Caitlyn is the Head Sommelier at one of Sydney's hottest restaurants, Fred's. She has won a swag of awards, most notably being awarded 'Sommelier of the Year' by Australian Gourmet Traveller. She is informed, innovative and personable, and sits at the forefront of the new wave of intelligent and charming sommeliers wowing guests on restaurant floors.
Describe your wine list in a few short sentences.
I guess it is 'produce driven' in a similar way to our cuisine at Fred's - which doesn't subscribe to a particular region or theme, although there is undeniably a lot coming from France, if we find something we that we like, it doesn't matter whether it is Burgundian or from Burgenland. We like to support growers that do the right thing by the environment and we also acknowledge some iconic producers from around the world.
What do you love most about being a sommelier?
When you have a good night in the restaurant; when the guests are really engaged in what we're doing and you get to connect with many people over something you're passionate about it really doesn't feel like work, it feels like you're hosting your own dinner party!
What is your favourite wine you’ve ever drunk?
I honestly don't have a favourite bottle, but at the risk of sounding like every other sommelier in Sydney, I really do love Jean-Francois Ganevat's wines, the 'Cuvee Florine' (a Chardonnay from the Jura in the east of France) would have to be up there as one of my favourite bottles.
What’s the most exciting wine region in Australia right now and why?
Tasmania, I have tasted a lot of great stuff coming out of Tassie from some young producers in the last 18 months, I'm really excited to see where they are going to go.
Any funny stories from service involving wine?
None that I can disclose for fear of litigation!
What’s your wine glass of choice?
Zalto, however I'd probably only use them in a restaurant if I did 50 or less covers a night, otherwise, Riedel.
How can I get the best out of my sommelier in a restaurant?
If you know what you want to drink but don't know the name of the variety or producer, describe it using words like crisp/sweet/dry/oaked/light/full bodied/ lots of tannins/little tannins, the more you give us the better chance we'll find what you're looking for.
If you're open to being taken on a journey with your somm you could start the conversation by asking for a bottle to pair with your meal and they'll take it from there.
Have a go at our fun palate profile quiz here and we’ll recommend three bottles that we think you'll love according to your results!