Belgium Sommelier, Luk de Rooze, on where it all started...

Published: 28/02/2017
Author: Anja Bekker, Head of Marketing & Distribution
  • dtn-3

Belgium Sommelier, Luk de Rooze, on where it all started...

Published: 28/02/2017
Author: Anja Bekker, Head of Marketing & Distribution

During his most recent trip to South Africa, we were fortunate enough meet with Luk de Rooze, the youngest sommelier to ever be bestowed the honorary title as 'Belgium's Best Sommelier', at De Toren. In this interview, he shares his passion for fine wine, especially South African wine, with us.


Luk, we would love to hear a bit more about you and your life in Belgium?

I have a wine distribution company in Belgium named Uncorked and a wine bar and shop named Blend, in the historical city centre of Bruges. Before I started these companies, I worked as Head-Sommelier in a 3-star Michelin restaurant named, De Karmeliet, and a 2-star Michelin Restaurant named, Horseele.

 

The year 2002 marks a fantastic milestone in your career, the year you were awarded the prestigious title as 'Belgium's Best Sommelier'. Tell us a bit more about this journey of yours into the world of wine?

I was the youngest sommelier ever to win the contest. I studied every day whilst working 15 hours a day in the restaurant. I went to every tasting and visited as much wineries as I possibly could. When I look back now, winning the title gave me confidence, but most of all motivation to continue and the humility that I only knew a fraction about wine.

 

As you mentioned, today you are one of the founding partners of Uncorked, an importer of the greatest selection of fine wines from around the world. What was the vision behind it, why did you and your partners start this company?
    When we started Uncorked we wanted to bring wines to the sommeliers of high end restaurants that we thought they would like. In fact the type of wine we as sommeliers ourselves were looking for. For us that meant wines that meet the following 3 criterias:
  • the wines need to stand for something, for example a typical grape variety, a specific region, a special vinification...
  • the value needs to be great
  • and last but not least; you have to be able to drink a bottle easily between 2 people
We hate concentrated wines, but we love flavour intensity.

 

You travel quite regularly and must have seen some remarkable places. Which country is on your list to visit again in the near future?

South-Africa!!!
I was in South Africa in 2002 and now again in 2017. I have the feeling that a lot has changed. In 2002 there were a handful of top wines and it was relatively easy to get an overview of South African wines. Now in 2017, I realize that I have discovered a lot of top wines on my trip, but that there are still many more to discover. The most remarkable thing I take home with me is that every winemaker I met does not take anything for granted and keeps questioning everything in order to make a better wine each vintage.

 

We would love for you to share some of your favourite restaurants from around the world, with great wine lists of course...

One of my favourites is La Ciau del Tornavento in Piemonte. They have a cellar of over 60 000 bottles and Piemonte is one of my favourite wine regions. In my hometown my favourite is Bruut -incredible food with a small but balanced wine list.

 

When you dine out, what do you look for on a wine list in a restaurant?

I look for diversity in regions, grape varieties, prices and vintages. That last one is rare to find. Not many restaurants invest in great cellars anymore, often for financial reasons.
A restaurant with a diversity of vintages on the list - that is my favourite.

 

How did you come to know of the De Toren wines?

A friend of mine gave it to me in a blind tasting. Always the best way to discover new wines.

 

Do you have a personal favourite within the De Toren wine range and if so, why that specific wine?

That would be the De Toren Fusion V. What attracts me in the De Toren Fusion V is the combination of body, complexity and finesse.

 

What is the perfect meal to pair with this wine and why do you think it works so well?

For a young vintage, I would choose a duck breast because of the juiciness, combined with a crme of carrots to match the fruit flavours, some wild mushrooms to match the complexity and the body of the wine

When a wine is aged on new barrels you always need something crispy on your plate for example chips of salsify.

For an older vintage I would prefer game.

 

What are the things that one should consider when selecting a wine?

There are many reasons that can be of influence, for example: food or no food to go with it, the type of food, the time of day, the weather, the people you drink it with...
But always make sure to serve the wine at the right temperature and in a nice glass.

