The head sommelier at French brasserie Les 110 de Taillevent on wine regions, pairings and his favourite tipple
I decided I wanted to educate myself about wine during my studies at business hospitality school. I became good friends with the head sommelier at a restaurant where I was interning and when I started sniffing, swirling and sipping wine with him, I instantly became hooked.
Les 110 de Taillevent is a sister restaurant to Taillevent Paris. Both pay tribute to Guillaume Tirel, also known as ‘Taillevent’, who was appointed by Charles V of France to write the first French cuisine book in the 14th century. ‘Les 110’ refers to the 110 wines we have available by the glass.
The wine menu is the soul of our restaurant. We work very much like a painter does, but instead of using colours, pastes and light, we use perfumes, flavours and textures. To the sommelier, the dish is often like a canvas and the wine is the substance that brings new tones and nuance to the tasting experience.
We serve fun, refined classic French cuisine with a bright, modern twist. I love our surf & turf dish of veal sweatbreads, crayfish, shellfish cannelloni and bisque and veal jus.
I’ve tasted a few thousand wines, but I don’t keep count. Each deserves to be tasted one at a time. That’s the only way to really listen to what they have to say. The right balance of freshness, alcohol and flavour is what makes a good wine.
Every time I open a bottle of Clos Rougeard it’s a special moment. Many memorable episodes in my life seem to be related to wines from this extraordinary producer that has crafted some of the greatest Cabernet Franc ever made.
London is an incredible platform for international wines. It presents so many options, but I’m also lucky enough to be able to pick many of my wines from the Taillevent cellar in France. I look for classicism, elegance and bottles that have made, and will make, history in the wine world.
One of those immortal pairings is an old comté cheese with an oxidative Arbois, loaded with nutty and creamy notes. We also have a superb white Corbières (from the south-west of France) with a citrus flavour that sizzles long through the finish. It’s delicious with our turbot and fish mousseline dish. Lastly, we have a Châteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine la Barroche that's juicy, plush, fleshy and has spicy ripe berry notes; you would think it was made to be paired with a succulent rib of beef.
I am very attracted to Australia as a wine region, however the Rhône Valley is where I seem to feel more at home these days. The wines there are complex, plush and have fantastic ageing potential, and of course the weather is sensational.
I have been looking more and more closely at the Court of Master Sommeliers course. I'd love to get more involved in this program; it’s shaped some of the best talents of our profession.
Our bar is the perfect place for beginners. We have a team of passionate sommeliers and plenty of fantastic books, maps and stories to help you travel the entire world of wine, without even leaving Marylebone.