Alex Freguin: Top UK sommelier tells us not to panic about wine pairing

If you’ve ever worried that you might be matching the wrong wine with the wrong food, or you’re scared you’ll mess up on your wine pairing knowledge when the in-laws visit, then do not fret. Alex Freguin says so.

I met sommelier Alex Freguin and apparently it’s all right to go with the flow and just enjoy what you want to enjoy.

My work is a passion, says sommelier Alex Freguin

I know this from an exclusive chat with Alex who came out tops in a competition which saw finalists test their skills at the Savoy in London.

French-born Alex, 29, who is now the 2018 Champagne Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year, works at Michelin-starred Moor Hall in Lancashire and came through the regional heats before winning the top prize.

Alex beat Tamas Czinki, head sommelier at Northcote in Lancashire, and Pierre Brunelli, the beverage and wine manager at L’Enclume in Cartmel, into second and third respectively in a close fought final at the Savoy hotel. The competition is organised by The Caterer and sponsored by Champagne Taittinger.

As part of the competition the finalists had to identify errors on a wine list,  blind taste wines and spirits, serve tables of former winners in a restaurant role play situation, and finally pour a magnum of Champagne Taittinger into 20 glasses.

When he won, Alex said: “I’m loving work every day at Moor Hall on the floor. It’s a passion and I’ve worked hard for this and I’m just so pleased it’s happened for me today.”

Alex Freguin, Taittinger UK sommelier of the Year
If you’re happy, drink it, says the top sommelier

I went to Moor Hall to meet Alex and asked if he could put your minds at rest around food and wine pairings. He was happy to oblige.

He told me: “Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. That is very, very important.

“If you like red wine with fish it doesn’t mean you are wrong; if you like rosé with duck it doesn’t mean you are wrong.

“If you are happy to drink it, and you know you’re going to enjoy it with your food, then that is going to be the best pairing in the world.”

He said: “Rest easy, put wine in context. It is there to enjoy with friends and family. We are so lucky to bond and share special moments over food and wine. Don’t worry about choosing one wine over another – it is your choice. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Alex Freguin  sommelier Moor Hall
Alex Freguin
You’d be surprised what  Alex Freguin thinks of turnips

Before you start thinking that Alex’s top food favourite must be something posh like lobster, you’d be wrong. He is full of praise for our vegetables and in particular the very humble turnip. Who’d have thought.

He told me: “The turnip is incredible. It is very complex, with bitterness, sweetness, acidity and texture. It can pair with anything, from sherry to white wines, from rosé wines to Japanese sake. It is incredible, especially with crab.”

There you go. You now know what to serve the in-laws.


First published in over 30 regional newspapers including:


Hull Daily Mail – Leicester Mercury – Cambridge News – Liverpool Echo South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner
– The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Gazette 
Birmingham Mail – Coventry Telegraph  – Paisley Daily Express