The wine market is constantly changing, in terms of trends, fashion, tastes, said David Sanagustín, Beç Restaurant Manager

Photo: Manel Montoro

A perfectly balanced menu, combined with fusion cuisine, an outdoor terrace overlooking Andorra’s capital, tablecloths as white as snow… serving food is pure art. The wine list is nothing less than a library of the names of the best distributors. Beç restaurant administrator David Sanagustín is willing to give professional recommendations to help diners relax and enjoy both the flavours of the dishes and the organoleptic qualities of the chosen wine. “What would you like?” David asked me. I wanted a white wine with a fruity flavour and I got a gorgeous “fruit bouquet” in my glass.

Please tell us about the Beç restaurant concept. What is special about it in terms of wines?

We have an exclusive. No one in Andorra has a wine list categorised by distributors. They are very important people who should be considered in the wine list, but they don’t have the visibility they deserve. In our restaurant, some of the main protagonists are the distributors. This is a novelty that both surprises and pleases our guests.

How many wines are on the restaurant’s wine list?

We have 138 items on our list; together with those wines that are not on the list, we have about 170 items.

The Beç wine list also includes dessert wines and Andorran wines (we would like to have them more), as well as a wide variety of wines that are perfectly adapted to the menu profile. We have very modern, new and diverse wines… not forgetting, of course, the classic ones. It’s a real “wine library.”

How do you decide which wines to include in your “library?”

We rely a lot on the distributors for this. Yes, we can follow the news ourselves, but it’s full-fledged market research that takes many hours. So, the distributors are an important part of the work – they filter the latest news and follow the trends.

We also taste new wines. Often, on Sundays, we do a tasting right here in the restaurant with our staff.

Among the restaurant’s clientele, are there many discerning guests with refined tastes who really understand wine?

With all respect, I can say that the maximum number of wine-savvy customers is 20%. The rest need advice. And it’s a pleasure for us to advise; it’s part of our job.

What does the customer want? A dry, fruity or floral wine? Or maybe he wants a wine that just won’t give him a hangover?

It’s also very important to get feedback. It helps us to get to know our customers’ tastes and, most importantly, to bring them closer to the complex world of wine.

What wines do you favour? Spanish? French? Or do most of your wines have a different origin?

We have a little bit of everything. There are French, Italian, Argentinian, New Zealand and even Lebanese wines… I don’t like to recommend something I don’t know myself  – if I were to offer all these wines before I had learnt them and gained the necessary knowledge, I would feel like I was misleading people. I want the customer to have as much information as possible.

How do you see the wine market?

The wine market, like everything in this globalised world, is constantly changing, in terms of trends, fashion, tastes… and you have to listen to it all the time. However, we believe that our personal preferences should not be sacrificed to the current fashion.

There is a stereotype that red wine goes only with meat, while white wine is ideal for fish and seafood dishes. Are there exceptions?

Indeed! Meat can be served with white wine. To accompany fish, we also offer red wine from Terra Alta, fermented for twenty-eight months in amphorae… There are many options, but it always depends on the taste of each guest. All stereotypes are changing, little by little.

Recently, there has been a certain vogue for organic and organic wine. Are they really as good as advertised, or is this nothing more than a marketing trick?

It’s a typology of wines that is increasingly becoming popular, although there used to be very little information available. So, sometimes you would get, you might say, wines that were not quite right.

Today it is a very interesting market. Many wineries invest money and effort to be able to supply the market with more quality wines of this category.

There is increasing talk that AI will soon completely replace some professions, including sommeliers. Can we trust artificial intelligence with such a delicate profession?

AI, let’s not forget, was created by humans and therefore has advantages and disadvantages. There is an energy that makes us move, feel, have experiences and react in one way or another. I think we are in the early stages, but who knows? Maybe the day will come when humans can be replaced in all fields… then I ask myself: where will human species end up ?

Like everything in life, time will prove or disprove this theory. I am one of those who prefer to enjoy, learn and live in the present; the future is something that will come without us. I don’t know anyone who has been there and come back to tell about it.

I am a firm believer in modernisation and moving forward. It is impossible to run a marathon until we learn to walk.

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