Top UK young sommeliers: part 7

Our latest profile features the winner of this year’s Moët UK Young Sommelier of the Year award; an individual who is equally adept at serving Bill Clinton or an over-enthusiastic hen party.

Stephen Raducki of Hotel du Vin Winchester

Stephen Raducki, 27, from Hotel du Vin Winchester

Was there a particular wine or wine “epiphany” which made you choose this career?

My epiphany happened in 2001 while working as a commis sommelier at La Tour d’Argent in Paris. I opened a half bottle of Silex 1998 by Didier Dagueneau. Taking a sip, I was rewarded with an opera of flavour. At that moment I knew I wanted to be a sommelier.

Are there any parts of your current list that you’re particularly proud of?

I’m particularly proud of my Bordeaux list at the moment. I have a varied selection from the petits châteaux, such as Château Lassegue Grand Cru from St Emilion, along with bigger names like Château Beychevelle 1996.

Which wine styles or regions are exciting you at the moment and why?

Some of the most exciting wines I’m trying at the moment are from the Languedoc-Roussillon, such as Domaine le Soula, Le Clos Perdus, Domaine Alain Chabanon, Mas Julien, Sieur D’Arques, Domaine de L’Oustal Blanc, Château de la Negly, Domaine de la Terrasse D’Elise and Mas Daumas Gassac – these are the wines that are fuelling my enthusiasm for my current list.

What’s the key to being a successful sommelier?

Commitment to and passion for the wine industry. The ever-changing nature of the wine world keeps me eager to learn and expand my knowledge. I also like to have fun with my job and open the minds of my guests and staff members.

Are there any wine-related ambitions you would still like to achieve?

I’d love to become a Master Sommelier one day.

What do you drink on your days off?

I like to take a detour from wine when I’m not working. Poire by Eric Bordelet is possibly the best pear cider on earth, and you can’t go wrong with a Jack Daniel’s and Coke.

What made you decide to come to the UK to pursue your sommelier career?

Initially, my desire to come to the UK was to improve my English skills. This is very important not only for my career, but also my own personal development.

What is the one wine you are desperate to try before you die?

Château Mouton Rothschild 1982.

Who is the most famous person you’ve served and what did you serve them?

During my time at La Tour d’Argent in Paris I once served Bill Clinton. I wish I could remember what I served him but I’d be lying if I told you, as I got so starstruck and lost in the moment.

What’s the oddest request you’ve ever received from a customer?

I was serving a gregarious group of women on a hen night. Towards the end of the evening they asked for the wine list for a second time. Handing it to them, I asked them what they’d like to order. “We want you. We’ll pay £100 per hour,” they chimed.

The full collection of sommelier profiles appeared in the drinks business October on-trade report, Eat.Drink, or you can click the options below to see who we’ve profiled so far:

Adam Pawlowski

Arnaud Bardary

Erika Laler

Romain Bourger

Mirko Benzo

Kathrine Larsen 


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