Ask the average twenty-something what they are doing with their time, and you will not likely hear anything close to the life of Filip Szacilowski. Then again, there is not much “average” about him, so it makes sense. When he is not competing in sommelier competitions, Filip can be found exploring wineries from numerous different regions. And what better way for him to cap off each trip than with dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the area? Sounds like the ideal trip.
The journey was not always so smooth, but Filip has kept himself focused on his goals since day one. From the moment he started working in restaurants, Filip was drawn to wines. He took a special liking to management and decided to focus on the business aspects of the industry first. His industriousness paid off, and soon Filip was under the tutelage of Pawel Demianiuk, one of the top sommeliers in Poland.
Just like Pawel, Filip has kept his focus on inclusion and expansion. With over 260 wines at Kieliszków from Europe alone, who’s to say where the next amazing bottle will come from? Filip likes to feature wines from the highest caliber producers, and of course, aims for Polish wines wherever possible. When asked about which wine he thinks is most versatile, it took some deliberation. He finally settled on Fleury Blanc de Noir Brut NV.
We asked him what he feels makes a great wine menu, and his basic formula resonates throughout every successful wine list in history. In Filip’s eyes, when you combine a high-quality producer with small wineries and old vines, it is bound to be a hit. Add in a bio or biodynamic certification, and it is a recipe for a whole and complete menu. The most important aspect, however, is your instinct. Trusting your feeling on a wine is sometimes just as important as its reputation or certifications. And when he is not finding into his next glass of wine, Filip is known to dive into a delicious sherry, finding, even more, flavors to enjoy.
We don’t often hear about the wine world in Poland, so talking to Filip was a special treat. When wondering about what is next for Poland, Filip is the perfect person to ask, having been one of the judges in the 2017 Polish Wines Competition. According to him, we should be on the lookout for great dry Rieslings, as well as a number of surprises as producers figure out the best varietals for the climate. The best wine, for now, is a Płochoccy Pinot Noir 2015, in the true Loire Valley style.
Poland is a hidden gem when it comes to wine, but there is another hidden gem Filip mentioned. Orange wine. It is becoming trendy now but is still underrated. The team at Kieliszki has been working with orange wine for years, and have over 20 different orange wines at the moment. This is reason enough to pay them a visit. And just like the other 260 wines on the list, they are all available to taste by the glass thanks to the Coravin system.
How about pairings? Pairing traditional Polish ingredients like potato, beetroot, and herring may not make a certain wine pop out to you, but to Filip, it is a breeze. His first choice is a Riesling: Reichsrat von Buhl Riesling “Jesuitengarten” 2013 from Pfalz in Germany. And as for the most polarizing dish in this Polish restaurant? It’s the beef tartare, which Filip pairs with a glass of chilled COS Frappato 2012 from Sicily. The dish may draw a firm line in the sand, but that wine is all inclusive! To Filip, this is the biggest reward of being a sommelier. He loves the chance to interact with guests and find their ideal wine and can talk at length for every eager ear. Wine is Filip's passion, and we are here for every sip of it!
An Excellent Wine Menu – Somm Filip Szacilowski