In this fourth installment of our Sommelier Spotlight series, I speak with Nordic Sommelier Champion, multiple Norwegian Sommelier Champion, and Head sommelier of Happolati restaurant in Oslo, Simon Zimmermann.
Photo: Simon Zimmermann
What are the biggest challenges and how can producers/importers/consumers support you better considering these issues?
Simon: I had some issues with having too much wine in stock since Norway closed down the first week of November in 2020 when my cellar was filled up for the Christmas season. We only opened again six months later with a cellar full of wine for the winter season and that type of food. Thankfully, we received a lot of support from visiting customers and importers and some virtual wine tastings with producers.
When you think of European cool climate regions like Alto Adige, Austria, and Germany, what would you be interested in tasting & learning more from/about?
Simon: As my list has a big focus on wines of Austria and Germany, I am constantly in touch with these regions. But Alto Adige is a region I would like to learn more about as wines from this region are starting to come more and more into Norway.
Where do you see advantages for these regions in Norway?
Simon: Germany has a huge market in Norway where the white and red wines are poured all over the country since we have a lot of mussels, shellfish, and fish that pair very well with these types of wines. They also sell more easily since people know them. Austrian wines are also becoming more popular and are also starting to be widely used as they pair very well with Norwegian cuisine too. Alto Adige still has a small proportion in the restaurants, but they also have the potential to grow and be used in the same way as German and Austrian wines.
What are you excited to pour in your guests' glasses this year?
Simon: It's hard to say, I basically pour what I think is fun and exciting and pairs well with the food, and that could be anything from old school classics to natural peals of wine.
Thank you Simon for your insightful interview. Next up is Head Sommelier Beatrice Bessi from the Chiltern Firehouse in London.