Our Sommelier of the month for July 2017 is Michal Lebdowicz at The Galloping Major, Oddfellows on the Park. Michal has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
What is your industry background?
I started my journey in hospitality 17 years ago by working in one of the best fine dining restaurants in Poland “Wentzl” where I spent six years honing my craft!
After then moving to Manchester, I worked at Michael Caines @ Abode Manchester where I have spent five years moving up the ladder from Chef de Rang to Restaurant Manager.
Whilst in Wentlz, I met the person who I would call my mentor, Michal Jancik. He is one of the best Polish Sommeliers and the person who implemented my passion for wines. In the very early days of my career as a part-time student working summer holidays, I asked him - “What is an appellation?”. He spent almost two hours explaining that to me. He inspired me so much that I have been fanatical about wine ever since then.
Assuming you enjoy using Riedel glassware, do you have a favorite glass or decanter?
My favorite equipment is Swirl Decanters. They are funky, which definitely fits in with Oddfellows, and they are also the most practical decanters I have ever worked with. I just love them.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in the different varietal specific glasses?
The reaction from the guests is mind blowing. Guests are shown the difference of the same wine in different glasses, the most dramatic response seems to come from Pinot Noir to Merlot glass.
What is your best experience in your role to date?
I’m passionate about food and my best food experience to date must come from Ian Moss, our chef; he has a scallop ceviche starter which is served with seaweed oil, fresh fennel and Granny Smiths apple granite. I would match this dish with a new addition to the wine list, which is Perrier - Jouet NV Blanc de Blanc Champagne, but in an Oaked Chardonnay glass to enhance flavours the champagne.
I always ask guests at Oddfellows what they drink at home in order to come up with a suggested wine for them. Their response will give me some hints of the flavours they enjoy. A favourite suggestion which went down very well was for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc drinker - I recommended Picpul de Pinet instead in Riedel Viognierglass which they loved. It has similar notes and when used with Riedel glasses, the wine expresses the lime which connects to the flavours of a Sauvignon Blanc.