Our Sommelier of the month for May 2015 is Laure Patry, Executive Head Sommelier at Pollen Street Social. Laure has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with her response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
I started catering college in France at 16 and after a couple of years went to a wine school and fell in love with it. When you love something you want to learn a lot. After I passed my exams they offered me a year in the UK and I started at the Angel Inn at Skipton. They had a big Burgundy list. I enjoyed it so much I stayed another year and then moved to Bath and then London. Dennis Watkins had put me in contact with Gordon Ramsay and I started as Assistant Sommelier in Claridges. In 2005 they opened Maze and offered me the Head Sommelier.
When Jason moved in 2011 he asked me to come with him and open Pollen St Social. Since then we have opened in Singapore, then in Hong Kong. We are opening in New York this month as well as opening a wine & tapas bar/shop in London. Dubai will open in September.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?
I love the quality and durability of the Restaurant range. My favourite glass is the Riesling/Zinfandel, as it is for most of the sommeliers - I think that is the more diverse style of glass, but we use most of them. Every top restaurant should use the appropriate glassware.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
People like to have different glasses and people like to know we are using the appropriate glassware. Even for our wines by the glass we use the right glass. We always want to use the best one - this is what you should always give your customer. Sometimes people ask me, especially with the Oaked Chardonnay, why is this glass bigger - so we explain it is for the style of the grape.
What’s been your greatest wine experience?
I am a very classic person. I love white Burgundy. When I was at Claridges I opened a lot of very expensive wine from all the top producers – it was quite a long time ago, before the recession. People were going very heavy on the wine…
What’s been the funniest wine moment in your career?
I don’t recall anything funny. Although - you always have the customer who wants ice in their red wine… But I have been lucky so far not to have anyone ask for cola in it.
What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?
Once I had a customer who was not happy with the way I approached the table because I asked if he had a budget – I learned very quickly that I should never use that word.