An Interview with Zoltan Szabo
of Savour, Toronto, Canada
780 Eglington Ave. West, Suite 508
Toronto ON M5N 1E9
By Jim Clarke
Jim Clarke: How did you first develop an interest
Zoltan Szabo: Just by watching my parents as
a child, making wine, tasting the must and smiling at each other.
JC: What drew you to wine service specifically,
as opposed to winemaking or importing?
ZS: People – the way I was able to recommend
a wine to a client face-to-face, the interaction and the satisfaction
of people appreciating the suggested wine.
JC: What brought you to Canada, and how
did you first get involved with the restaurant scene in Canada?
ZS: Opportunity and curiosity. I just continued
my passion towards wine and ended up working in restaurants.
JC: What are your priorities when designing
a wine list?
ZS: Consumer trends, compatibility with menu
items, the profile, category, and clientele of restaurant, demographic,
JC: What wines do you like to include on
a list for versatility, so that a table with a number of diverse
dishes can find a single bottle of wine that does justice to their
ZS: Fairly soft and round wines, if white not
high in acid, perhaps with a little residual sugar: indigenous
Italian, New World Sauvignon Blanc, Niagara Riesling, Argentinean
Torrontés, Romanian Tamaioasa.
If red, not too acidic nor tannic, older vintage, not too heavy,
neither serious, Merlot, Shiraz, lighter Cabernets, New World
Pinot Noir, Gamay, Southern Italian reds, Zweigelt, Baco Noir,
Marechal Foch from Niagara.
JC: Why did you move out of restaurants
and into private dining and wine education and consulting?
ZS: This way I’m able to share my experiences
with restaurant staff & aficionados alike.
JC: You recently competed in the Best in
Ontario Sommelier Championship; what do you think is the value
of sommelier competitions?
ZS: The competition was an awesome learning
experience and it helped to raise the bar when it comes to service
expertise. It is also a great way to showcase and give exposure
to passionate sommeliers, allowing them to more easily spread
the word about the wonderful world of wine.