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Bram van Grinsven is sommelier and manager at restaurant Somm in Uden, the Netherlands. This fine-dining spot is located in the center of town and features both a restaurant and shop. Named after the word sommelier, this is a name on par with the in-house wine shop. Here, chef Werner Croymans conjures up delicious dishes that are paired by Bram. The wine list is carefully curated and includes wines with a personal and idiosyncratic character. We asked Bram some questions to get to know him better, about his career as a sommelier, and much more.
Bram, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
After my education at De Rooi Pannen in Tilburg I worked at several restaurants, both as a host and as a sommelier. In 2012, I won the 10th edition of the National Hennessy Hospitality Award. This is a competition where the practical and theoretical knowledge of 7 young hosts and hostesses was put to the test. After working in top restaurants like Old Sluis, Treeswijkhoeve, and Sillyfox, I opened restaurant Somm together with chef Werner Croymans. We know each other from restaurant De Treeswijkhoeve in Waalre, where I worked as a host. In the summer of 2016, Werner and I found inspiration in Valencia, Spain. It’s a city where several cultures come together, but its heart will always remain Spanish. This has been the foundation of restaurant Somm. Werner and I are both great proponents of pure cuisine: traditional cuisine, with a modern approach.
There are many different ways to become a sommelier, what type of educational path did you take?
It took lots of work experience for me to reach the level I am at today, in addition to the SWEN level 2 (Now SDEN level 3). As well as a professional gastronome sommelier course through Peter Klosse at the academy for gastronomy WSET level 3.
I’m a big fan of the Heymann-Lowenstein wines from Mosel
What characterizes a good sommelier?
In my opinion, a good sommelier is someone who can build up their own special wine list and who can advise their guests according to the wishes of that specific guest, but who still knows how to present something special.
What are your personal rules for food and wine pairing?
For me, a good wine pairing consists of a special dish and a wine that supports the dish but also certainly brings extra tension. For example, through a nice acidity or a fine fruit aroma.
What are some of the most special wines you have and how are they different from others?
My wine list consists of about 300 references in which we offer the winegrowers a stage. The wines are often selected after specific terroir expressions of a wine region, and whenever possible we also try to offer a diversity of vintages. For example, the wines of Mathias Hirtzberger from the Wachau, a new generation of winemakers that makes particularly powerful Gruner Veltliners and Rieslings. We have 4 different years of the Gruner Veltliner Spitaler on the menu.
What are the qualities to look for when purchasing wine?
For me, wine is special when it shows the terroir of the area but also has its own character in terms of taste intensity, refinement, or complexity.
What is the best wine you have tasted and what made it so great?
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Heymann-Lowenstein wines from Mosel. His Riesling wines are the textbook example of wines that have a terroir expression and where the philosophy of the winegrower can also be tasted in the glass. His wines always give me goosebumps.
Thank you, Bram.
Book your table at restaurant Somm
Are you ready for an amazing food-wine pairing at restaurant Somm in Uden? Have an amazing culinary experience with the help of chef Werner Croymans and sommelier Bram van Grinsven – make your dinner reservation through our website.