Sep 18, 2009
As you may know, I am the wine director and sommelier in a small restaurant in Bergen (Norway) called Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken (Kitchen). A restaurant which has been garnering a lot of attention lately by the locals as well as the media. We have some of the most talented (and awarded) chefs in Norway, definitely the most passionate.
I started at Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken in January of 2009 after a four year stint at Altona Vinbar where I managed a wine list of approximately 500 titles. Although Altona Vinbar was a fun place to work, and the wine list was very exciting, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted to manage a smaller, more dynamic and eclectic wine list and to work more closely with food and a kitchen that would inspire me. Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken fit that bill perfectly. The kitchen focuses on local food, specializing (in my opinion) on the preparation of amazing seafood dishes prepared with wild, local fish.
When in comes to the wine at Jacob’s Bar & Kjøkken, I like to keep my wine list at around 90 titles with a focus on organic, biodynamic and natural wines. I don’t have any titles from Bordeaux and I don’t have too many what I consider as “eye-candy” titles as I prefer smaller producers (farmers if you will) who do things by hand. Many titles may be unheard of by many, but represent not only my taste in wine, but what I believe to be exciting, new and work well with food.
I am often criticized by people for excluding areas like Bordeaux on my wine list. I am also often criticized when I tell people that I prefer to select titles that are organic, bio or natural wines for my list. I am told that by excluding wine from Bordeaux or focusing on organic, bio or natural that I am excluding many great wines. Actually, I feel that I am not excluding wines from my list, but rather I’m including wines on my list. Producers like Frank Cornelissen and Domain Le Mazel which are often excluded on wine lists, are included on mine. I include them with a smile on my face and in my heart. This being said, the number one reason why a wine shows up on my wine list is because it is well made and I like it. I will never sacrifice quality because it is simply organic.
My wine list is not yet perfect in my eyes. I am slowly improving my Champagne and white Burgundy selection. And, I will most likely continue to add German Rieslings.
Here it is. All prices in Norwegian Kroner: