Run by world renowned chef Rene Red Redzepi, Noma is often recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world, boasting two Michelin stars. Combining the words “nordisk” and “mad”, Noma has proudly placed Denmark on the world’s gastronomic map. Mads Kleppe, the sommelier at Noma, tells us about the latest trends in Copenhagen, where his love of fine wine originated from and the secret to his success.
Congratulations on being featured in the World of Fine Wine Awards 2015. The awards, chaired by WOFW editor Neil Beckett, celebrate the importance of a good wine selection and are evaluated by a panel of senior judges. How does it feel to be recognized by industry insiders in this way?
Thank you very much. It is nice to see that there is interest in highlighting different styles of wine lists.
Where did your love of fine wine originate from?
My passion for wine was sparked when in my late teens I had a glass of mature traditional red Rioja. I have had a chance to taste it again in later years, but want to keep the memory as it was.
Was it always your intention to work with fine wine?
I was very fascinated by the world of wine already in my teens, and started on my sommelier education at age 19, when I finished my training at the Norwegian culinary institute. I felt a strong need to learn and taste more.
What is the secret to your success?
At Noma, we are constantly searching for new discoveries and we always keep an open mind. I think this is one of the keys to our success alongside our extremely dedicated staff.
What trends are you seeing in Copenhagen at the moment?
There is still a very strong movement towards working with small-scale farmers who work with organic or after biodynamic principles. It is also great to see so many of my Copenhagen colleagues when I am out travelling. I think it is so important to have a good connection with the farrmers and winemakers.
Are there any particular wines that you love, or remind you of a certain place or memory?
A couple of years ago, I got to spend a few hours with one of the farmers that has inspired me the most, Pierre Overnoy from Pupulin in Jura. He served us a 1970 Ploussard that was incredible and showed me what is possible with the right farming and experience.
What is next for you?
I will continue my work at Noma as I still have so many ideas on developing our beverage program, and to travel to keep our strong bonds with all our friends who makes wine for us.
What makes your wine list special?
We have probably quite a different wine list than most others featured in this publication. I am very proud that we have a big selection of wine from great growers in lesser-known areas of Europe. For me it is important to have a dynamic wine list that is always moving
What is your fundamental philosophy on fine wine?
Will have to pass this one as it is something that would take some more time and space to explain.