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Nick Fildes - Sam's Wine Club Sommelier & Symposiarch

The sorcerer’s apprentice.

You might say that Nick was born into a life of wine.

His father, a bottle blond Egyptologist, Harlequin and bon viveur, gave him a childhood introduction to his own passions for history, travel and Italian football. As well as a love for fine Italian reds.

On drinking a 2005 bottle of Masi Costasera Amarone, he remembers thinking, ‘Aah, I get it now.’

Then he met George Bergier, who showed him a much bigger world. Other colours, other countries and other styles. Wines that make food sing. And vice versa.

The day after his 18th birthday, head throbbing with a Barolo hangover, Nick started his first shift at Sam’s Chop House. Under the watchful eye of George.

He has been studying wine ever since. On the job, in life and in the classroom. His Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level 3 qualification was achieved with Distinction and impressive scores – including 90% on the blind tasting.

That’s talent right there.

Nick has worked in famous wine bars, gastro pubs in the Northern Quarter and restaurants. He has imported wines directly from Tuscany. And he was the stand-out candidate to pair with George to create a wine club with a difference.

Nick is an expert at translating wine speak. We have all heard of tannins, acidity, ripeness, body, nose and palate. Wine jargon is wonderful, extensive and elaborate, a great thing to be “in the know” on. But to some the it can seem a little elusive, pompous and pretentious. This is where Nick shines. He’ll talk you through what we mean, he’ll give you comparisons, he’ll help you expand your vocabulary in a way which you can engage with. And this is why he is our Symposiarch. The approachable new generation of wine expert.

In ancient Greece “symposiums” were essentially parties where people got extremely drunk and discussed the matters of the day. The Symposiarch was the toastmaster, the host and the conversation starter. And this is exactly what Nick brings to the wine club and our Wine & Food Tasting Events.

Sam’s sommeliers share a passion for wine and food matching, for visiting wine growers and for learning more about their subject every day.

It’s a career and a lifestyle journey in one. Something they’re only too happy to share.

In bullet points

o Nick has tasted over 20 vintages of Lebanon’s incredible Chateau Musar. His dad, Al has drunk 32 now at the last count

o Nick’s favourite wine is Super Tuscan Sassicaia

o But the best wine he has ever tasted is a Henschke’s astonishing Hill of Grace from the Adelaide Hills

o His favourite pairing is merlot-heavy right bank Bordeaux and lamb – “huge flavours, not my favourite wine, but together… wow!”

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