Interview With A Sommelier – Sotir Semini

17th May 2023

Glass of Bubbly Interview With A Sommelier Sotir Semini

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 article, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Sotir Semini. Now let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“I was born and raised in Italy, Sanremo, located very close to the stunning Cote D’Azur, France. I terminated my studies to become a captain on cruise ships in order to escape the mundane routine and travel the world. After my studies, I started running my family restaurant and eventually fell in love with wines and hospitality. I realized straight away my vocation, talent and passion for this world motivating me to stay and take over the lead of the restaurant obtaining very successful results. Once I moved to the UK I started working for two Three Michelin Stars from the legendary Waterside Inn at Bray to Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London, one of the world’s most renowned and celebrated chef’s restaurants. As I’m ambitious I always look forward, therefore I’m already working on my project, to open a family Bistrot in Bad Ragaz Switzerland. Where we can cooperate and work in synergy with small growers and the country’s best resources.”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“Being raised in a restaurant played a crucial part in influencing my lifestyle and suddenly my career in wine. Everything began contemplating the service in front of a cheeseboard and a bottle of Petit Verdot from Casale del Giglio, incredibly versatile and charming expressing at the nose a bouquet of wild berries and violets and ripe notes of sweet and sour cherries on the palate. Mr. GianMario Airoldi is my idol and the person who introduced me to wine telling me stories and answering to all my doubts and questions making me suddenly fall in love with wine.”

During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?

“The further you go studying and tasting the more you realize that the enological world is endless and therefore you never stop to learn because it is in constant evolution with new producers coming out, new terroirs getting explored and new styles of wine getting produced. The humbleness of the biggest sommeliers in the world confirms this statement helping you truly understand wines and approach always with curiosity and interest to keep up with the news.”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“Lately, very often considering the fact that the product is becoming very competitive and the overall quality increased exponentially thanks as well to the global warming. One, in particular, I’m familiar with is Hundred Hills Winery located in Oxford, producing very promising sparkling wines full of personality!”

In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?

“It really depends on what you’re having, it is a mistake considering only Champagne a better product to complement a meal. For Example with richer products such as Lobster and Scallops the complexity and intensity of the Champagne are ideal to cut through and enrich the overall quality of the pairing. But on the other hand, you may overwhelm the food covering it therefore Prosecco, light, delicate and mouthwatering, would be ideal with white fish such as Seabass or Cod fillet with a simple condiment of olive oil, cherry tomato and artichokes on the side (Pesce Alla Ligure). A perfect marriage isn’t it? Relying on the ingredient used and the way they’re cooked is the essential key. That’s the beauty of the food and wine pairings, so fascinating.”

What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?

“Surround yourself with mentors and people helping you to improve to become the best version of yourself. I recognize the fortune to have worked and collaborated with many great mentors inspiring me during the journey such as Michael Trenga Head Sommelier at The Waterside Inn, Bray and Vincenzo Arnese current Best Sommelier of the UK Head Sommelier at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Marius Plesa and Maxime Lamour. Truly inspirational personalities and very knowledgeable”

If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?

“Very Easy! I’ll recommend the dish that crowned me and Julien the winner of the Gosset Matchmakers 2022 Competition! Marinated Scottish Langoustine with peach citrus and almonds with a Blanc De Blancs from Hundred Hills. A match able to uplift both food and sparkling wine and complement each other perfectly creating balance and harmony.”

Thank you, Sotir, 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 Sotir Semini. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.