A SOMMELIER should be humble and knowledgeable, being a guide not a judge and always honest and sincere with a guest. A sommelier should always recommend the most suitable wines within the guest's budget for their meal, thus building trust with for next time they visit the restaurant.
Food and wine pairing is complex. Even a small detail can change the taste of the wine or the food, so it's crucial for the sommelier to work closely with the chef. Of course, there are classic pairings, such as red wine with red meat, and white wine with white meats, but sommeliers have to look into the texture and proteins contained.
You might have oily fish which requires wine with crispy fresh acidity so it can slice through it. On the other hand, the more texture the meat has, the higher in tannins the wine should be. Wine can be chosen to enhances more flavours on your palate, or simply balance it. I think it's up to a sommelier to help people embrace new and exciting wines, making them understand that the world of wine is so vast, just like in music.
Award-winning Restaurant Forty One is at Residence, 41 St Stephen's Green and is open to the public for lunch and dinner. www. restaurantfortyone.ie