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Rainer Müller is sommelier at restaurant Alps & Ocean. During his time here he has put together an extensive wine list with over 1100 excellent wines, mostly from Austria and France. Rainer's wine list was named one of the best 100 wine lists in the German-speaking world by the renowned magazine Meiningers Weinwelt because of his high standards. Rainer's expertise shows that it takes a true connoisseur to appreciate not only the major labels but also the smaller producers. We asked this skilled sommelier some questions to get to know him better, about his culinary career, his favourite wine, and much more.
Rainer, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
After my apprenticeship as a chef, I did an F&B training, as well as a university course to become a tourism clerk. Making a career out of my love for wine followed shortly after.
There are many different ways to become a sommelier, what type of educational path did you take?
As an autodidact, I have acquired my knowledge of wine over the years. The decisive factor for me and my career was the Vinitali at the beginning of the 90s. Over the years, my wine inventory has grown and become more exclusive.
What characterizes a good sommelier?
A good sommelier is someone who can assess or translate the taste of the guests well. He should be looking for wines that are not mainstream but still excellent, and give good and honest advice.
I like to work with winemakers who have a passion for wine and who pay attention to the soil.
Alps & Ocean
What are your personal rules for food and wine pairing?
They shouldn't be everyday, boring wines. The wine accompaniment, or even the alcohol-free accompaniment, must be exciting and should stimulate conversation. On many occasions, the subject of alcohol-free choices dominates the conversation at our restaurant.
What are some of the most special wines you have and how are they different from others?
We store many rare Burgundy wines. In general, the great depth of the year is important to me. We have soe wines from Maison Leroy and Comte Lafon, as well as Prieure Roch, and Romee Conte. We also have around 70 different Vigneron champagnes on our menu that are very special.
What are the qualities to look for when purchasing wine?
That they are owner-managed wineries with a suitable philosophy. I like to work with winemakers who have a passion for wine and who pay attention to the soil. I always look for quality, and for exclusivity.
What is the best wine you have tasted and what made it so great?
Generally speaking, I have a broad taste, but if you ask me that, my answer is Krug champagne. The most unusual and impressive wine I’ve tasted was a Chenin Blanc from Domaine Huet from 1903.
What’s one thing in the area that your guests absolutely need to see or do?
Our Tannheimertal area has been voted the most beautiful hiking region in Austria time and again. The special thing about our valley is the wide valley floor which offers many opportunities for sport, leisure and various other activities. I would also recommend visitors to visit the historic Neuschwanstein Castle, which is 25 minutes away by car. The castle is located in the neighboring Allgäu region in Bavaria and was built by King Ludwig, the last Bavarian king.
Thank you, Rainer.
Book your table at restaurant Alps & Ocean
Try sommelier Rainer Müller’s delicious Alpine food and wine pairings for yourself at hotel restaurant Alps & Ocean in Grän, Austria. You can make your lunch or dinner reservation through our website, for an unforgettable culinary event.