Starting as a Waiter at a young age in 1973, our Sommelier John began training as a chef and soon got involved with wine service. It was from there that he was inspired to pursue his career as a Sommelier, “I wanted to learn more, so I bought a lot of books on the subject, which was not that easy as there weren’t that many books like there is today.” He learnt more in 1984 when he took a WSET course (Wine & Spirit Education Trust). He began working at Thornton Hall in December 2017.
Have things changed since you started?
“People now have a lot of choice. When I started it was only really wines from France, Germany and Italy, there were no New World wines easily available.”
What is the oldest wine you’ve tasted?
“It has to be a 1945 vintage Port from Warres which was really quite amazing, especially as I was only 22 years old at the time.”
What would you recommend with our 24oz Cote de Boeuf off the À La Carte menu?
“Pinot Noir wines are good with beef and Givry 1er Cru Clos Jus is a good example.”
What is your go-to dessert wine?
“Difficult to say as I love all dessert wines, but a favourite of mine is Coteaux du Layon from the Loire Valley. Full of peach and apricot flavours with a little almond made from Chenin blanc.”
What would you pair with our Mushroom Parfait dish?
“Pato Torrente Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile, it’s a lovely soft wine with blackcurrant fruit and goes well with the earthiness of the mushrooms.”
What wines would you recommend this time of year?
“Rosé wines are perfect Summer wines, especially dry rosé such as Cote de Provence. But any type of fizz, it’s not just for celebrations.”
Do you have a favourite type of wine? If so, why is this your favourite?
“Difficult to say as I’ve yet to come across a wine I don’t like, but a favourite is Cote de Brouilly a Cru Beaujolais, it’s a beautiful wine of red berry fruit, it’s very soft and easy to drink, slightly chilled on its own or with light meals.”
Find out more about the Lawns Restaurant at Thornton Hall and view its À La Carte and Tasting Menus at http://lawnsrestaurant.com