 

In your opinion, are the considerations any different when selecting a South African wine?

No, there is no difference. South Africa has a wide range of wines. For every moment or meal there is a range of South African wines that comes to mind.

 

We are honoured that De Toren was on your list to visit on your recent trip to South Africa, we truly hope you enjoyed the tasting...

I enjoyed every moment of the visit, and this is why - everything you see, hear and taste at De Toren is quality driven, brought in a personal way, with passion in combination with knowledge.

Luk, we wish you all the best with your future undertakings and we look forward to your next visit!

De Toren's 20th Chapter...

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We chat to Lukas Wiegman, a top Dutch sommelier, who is very familiar with De Toren, especially after having spent the recent 2019 harvest with us on the estate, as part of our annual harvest team. The former sommelier of FG Restaurant, a Michelin two-star restaurant situated in Rotterdam, tells...

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As we near the mid of the year, one tends to look back and recapitulate the past 6 months. Looking back now, we could not have asked for a better way to end off the first two quarters of 2019! In addition to the spectacular news received about our recent partaking in the first ever 2019...

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The 26 th of March marked the official conclusion of our 2019 harvest here at De Toren Private Cellar. This season once again presented a fantastic opportunity to observe just how adaptable our vines are and what a wonderful thing nature truly is. The 2019 vintage will without a doubt, be...

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Winemaker Charles on the 2019 Vintage...

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The story of the 2019 vintage commenced much earlier than one would expect. To be precise, it started merely one month after the 2018 vintage found itself snug in the cellar. The month of April 2018 brought some much needed rain and our soils soaked up every inch of this life-giving...

The Release of a Spectacular Vintage...

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The renowned Book XVII was a logical evolution of De Toren's acclaimed Bordeaux blends, an expression of meticulous winemaking and extreme viticulture. This silky-smooth yet powerful blend, is often compared to the famed 'super-Tuscans' of the world. Previously hailed as South...

The Results of the 2019 Cape Wine Auction...

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On the very first two days of March 2019, both local and international wine enthusiasts, top businessmen, entrepreneurs and well-known socialites gathered to raise funds for a remarkably good cause. This elite gathering is better known as The Cape Wine Auction and is internationally...

2016 Vintage Awarded with Stellar Ratings...

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We could not have asked for a better way to kick-start 2019 than with some stellar reviews! Following the release of the 39th edition of the Platter's Wine Guide , we are thrilled to announce that our iconic De Toren Z and renowned De Toren Fusion V were most recently awarded with...

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One of South Africa's most exciting sommeliers, Taryn Nortjé, from the esteemed Pretoria-based, Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient Hotel, chats to us about all things wine. Well recognized as one of South Africa's top sommeliers today, Taryn shares her journey into the world of wine with us....

The Core of Our Winemaking Philosophy...

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Cultivating Quality in Everything We Do. An objective that has guided De Toren from the outset. From pioneering cellar techniques to redefining the boundaries of extreme viticulture, the wines of De Toren Private Cellar are marked by devotion to quality, and ensuring the truth of the vine is...

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Exclusive Interview with SA Master of Wine, Greg Sherwood...

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In this interview we chat to Greg Sherwood, eminent London-based South African Master of Wine and Senior Fine Wine Buyer for Handford Wines. Best known for his wealth of knowledge and experience in the industry, Greg shares more about himself, his journey and the beautiful world of wine....

De Toren Wines Available Around the World for Your enjoyment...

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In every quarterly newsletter we share with you the latest news from De Toren, the newest updates, as well as photos of restaurants and sommeliers around the world. So, by now you might know that De Toren is available around the globe, but the question is, where and how do you gain access to it...

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Inspired by the world-renowned wines of the famed 'Right Bank' of Bordeaux's Garonne River, the vision of De Toren Z originated, followed by the maiden vintage release in 2004. The exact same quality, precision and winemaking philosophy that De Toren is so well known for, would be used to...

