Tell us about an inspirational wine and food pairing that has you have experienced recently… “A Peking duck from Imperial Treasure restaurant with Côte-Rôtie “Lancement” 2005 Domaine Michel & Stéphane Ogier.” Sommelier Julien Drevon
In Medieval Provençal times they were saumaliers, animal pack drivers who evolved during Middle French kingdom to become court officials charged with transportation of supplies. So what does a modern day Sommelier actually do? Well, Wikipedia outlines as such, “A sommelier or wine steward is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional, normally working in fine restaurants who specializes in all aspects of wine service as well as wine and food matching. The most important work of a sommelier is in the areas of wine procurement, wine storage, wine cellar rotation, and expert service to wine consumers.”
A reasonably accurate job description although perhaps a little parched as our new-age sommelier has evolved to a higher learning with a wine Jedi cognizance and a seventh sense that can psychoanalyse a diner, marry the person, the dish and the wine in seconds. They are now the gateway to wine discovery equipped with clairvoyance in food and wine trends, inspiring thirst around the world.
Feared by winemakers, loathed by wine distributors as the arbiters’ of wine lists, the restaurant patron should embrace their knowledge, skills and talent as they are hopelessly and passionately obsessed with wine and will take you on journey of gastronomic enlightenment. And our new-age sommelier is no longer confined to fine dining and can be found in casual eateries, wine bars, gastro-pubs, winery restaurants, wine stores and you’ll even bump into an air-sommelier at 30,000ft these days. Some have hung up their waiters-friend and metamorphosed to the wine trade as brand ambassadors, distributors or consultants, but once a sommelier, always a sommelier.
This column explores the gustatory and olfactory manifestations of sommeliers all over this planet. We take a cross section of the sommelier’s stomach and intestines to reveal what and where they eat. And we dissect their taste buds and dopamine receptors as they relent to the Wandering Palate narcosynthesis and confess to their personal vinous pleasures and closely-held secrets – this is The Sommelier’s Palate.
Julien Drevon, Singapore
Where do you currently practice your sommelier skills (restaurant, hotel, consulting etc)?
Head Sommelier at Waku Ghin Marina Bay Sands Hotel Singapore
Where have you dined recently (restaurant) that impressed you?
Jaan by Julien Royer (Swiss Hotel Singapore) a very talented Chef with good skills
Where have you dined (restaurant, wine bar) that you were mightily impressed with the wine list and service?
Jade Palace (Forum Shopping mall) Singapore
Where is the most memorable restaurant meal you have had?
I will say that what makes an experience memorable is not only based on the meal but the people (friends, relatives) involved in the experience. Le Bristol (Paris), outstanding experience.
Do you have a favourite regular restaurant?
Le Bistrot du Sommelier (Singapore)
Do you cook at home and is there a dish you have perfected?
I do cook but nothing that I’ve perfected yet
Do you have a favourite wine bar?
Wine Bar Le Cheval Blanc (Nîmes, France).
Do you have a favourite wine merchant?
What wine are you drinking at the moment?
Singapore’s climate is always very warm so, some great matured and well balanced Burgundy pinots are perfect. For white some crisp Grüner Veltliner from Austria.
Is there a wine that totally moved you – like no other wine – a revelation and motivation for you to pursue you wine obsession?
I’m burgundy lover, so far none of the wines in the world give me as such emotion, enjoyment, pleasure that a matured Pinot does. Some of the old matured Syrah from Rhône (Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie) too.
What’s your latest wine discovery – new region, variety or style?
My latest discovery is in Japan and the 2 Sake breweries below produces a special handcrafted cuvee for Chef Tetsya Wakuda and shows purity, clean aromas and refined texture.
Masuizumi sake brewery (Toyama prefecture) Junmai Daiginjo Platinum Nama for Tetsuya’s
Tell us what is your ultimate wine bargain discovery in terms of price/quality rapport? (i.e. does not have to be cheap but over-delivers in quality for the price)
The north part of the Rhone valley offers a great selection and very affordable price/quality.
Tell us about an inspirational wine and food pairing that has you have experienced recently.
What is the most enthralling wine region you have been to in terms of dramatic scenery, inspiring vineyards and good eating?
The Rhone Valley, France
Select a six pack of wines that you think are absolutely outstanding and inspirational, and that will set people on a journey of vinous discovery and enlightenment.
2007 Bernard Dugat-Py Chassagne-Montrachet 1er cru Morgeot
2009 Domaine Michel & Stephane Ogier Côte-Rôtie D’Ampuis
2007 Weingut Leth Wagram Grüner Veltliner Klassik
2007 Château Le Puy Barthélemy Côtes des Francs, Bordeaux
2007 M. Chapoutier Hermitage Le Pavillon
2010 Pierro Chardonnay, Margaret River Australia