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From Geology to Wineology

Sommelier David Brunton talks about his background in archaeology and geology and finding himself being trained as a sommelier...

I come from a background in archaeology and geology and found myself somehow being trained as a sommelier. As it happens, I have developed a real passion for all things grape and the fascinating world of wine.

I have always known there was something different about my taste buds and my interview for my current role came disguised as a 5 week training session on wine. While other people described the flavours as ‘wine’ I began separating flavours and visualising different scenarios according to different flavour profiles, and as time went on, with the help of some very good mentors, I pushed myself to not only taste and pair the wine but to engulf myself in books. I began with grapes and then moved on to the environments and terroir of where the wine was being produced. I would look at soil types and link it back to my geological roots. The raw nature of the grapes fascinated me and as a novice horticulturalist it would appear I have found my calling. This knowledge was exciting and I took it in as I naturally found it very interesting. 

The bigger picture of wine is enthralling from the race to bottle champagne to the volcanic or alluvial deposits that have supported the growth of the grape varietals. In my opinion one of its most exciting things around the subject, apart from tasting it, is the political history. Wars have been fought and power has been gained in the name of wine. These are the stories I enjoy relaying to my customers. By serving a glass of wine I am serving a piece of history. I recently visited Italy and ate grapes off the vine. Some of those vines date back over a hundred years and they have been looked after so that I can serve the wine they produce in The Orangery.

So why not pop in and try a tipple from the foothills of the Dolomites. I have the Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio (Vigneti delle Dolomiti) 2017. Full of floral aromas, a wonderful straw yellow colour with notes of pears, hints of smoke and a fantastic mouth feel. 

Alternatively, why not try Alois Lageder ‘Kraffuss’ Pinot Noir 2013. An excellent wine with red berry fruits, cherry and a subtle spice, with a touch of cinnamon persistently fresh with good tannins.

David Brunton.