In his position as executive head sommelier at the Summer Lodge Hotel in Dorset, Eric Zwiebel MS serves diners some of the finest wines imaginable. Zwiebel learnt his trade at his family restaurant in Alsace, before heading for the UK countryside. A Master Sommelier since 2001, he was also named the UK’s Best Sommelier in 2004.
Selecting and seeking out inspiring wines comes naturally to Zwiebel, which is why we felt it imperative to find out his favourites following on from his stint as a judge at the IWSC 2021.
During blind tastings of northern hemisphere wines, Zwiebel worked his way through a range of wines from France, Spain and the USA – and given his roots, it may not come as a surprise to see a few bottles from France among his top eight wines from judging.
From Burgundy, Famille Carabello-Baum, Corton Grand Cru 2018 showed a complex interplay of red fruits, black cherries and silky tannins while another gold-medal-winning Burgundian star, Château de Pommard, Clos Marey-Monge Monopole 2018 displayed meatiness, juicy, dark fruit flavours and hints of liquorice.
However, Zwiebel was also impressed by two wines from Alsace, his birthplace. The first was a standout from supermarket Morrisons, The Best Gewurztraminer 2019, noted for its value and for being an expressive exemplar of the varietal. He also chose La Cave du Vieil Armand, Tradition Pinot Blanc 2020 due to its mix of generous stone fruit and its steely, consistent finish.
Zwiebel found it tough to pick one wine as a favourite, but it was the Viña Ardanza, Reserva Rioja 2015 which stole his heart. ‘It was expressive of crushed strawberries, raspberries, cured meat, earthy, black truffle, cedar box, cinnamon and vanilla,’ said Zwiebel, who also praised the wine for its ‘tender tannins and delicate texture’.
Read on to see Master Sommelier Eric Zwiebel’s top eight northern hemisphere wines from the IWSC 2021.