Our Sommelier of the month for November 2015 is Michael Deschamps, Executive Sommelier at Marcus. Michael has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
Actually when I was 16/17 I was already passionate about food – tasting and flavour. Whenever on holiday it was always the food. I wanted more to be a chef but more and more I liked the structure of the restaurant and wanted to be on the floor - so that meant being a sommelier.
I studied hospitality in Limoges and then studied wine for a year in Bordeaux. I worked in Le Pre Catelan in Paris then moved to The Square in London. I met Marcus Wareing when he was at Petrus and worked there 2 years. I always like working with Marcus – there are always new ways to work, it is always exciting.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?
People consider the glassware more than they used to. If you want to take care properly about the wine you need to have nice wine glasses. They expect more from the restaurant. It is part of the respect of the wine and the wine maker and the customer. Using Riedel shows a delivery of care.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
They always ask, when we switch the glasses, why the different shapes? Especially with the Oaked Chardonnay glass – they ask why it is so big? It is nice to get a discussion, not just about food, not just about wine but also the glasses.
What’s been your greatest wine experience?
I could say 1985 Chateau Haut-Brion - you need to know your Bordeaux, the top Chateaux, the vintages – but really I am a Burgundy fan as they can be better value for money.
But I like to taste everything, every year I focus on a different country.
What’s been the funniest wine moment in your career?
I need to think about that – I am sure there are a lot…
I do a lot of blind tastings. The more fun I have is when I do blind tastings with the guests and we really start to have a connection, sharing the passion.
Every day you have fun!
What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?
Maybe when I was very young I maybe mixed the bottles – that happens once but never again. Mistakes happen but you do all you can to fix it – the customer is always right.