At the 2019 FOOD AND WINE Awards in association with Rémy Martin, Cathryn Steunenberg was awarded the title of Best Sommelier in Ireland, sponsored by O'Briens Wines.
Cathryn Steunenberg, sommelier at newly-opened Aimsir restaurant at Cliff at Lyons, has created a unique and delicious wine list. Available as an á la carte selection or as a multi-course pairing, these wines are some of the most exciting in the country right now, with rare wines from around the world on offer.
As well as selecting the wines, along with co-owner Majken Bech-Bailey, Cathryn presents the various wines to diners at the table, explaining the selections, flavours and answering any and all questions guests may have. A burst of bright energy in the restaurant, Cathryn makes wine tasting an extremely enjoyable affair, as well as truly heightening the top-class experience guests enjoy while at the restaurant. Aimsir opened to massive approval earlier this year, so it's no mean feat for Cathryn to top the list of sommeliers in Ireland within such a short timeframe.
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This lady @cathrynsteunenberg took the prize for Sommelier of the year 🥰❤️ I’m so proud to call her my partner in crime and see how her passion of wine gets transformed to our guest 🙏🏻 This is so well deserved and can’t wait to see how she will transform 🙏🏻❤️ we are overwhelmed with all the support we got over the last 3 month thanks to everybody and a special thanks to our little team and my lovely husband @baileychef to make this possible for all of us ❤️@aimsir_restaurant #sommelieroftheyear #restaurant #ireland
As well as being awarded this coveted title, Cathryn has won an absolutely gorgeous trip to the South of France, thanks to O'Briens Wines and Gérard Bertrand. O’Briens Wines provided the beautiful selection of premium wines served to the guests during dinner and throughout the ceremony at the 2019 FOOD AND WINE Awards, including the ever-popular Picpoul de Pinet 2018, and the Château La Sauvageonne, Cuvée Pica Broca 2014, a red with aromas of black fruits and subtle hints of gingerbread.
Thanks to O'Briens Wines, Cathryn and a guest will travel to the Gérard Bertrand Winery in Languedoc this December during the Pruning and Truffle Festival. During this event, wine lovers and professionals will have the opportunity to participate in the pruning of their vineyards, hunt truffles and taste exceptional wines with the accompaniment of dishes inspired by truffles. This festival will take place in Château L’Hospitalet, in the midst of an enchanting terroir located between the ancient Roman city of Narbonne and the Mediterranean Sea.
As well as taking part in the festival, Cathryn and her guest will spend two days soaking up all the Château has to offer from breath-taking vineyard views, beautiful wines and exquisite food created from the best of local produce - a fantastic occasion to enjoy the French “Art de Vivre". Cathryn will also go home with a bottle of the Clos du Temple rosé, the most prestigious rosé in the world produced by Gérard Bertrand - lucky her!
Speaking about sponsoring this award and awarding Cathryn this amazing prize, Anthony Keane, Trade and Business Manager for O'Brien's Wines said how happy the O'Brien's team were, "O Brien’s Wines were delighted to sponsor the wines for this fantastic event which celebrates the crème de la crème of the food and wine world in Ireland, both north and south of the border. We as a company have been selling wine for a very long time to the good people of Ireland through our many retail stores. In the last 4 years, we have developed a bespoke on-trade side of the wine company, servicing the hotels and restaurants of Ireland. It has been a very exciting time for us and this event was our first official sponsorship of any event in Ireland. We were delighted for Cathryn to pick up the overall prize of Sommelier of the Year as she has such a natural passion for all things wine. I am sure she will have a great time in the South of France with our wine partners Gerard Bertrand."
As well as creating one of the country's most innovative wine lists at newly-opened @Aimsir_Rest Cathryn is welcoming & warm to each guest that walks through the door. Congratulations to the winner of the @OBriensWine @GBvins Sommelier of the Year award @C_Steunenberg #FWAwards19 pic.twitter.com/ilVQHoGX9f— FOOD AND WINE Ireland (@foodandwineIE) August 25, 2019
To find out what this award means to Cathryn, we caught up with her after the awards.
How did it feel to win the award for Best Sommelier in Ireland?
"Amazing, I'm delighted and I was so shocked. It’s lovely and very encouraging to win. I’ve had a really great reaction from industry and our customers, so it’s been a really warming experience.
When the video came on to show the prize from O'Briens, I thought it looked lovely but I said to myself don't get your hopes up, so I was very surprised to win! I can't wait to get the prize sorted and it's very exciting to know I'll get to try that exclusive bottle of rosé.
I really enjoyed the day too, the food was so lovely and there was a lot of love in the room. Every time someone won an award, everyone applauded and congratulated them, it was very connecting."
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
"We have realised our strength is in the pairing wines, which is what most people go for so we've enjoyed exploring off-piste, different and unusual wines in the pairing, so we want to step that up and see how far out of the box we can go. I’ve really enjoyed exploring new things, Majken and Jordan have been so supportive.
Finding the right wine might take several attempts, but we have discovered some gems. I want to focus on that over next year and look for rarer, more unusual wines that we think are exciting. Our list is quite limited so we always knew it would be dynamic and I could change with the seasons, so I'm always working on our offerings. I want to push the boundaries and I'm putting feelers out for things that are not available in Ireland just yet. I want to keep looking for special, unusual wines that speak for themselves."
To book a table in Aimsir, click here.