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Our June Somm Select Bundle has been selected by sommelier Hristian Iliev. Here's a little about his background in the food and wine scene, written by Hristian: I guess by today’s standards, I am considered a veteran in the sommelier scene. I remember how I was always the youngest of the wine team, but things change:) I have been working as a sommelier for the past 17 years in Las Vegas. I opened the first Allan Ducasse restaurant in 2004 with over $2 million wine inventory and dove head-first into the immense and complex world of wine. Shop Our June Somm Select Bundle!
It became an obsession to relate every wine that I taste to the place where it comes from! I am a huge believer in terroir, and if I don’t find the connection between the soil, climate, latitude, people, and indigenous cultivars and the wine, my interest stops there! I believe every glass of wine should tell the story of where it comes from. With this obsession came my interest in studying the theory behind wine. I was humbled by the knowledge and the passion from everyone that I met from the Court of Master Sommelier, and in 2014 I passed the Advanced Certificate on the first try. Nowadays, I run the wine program at Carbone in Las Vegas. I built the wine list and I’ve been part of it since day one. As I appreciate wines from all over the world, the past six years have been dedicated to Italy – and once you get to experience the culture and dedication to telling their story though wine, it's hard not to become fascinated! Italy has 543 indigenous wine-making varieties! The diversity in microclimates is what makes the wine country so special.
I’ve been vegetarian since I was 16 years old. My biggest fear going into the restaurant industry was that I'd have to taste meat in order to be a great sommelier! I made a promise to myself to never break my beliefs in order to advance my career. Instead I put my energy into learning how wine and food plays together and understanding preparation, palate feel, and taste. I kept that promise and I am not afraid anymore. It is a very meat-driven industry; that’s why it's very important for me to be part of it, because the change had to come from within. I don’t mind being the only vegan at a wine dinner – it sparks a conversation, it brings questions, and it makes people around you think. Lots of things have changed in the past 17 years. It's not strange to be the vegan in the group anymore. More and more fine dining establishments are embracing plant-based ideas. And of course, bringing this direction into the wine world is very important as well.