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The year 2018 draws to a close, officially marking the finale of De Toren's second year of the required three-year organic conversion period. In light of this, we review another successful year of organic farming by answering a few of the frequently asked questions... Why the decision for De...

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From the outset De Toren's focus has been on the cultivars native to Bordeaux, but in 2008 the winemaking team faced a challenge: with no restrictions on viticulture, cellar practice or costs, and with the singular goal of quality, how would they craft the best wine in the world to help establish...

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In South Africa, the month of September is synonymous with Spring and everything this season symbolises, including new beginnings... And speaking of which, we are delighted to officially announce the brand new and striking new packaging of our famed De Toren Délicate! This...

No One Glass to Rule Them All...

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"We have not inherited the earth from our fathers. We have borrowed it from our children." -Lester R. Brown, American Environmental Analyst- Most recently, I came across this very striking quote which resonated quite strongly with me. To be honest, I could not have phrased it any better...

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De Toren's wine crafting roadmap is clear and precise. In addition to producing perfectly balanced & complex wines of only the highest quality, our number one objective will always remain the enjoyment of our wines by our valued clients. Our true north. Exclusive Craftsmanship is at the...

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Since the very first introduction of screw caps, the much debated cork vs cap subject has been one of much controversy in the wine industry and a hot topic amongst wine lovers too. Though both methods have its pros & cons (as needed for any good debate, otherwise there wouldn't be one in the...

The Official Release of the Opulent Book XVII 2016 Vintage...

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The exclusive Book XVII was born from a desire to craft the greatest wine in South Africa, and in order to do so, not a single one of the vast expenses or efforts could be spared. This philosophy and approach is what secured Book XVII 2015 the honourable title as Wine Enthusiast's...

The Final 2017 Vintage Blend Tasting Results are Announced...

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Exclusive Interview with Top Netherlands Sommelier, Ronald Opten...

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We chat to the Master Sommelier of the luxurious Amstel Hotel's La Rive Restaurant, well recognised as one of Netherland's top culinary experiences. Best known for his wealth of experience and regarded as a leading Maitre d'-Sommelier, Ronald shares his story with us... Before you relocated...

Winemaker Charles, Reminisces Over the Recent 2018 Harvest

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Monday, 9 April marks the official closing of the 2018 harvest here at De Toren Private Cellar. This season was once again a marvellous opportunity to observe how complex Mother Nature is in all her workings. In many senses the vintage challenged our understanding of how multifaceted the...

Exclusive Interview with Top SA Sommelier, Lloyd Jusa...

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In this interview, we chat to Lloyd Jusa, Head Sommelier of Johannesburg’s luxurious Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, well recognized as one of South Africa’s top hospitality and culinary experiences. Best known for his wealth of knowledge and regarded as one of SA’s leading...

The Superb 2018 Cape Wine Auction Lot Results...

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Wine aficionados, leading businessmen, distinguished entrepreneurs and well-known celebrities and socialites from around the globe gathered on Saturday, 10 February 2018 to raise funds for a good cause. The Cape Wine Auction is internationally regarded one of the most prestigious events on the...

SA's Highest Rated Wine & More Stellar Reviews...

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After the spectacular news at the end of last year, about our ‘New World Winery of the Year’ nomination by Wine Enthusiast , for the second time since 2011, we really didn’t think 2018 could top 2017… But boy, were we wrong! The year 2018 started off on an...

Official Release: The Reputable De Toren Z 2015 Vintage

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Finally it all comes together - the meticulous planning, the exceptionally hard work and the wonderful aromas of an exceptional vintage that ignites all the senses when filling the glass. We have eagerly awaited the reveal of this phenomenal, already award-winning wine , De Toren Z 2015 ....

Winemaker Charles's 2018 Vintage Update

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With recent years’ exceptional vintages behind us, we prepared ourselves for an interesting 2018 vintage. During the course of this season, I was so thankful for the way we do and have been doing things here at De Toren. Always thinking ahead, planning the necessary strategy to its finest...

New Year, New Beginnings...

