Eater’s Talia Baiocchi did an interview with Noma’s Wine Director Pontus Elofsson:
Many of the wines, which one might classify as “natural wines”, are likely unfamiliar to most of the diners coming to Noma. Has that been a problem?
No. It’s actually been exciting because of that. People have been positive about the surprise effect of the wines, especially in a wine and food combination context. About 70-80% of the guests at Noma are choosing wine pairings, which allows you to present wines that the guest never would have chosen on his/her own. People often ask, “Should the wine be like this?” But I always say, “I understand if you think it’s an odd wine, but withhold your judgment until the food has arrived.” Most of the time people understand why the wine is there once they join it with the food.
Why did you choose to focus on natural wine at Noma?
It sort of developed over time. We knew we wanted to serve elegant wines with a lot of minerality and acidity—wines that has the same characteristics of the Nordic food served at Noma—that also had a strong sense of terroir. So we chose not to include the powerful wines from hot areas and focused on Germany, Austria, Champagne, Loire, and Burgundy instead. Around 2006 I started to realize the wines with the least amount of intervention, chemicals, and techniques involved had an energy and focus that many of the conventional wines did not. I also started to realize that the wilder the wine, the better it paired with René’s food.