Meet your somm: Dorianne Neimard
Paris-born Dorianne arrived in the UK, specifically to Berkshire, in early 2015, where she trained and worked at the Vineyard Hotel at Stockcross for more than two years. She then moved to London and decided to focus on New World wines, first working for the one-star Michelin restaurant Glasshouse, followed by a great experience at Covent Garden wine bar Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels.
She was then recruited by Xavier Rousset and Gearoid Devaney, both Master Sommeliers, to work for their famous Burgundian restaurant Cabotte (1000 bins).
After a year of opening Burgundy’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it was time to challenge herself and so Dorianne started studying for the Advanced examination of the Court of Master Sommeliers. Today you can find her at New Street Wine Shop, owned by D&D Group, where she manages the wine lists for three establishments and is currently providing staff training for the teams around the group during the lockdown via Zoom conference.
What’s your favourite wine region in the world and why?
I love Rhône Valley, the Syrah from Côte-Rôtie AOC is, in my opinion, the best Syrah in the world – the terroir and history are unique. Pierre Jean Villa is one of my favourite winemakers as is the famous Yves Gangloff. I will always remember my first visit to their winery and the warm welcome i received. I also love southern Rhône for their beautiful Grenache, I love the ripeness but also the quality of the fruit that it gives. My favourite wine is actually a Côtes du Rhône AOC, but not a random one, Château des Tours nonetheless made by Emmanuel Reynaud from Château Rayas. A great value baby Château Rayas.
What is your go-to beverage aside from wine?
I enjoy a refreshing beer such as Neck Oil Session IPA from Beavertown Brewery.
Which wine changed your life?
Les Ongles from Stephane Bernaudeau. This wine changed me completely from one day to another and I realised the importance of biodynamics in my job.
It’s a fantastic Chenin Blanc from schist terroir in Anjou, Loire Valley. Very small production, as the plot is just 2 hectares. Stephane Bernaudeau trained with the famous Mark Angeli, a biodynamic winemaking pioneer, for many years before he started making his own wines. I would describe his wine as pure and powerful. It also reminds me a little bit of Richard Leroy.
How would you define your current wine list?
My list is always dominated by the Old World and is very focused on iconic producers, but I do love to balance the classics with a long selection of small estates and underrated appellations.
Which wines excite you most?
I’m always excited about wines from Italy and Spain, from old grapes such as Pelaverga [red] grown in Piedmont to new and upcoming regions such as Tenerife that are making top Listán Blanco and Tintilla.
What do you love most about your job?
I love talking to my guests and making them feel at home. You can have the best wine list and the best food but without great hospitality, you aren’t complete.
What’s your favourite wine resource and author?
Guildsomm and Decanter magazine are my main resources, while my favourite book is Inside Burgundy by Jasper Morris.
What’s your philosophy on matching wine and food?
I do believe in wine pairing, but I’ve gotten into a bad habit of choosing the wine before the food. But, I do love Pinot Noir and meaty fish…
If you could work with any chef, who would it be and why?
I would love to work for El Celler de Can Roca. because in my opinion they have the perfect example of a union between the wine and the food. They have proven that wine forms part of the gastronomic journey, plus I’ve always been impressed by family-run businesses.
What’s the best thing or ultimate career success that ever happened to you?
My biggest achievement is very recent – I just passed the Advanced level of the Court of Master Sommelier. [Editor’s note: congratulations, Dorianne!]
Moving forward, what do you hope to accomplish?
I just wish to still be enjoying my job in 10 or 15 years the same way as I do now and would love to open my own restaurant-wine bar and be working directly with the winemakers.
Check out last week’s Meet Your Somm interview with Andrés Conde Laya of La Cigaleña (in Spanish).