Posts Tagged ‘Sommelier’

Guillaume KaczmarBorn and bred in France, Guillaume was raised on a totally organic diet so no surprise that he was keen to continue the tradition of biodynamic, organic and natural wines at L’Ortolan.

Guillaume’s interest in wine was first kindled when he worked as a tour guide in Pauillac while taking his degree in Tourism studies. The Château Lynch-Bages winery produces some of the finest and most expensive Claret in Bordeaux.

One of the best experiences of Guillaume’s life followed next as he took a year out to travel to New Zealand to go ‘woofing’ – working on organic farms. His rich experience included a post in the South Island in a stunning vineyard fed by a glacial lake facing the Alps producing some of the leading New Zealand Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Guillaume returned to France to study wine in Sommelier School, gaining a National Diploma. Then a further 6 months of study at the International School of Wine where he graduated as top of the class.

He decided to follow a career in the hospitality industry in a role where he is able to try wine every day.


‘There are so many factors that make wine unique – the climate, region, grapes – you never stop learning’.


‘Les Sources de Caudalie’ hotel and spa in the Pessac Leognan wine making region was Guillaume’s next post, as Sommelier in the fabulous Michelin starred restaurant. In addition to Château Smith Haut Lafitte produced in the famous family owned winery, they also produce a range of world class  beauty products made from the crushed grape skins.

Guillaume was interested in moving to England to immerse himself in the new wine culture where the market is wide open with wines from all over the world easily available.

After an enjoyable and challenging year at two Michelin starred Whatley Manor Guillaume joined us as Head Sommelier earlier this year.

Guillaume has already made his mark at L’Ortolan delighting guests with his wine recommendations and introducing a new house Champagne, Charles Heidsieck.  Going forward he plans to  …

Continue to champion biodynamic, organic and natural wines with a good selection of unusual wines as well as more familiar names. Provide the highest standard of wine service with the main focus being pairing wines with the fabulous menus at L’Ortolan’.


To contact Guillaume:

Email: guillaume.kaczmar@lortolan.com

Telephone: 0118 988 8500

twitter @kaczmarkaczmar



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Head Sommelier Guillaume Kaczmar has only recently joined us but already has a solid idea of how the wines and wine service will be going forward.  Following on from his predecessors and the interest L’Ortolan has always had in unconventional but authentic wines, Guillaume intends to carry on in the same tradition.

‘ We try very hard to source most of our wines and produce from honest people who work hard, respecting the environment they are living and working in, giving the best of themselves to get a lot more in return.

It is with great pleasure and excitement that we will be promoting the Real Wine Fair’ event, an independent festival taking place in London every year in April, showcasing wines from all around the planet, gathered around the same spirit of minimal intervention and respect for nature.


Throughout the month of April you will find at L’Ortolan, in addition to the numbers of organic, biodynamic and natural wines, two organic wines poured by the glass, pairing our Chef’s set menu, from my region of origin, the South West of France.

Both organic, one dry white from the very south on the edge of the Pyrenean mountains, Jurancon, Clos Lapeyre, produced with the intriguing indigenous varietal ‘Gros Manseng’.

And the other one full bodied red, Luc de Conti, Château Tour des Gendres La Gloire de mon Père, from the Dordogne region with a traditional blend of Malbec, Cabernet and Merlot.

I am looking forward to meeting you here at L’Ortolan to tell you more about the wines…’

Guillaume Kaczmar, Head Sommelier


The Real Wine Lunch is available throughout April
£37 per person, includes a 3 course lunch with Chef’s appetiser and pre-dessert and a glass of organic wine.
See the menu and book online here.


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Wine Pairing at L'Ortolan

Exceptional cuisine, exquisite wines and first class service all combine to make the dining experience at L’Ortolan truly memorable. To complement the food, Sommelier Craig Steven offers recommendations from our extensive wine list, including flights of wines to accompany each course on the menu. We are constantly tasting and tuning our wine offering with the ever changing menu and love to introduce the ‘fruit’ of that work.

Whether you are looking for the ideal bottle to accompany your food choices from the menu, or a selection by the glass to go with each course from our tasting menus, our Sommelier would be happy to guide you. In this blog Craig shares his wine choices for our signature seven course Menu Gourmand.

Gazpacho, tomato confit, basil

Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel, Lodi, California, U.S.A
The Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel works well with the tomato Gazpacho as both the wine and the food can be described as being intense and fruity in flavour with a spicy finish. It is these similar characteristics which allow the wine and food to work in harmony with each other.

