body. I couldn’t understand, how they could smell so many things, inside a glass of wine. I also got inspired by the way the guests were listening to them…Guests were asking to see and speak with a sommelier.
And during my first fine dining experience, as a guest, I remember being fascinated by the style, the role; and the communication that the role required!
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt?
“I would name just one; wine wise: surprising and interesting at the same time. It would probably be the way Traditional Method’s – sparkling wines are made. Champagne, Franciacorta, Cava, California as well as many English sparkling wines.
First, I was very interested in where the bubbles came from and how they could last for so long, in the glass. Then, all the different styles that were made. From extra dry to Demi sec, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs…
When I went, my first time, in a Champagne’s winery. I was shocked by how complicated it is, to produce sparkling wine following the Traditional Method.
And with time, global warming and the evolution of a new wine maker’s generation. I do believe that many new things will be created and I will, again, be surprised and interested in something else.”
What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?
“The advice I would give would be: to travel as much as possible.
I believe that whilst travelling you are always meeting people, you see techniques, some different styles and some characters too.
Also, seeing things with your own eyes has such a stronger impact, compared to reading it from a book.
Talking with the people on sites. In the winery or in the vineyards, really helps.”
Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?
“It’s pretty hard to name one memorable place. There are a few, where I really enjoyed my glass of bubbles.
However, if I have to pick one place. I would say – inside a Champagne’s cellar
The beauty of the place, the history and the feeling I had inside those underground cellar, was just magical.
But there are so many places, where I enjoyed a glass of bubbles. From Michelin star’s restaurant to Christmas family dinners. Which are, also, memorable moments and places. Each glass of bubbles was, then, memorable.”
Thank you, Jonathan, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Jonathan Spinat. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.