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The year 2017 marks the very first year of De Toren Private Cellar’s three year organic conversion period. For a few years already, we have been hard at work behind the scenes, with immense amounts of research. All in preparation for the commencement of this new methodology to ensure a...

The Cape Wine Auction 2018 - A Lot of Leisure & Luxury

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It is almost time for the prestigious 2018 The Cape Wine Auction - an elite gathering regarded as one of the most extraordinary wine events internationally. De Toren Private Cellar has joined forces with the award-winning Tintswalo Hotel Group to offer an absolutely magnificent lot in aid of...

Stellar Reviews to Celebrate the Year-End

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With 2017 drawing to a close, we could not have asked for a better way to end off the year! In addition to the spectacular news about our recent ‘New World Winery of the Year’ nomination by Wine Enthusiast, our ultra-luxurious Book XVII as well as our iconic De Toren Z and De...

SA's Best Young Sommelier, Wikus Human

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In this interview, we chat to Wikus Human, the Head Sommelier of Marble Restaurant, situated in the heart of Johannesburg, well recognized as one of South Africa’s top restaurants. Best known for his recent achievement as winner of the South Africa’s Best young Sommelier’...

The Art of Decanting

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The season of festive celebrations, blissful parties, extravagant lunches and jovial dinners is upon us, and what better way to spoil yourself and your guests with the ultimate culinary feast and a beautiful array of wines, decanted of course… We know all too well that during the silly...

Winemaker Charles on De Toren's Drought Strategy

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The year 2017 marks the third consecutive winter that the Western Cape of South Africa has had below average rainfall. Even though De Toren, as a producer of top quality wines, uses significantly less water compared to more commercial wineries, the effect of this drought is long term and the only...

The 5th vintage release of The Black Lion Shiraz

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A wine born from the desire to create the most powerful, yet elegant Shiraz in South Africa. A wine inspired by the world’s finest, most extreme wine growing and winemaking techniques. Crafted from the ancient soils of Africa - that wine is The Black Lion Shiraz. The newly released...

Hot Off The Press

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This month we were honoured to receive superb news from the esteemed and highly reputable USA publisher, Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The craftsmanship invested in each and every step of our winemaking process has truly been rewarded by this most recent nomination. The editors of Wine Enthusiast...

The 2016 Vintage Blend Tasting Results Announced

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Months of meticulous crafting and duteous tweaking were invested in the potential 2016 vintage blends of the renowned De Toren Fusion V and De Toren Z Bordeaux-style wines. The concluding results of these blends, following three rounds of blend tastings, are finally announced…...

The De Toren collection through the eyes of our clients

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The philosophy of De Toren has always been to produce perfectly balanced and complex wines of the highest quality for our client’s sheer enjoyment. This article is a celebration of appreciation of our wine collection and we thought it well to share the thoughts of our valued clients, as...

Assistant Winemaker Martin, shares the importance of barrel work in the cellar

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To understand the method of ageing wine in barrels, it is important to comprehend the work and science that goes into the selection and preparation of wine barrels before they are filled with wine. This includes the crucial behind the scenes work that goes on in the cellar to make this all...

Exclusive interview with top Dutch sommelier, Koen van der Plas

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In this interview we chat to top Dutch sommelier, Koen van der Plas, better known as the head sommelier of Inter Scaldes, a two star Michelin restaurant in the Netherlands. In this article, Koen shares his passion for travelling, South African wines, exceptional food and wine pairings and his...

South Africa's 2015 vintage of magnitude

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It is beyond any doubt that South Africa yielded a particularly reputable 2015 harvest. The 2015 vintage hails one of the most sensational, if not the greatest vintages yet. A vintage with a reputation that precedes it, destined to deliver some of the most exceptional wines yet. The wines from...

Winemaker Charles, on the protection of our biggest asset

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At De Toren Private Cellar, we pride ourselves on meticulous attention to detail, every step of the way. In this article, Charles shares his approach to protecting the integrity of the vineyards to ensure its long-term sustainability, quality and style of wine. As producers of premium and...



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