Goose liver & smoked breast, pain d’épice, spiced cherries, chicory jam

Els Pyreneus Maury, Languedoc, France
Paired with this course as a traditionally French pairing with goose liver is Sauternes, another famed sweet wine. The accompaniments then ask for a wine that has more fruit and spice than Sauternes which is why the Maury works so well. The way the wine expresses itself helps to match the food as well because it starts off sweet and rich, to help cut through the goose liver, you then get all the fruit in the middle and finally the wine finishes with a touch of dryness. This dryness helps to counter any greasy or oily feeling that may be felt from the goose liver.

Fillet of turbot, citrus fregola, fennel & anise salad, lemon pureé, sauce Vierge

Charles Smith, Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Washington State. U.S.A
Charles Smith’s King Fu Girl Riesling works so well with the turbot dish because of the citrus harmony that happens between the wine and the food. The slight ripeness of the wine benefits the Turbot itself after which the acidity elevates it off the plate.

New season lamb, loin, shoulder & ribs with BBQ flavours, red peppers, sweet corn & new potatoes

Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Reserva, Spain
This Reserva is an excellent pairing with lamb as not only does the oak ageing allow the wine to blend in with the smoked characters of the dish and the barbeque sauce, but the wine follows three simple rules for making Lamb taste great. It has low tannin (nothing restricting in the wine), big fruit characters and a nice spicy finish.

Poached raspberries, white chocolate cheesecake, raspberry sorbet

Coteaux du Layon Chateau Pierre Bise, Lore Valley, France
This is such a great paring, as though the dish was made around the flavour of the wine. The sweet, honey styling brings both the flavour of the granola and white chocolate to their fullest while the creamy finish enhances the raspberry perfectly.


Take a look at our current wine list or for further information please call the restaurant on 0118 988 8500 or email wine@lortolan.com.

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Chardonnay at L'ortolanA phrase often heard from guests when asked if they would like any assistance in selecting a wine is “I’d like to have anything but Chardonnay”. This is so commonly heard in restaurants these days that there is now an unofficial industry term describing these guests as ABC drinkers. For a Sommelier this can be particularly amusing as this is often backed up with the question “Do you have a nice Chablis on offer?” –  Why does this make Sommeliers chuckle? The reason is that Chablis is made from Chardonnay.

When you enquire a little deeper, what you inevitably find is it’s not the Chardonnay grape variety that displeases the guest, but the amount and styling of Oak contained within the wine. This goes back to the late 80’s/early 90’s when Chardonnay was the wine in Vogue at the time. On its own Chardonnay can be a bit of a bland grape, but it is easily influenced which is why producers favour this grape over others, because they get to impart their own style and personality into their wine.

Some of the finest examples of Chardonnay are found in France. Here they get, in part, their rich and toasty character from the long and gentle aging given to then in French Oak barrels. Due to the expense of French Oak these barrels are frightfully expensive to make and maintain, therefore in an attempt to lower costs many producers began using a cheaper American style Oak and an alternative method for getting the oak in contact with the wine. This resulted in an overpowering, cloying and quite often boring style of wine which had its peak of popularity but has now fallen out of favour. Unfortunately this style of wine has sullied the good name of Chardonnay all over.

If you again take the example of Chablis it’s easy to see that this is nothing to do with the variety and everything to do with the production method. Chardonnay remains one of the most widely-planted grape varieties, with over 400,000 acres worldwide, ranging from the most sublime, flinty and steely wines through to those that have a warm, toasted brioche base topped with ripe but tart pineapple.

Craig Steven, Sommelier

Join us at L’Ortolan to experience a selection of our Chardonnay Wines.

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Even after dedicating the last 15 years to exploring flavors and food and drink combinations L’Ortolan Sommelier Stephen Nisbett was surprised at the accidental pairing he made whilst hosting a dinner party:

“Last week, I had some friends round for dinner.  I stocked up on ingredients for chocolate brownie cake, planned to make my own chips, and finally purchased some steak and some bottles of McEwans Champion beer to help wash it down.

However, half way through my dinner party, it became clear to me that the combination of steak and beer wasn’t really working.  The strong dark Scottish beer was being drunk painfully slowly – particularly as I had expected everyone to have a couple of bottles!

The McEwans Champion was quite fruity and earthy but really dry and clean on finish, but something about the flavors just didn’t fit with my steak and chips.

As I dished up the gooey chocolate dessert I resigned myself to having made a disappointing pairing for the meal.  Expecting the beer to clash with the brownie, I begrudgingly took a mouthful to quench my thirst – and was amazed by the resulting taste.

Whilst I had intended the McEwans Champion to go with the steak, as I continued to taste the beer I realized that the fruity, spicy and earthy notes of the beer went perfectly with the shared characters in the good chocolate I’d used to make my pudding.

I’m always delighted to discover unexpected pairings – and in this instance, my dinner guests were too!”

Stephen and his team are always on hand at L’Ortolan to make pairing suggestions for your meal.  Or why not try our Take Wine Home service – ask the restaurant for more details.

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