Our Sommelier of the month for September 2016 is Romain Bourger, Head Sommelier at The Vineyard. Romain has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
My interest in wine started when I attended catering college in Metz, Eastern France. Throughout my second year my teacher was incredibly knowledgeable and enjoyed sharing this with the students; at this point my passion developed and from this I decided to continue to study for another year. During that year, I was lucky enough to have a training period in England at the Hotel du Vin, Winchester. Being an enthusiastic wine hotel, I quickly felt comfortable working amongst other passionate professionals, so before returning to France to sit my examinations I asked the Head Sommelier if they had a position for a Commis Sommelier and was offered the position! I was delighted to start working for the company in September 2008 and this is when the real adventure started.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your hotel/restaurant?
At The Vineyard we use Riedel glassware; I believe that using this leading glassware perfectly complements our iconic wines. Each style of wine glass is designed to showcase the distinctive tasting notes of different wines and is a great subject of conversation with our guests.
From time to time our guests ask if the shape of the glass changes the way a wine tastes or smells. This gives us the perfect opportunity to serve them the same wine in two different glasses to show them the difference - it’s a fantastic interactive activity that all of our guests enjoy.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
The Vineyard is one of the top wine hotels outside of London and is dedicated to providing guests with an unforgettable wine experience.
Showcasing our wine in different glasses creates great interest, we can then explain why the shapes are different and how they influence the way the wine tastes - whether it is a light structured red or a heavy white that needs some air to open and develop.
What’s been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?
Throughout my career I have continued to develop and learn. A perfect example of a wine faux pas which I learnt early on in my career is not to serve a corked wine to a table! Although I had tasted the wine I did not detect the taint at the time. Over years and many wine tasting my palate has refined and I would not make the same mistake twice!
What’s been the funniest ‘wine’ moment in your career?
Throughout my career I have had many highlights and with different experiences and teams.
One of the funniest wine moments I have had was when I was at school, during my Sommelier Diploma. I remember serving guests at a banquet and when opening several bottles of wines with my teacher my corkscrew suddenly broke when it was in the cork. We ended up using pliers to open it… and both had a good laugh at the same time!