Our Sommelier of the month for March 2015 is Sergio Dos Santos, who is the Head Sommelier at Andre Garrett at Cliveden House Restaurant
Sergio has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
My first job was as a chef but I began to realise that, although I enjoy cooking, there was something else about the trade that was for me, even more fascinating: wine. I was converted during a chef job interview in a restaurant in my hometown in Brittany. During the interview, the boss put a glass of wine in front of me and asks me what I thought. I don’t remember what I said, but he asked me if i would rather work in the bar than in the kitchen, and I was hooked.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your hotel/restaurant?
Riedel Glasses are designed to express the different aspect of each grape variety; the positive characteristics of it are most elaborated. The design is such that it has an effective presentation to the eyes, the nose and the tongue of the person tasting. All these act in concert to reach a conclusion on the quality of the wine, giving the person tasting the wine a complete picture of its grape varietal, region of origin and vintage. Provide a better tasting experience in terms of capturing the aroma and taste of the wine.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
Customers are always surprised over by what a difference a glass could make. In the restaurant customer can notice that we served different shape of glasses depending of the wine style and often asked “a glass really does make that much difference”. So, I offer them try drinking the same wine from a variety of shapes and they always are astonished by the impact of the shape and type of glass can make on a wine, taste the difference immediately and are impressed by how much science and dedication is put in the making of a glass.
What’s been your biggest ‘wine’ faux pas?
While working in Cannes in the south of France during the Movies Festival. At the beginning of a very busy service a guest asked for a bottle of Chateau Latour 1989 to be poured, so I did with great pleasure. Later on, the Gentleman asked for another bottle to be promptly poured because the main courses were coming, to my surprise it was the last bottle and forgot to tell the customer about it. I decided to offer a Chateaux Latour 1982, the guest accepted but I forgot to mention the price of the bottle to the gentleman which was four times more expensive than the previous one. I let you to imagine how it ended...
What’s been the funniest ‘wine’ moment in your career?
A guest asked to speak with me about Chateauneuf du Pape white wanted to get his wife’s favourite wine. So, I offered him two different style of the white wine and opted for the more expensive. Show him the bottle, he accepted it, I then opened the bottle, poured it to the guest, he tasted it loved it and asked his wife to taste it. She didn’t like it at all. The gentleman looked at me and said “I am really sorry, I loved the wine but my wife hated it, so I won’t have it” So, I explain politely to the customer that because he liked it but not his wife, i will have to charge him for it and his answer was “you never told me than to taste the wine, you have to opened the bottle” .