Alexis Meszoly, head sommelier at London's Skylon on wonderful wines and a stunning location

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Alexis Meszoly is sommelier at top London restaurant Skylon. An elegant and formal dining area, along with a top quality wine and cocktail list in their bar with breathtaking views, combined with beautifully created dishes makes this one of the spots to stop in London.
Alexis comes from Chantilly near Paris. After moving to London. his first job was at Pont de la Tour as a waiter which sparked his ‘surprising’ interest in wine. This passion grew, and after another 6 months in Paris, Alex gained his position back in London as assistant head sommelier at D&D’s Bluebird.
This led on to his promotion to head sommelier at Quaglino’s and then in 2011 at Skylon.

What sparked your interest in wine?image frm whosjack.org
Probably my passion for history and geography from when I was younger.
To understand the reason of how and why this particular wine tastes a certain way is due to the terroir history or simply from the winemaker experience.

How did you get to working in the position you are in today?
I owe a lot to different people that I’ve met since the beginning of my interest in wine. The most important would have been Olivier Gasselin, my previous head sommelier which inspired me. I worked with him for 3 years starting as his commis and ending up his assistant.

What’s your favourite aspect about the job that you do?
Bringing curiosity to my guests. There is nothing better than to make a guest change his view on a certain style of wine by making him try something exceptional.

Skylon is a modern and stylish restaurant in a stunning location, overlooking the Thames – what are the best aspects of working here?
The team is probably what makes Skylon so special. Professional without forgetting to be friendly, those are the main aspect of the team.
The view obviously is spectacular – some nights, just when the sun is about to hide itself behind the building across the river, we will open the blinds and a massive ‘Wouahhh’ will spread through Skylon.

What is your favourite food and wine match from the menu?
Probably the Nuits St Georges VV Domaine Rion 2006 with Chicken Ballotine and wild mushroom.
Both have the same first character - an ‘October in the forest ‘, the truffuly nose of the Nuits St Georges combined with the smoky after taste typical of the Rion are stunning with this dish.

How many wines do you taste in a day?
Depending on the day but I would say around 5.

What do you look for in a wine?
Identity, every wine should have a personal touch.

What should the average wine drinker look for when buying a wine?
I think the decanter awards are quite fair, with this sort of indicator you can found some very decent wines for a decent price.

Do you think the world of social media has affected the world of wine and how people can communicate about wine? Online tastings for example.
Absolutely, the world of wine has become so important these days. Twitter, Facebook and other social media have changed the way to also promote wine - by showcasing the Sommeliers work and the wine list, and using it as a tool of communication for the restaurant.

Which regions in your opinion produce some of the best wines?
Probably Burgundy, which has been very respectful of it’s terroir. The pinot is a difficult grape to grow and asks for a lot of attention at all times.

Where do you purchase wine for yourself at home?
For most of them from Waitrose, Majestic or Bluebird Wineshop in Chelsea.

What advice do you have for the average and unpretentious wine lover?
Those days you can found some fantastic value wine under £10. Don’t go for the famous appellation with a small price, as you will most of the time end up with an average bottle.