Our Sommelier of the month for November 2016 is Claude Le Goff, Sommelier at The Pass, South Lodge Hotel. Claude has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with his response.
How did you get into the wine industry?
When I was studying my catering degree we had a renowned and very famous sommelier teacher so I naturally extended my studies into wine. Six years later here I am! I worked for two Michelin starred restaurants in France before coming to the UK. Then spent two years at Le Manoir under the Wine Director. There was an opportunity here and I have been quite seduced by the concept of the “kitchen table” where the chefs serve the food - and there is a lot of room for wine service and wine pairings.
Why do you enjoy using Riedel glassware within your restaurant?
They are quirky glasses! They reveal all the fruitiness of the wine. Tasting out of Riedel glasses is like comparing a Renault to a Porsche basically – if I may! Just the precision and the handling of the glassware – the weight, they are quite light, and give all the best expression to wine. As simple as that! Plus they are quite shock resistant which is very useful for the hospitality business.
What reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in different varietal specific glasses?
Usually they are amazed by the size! Obviously when I use the Riesling, and then the Shiraz for a red, they are stunned by the shape of the glass and the classiness of the presentation. All the care about service, temperature of the wine, measurement – it’s all about precision.
What’s been your greatest wine experience?
I have had quite a few actually. Probably tasting a Madeira Boal 1908. Absolutely fantastic. Some of the top Burgundies and Barolos, as well as very humble but outstanding Languedoc, Priorat, Macon wines… and top Californians.
What’s been your biggest wine faux pas?
Pouring the wrong wine basically - but at least offering a nice glass of Chassagne-Montrachet after… It can happen unfortunately!