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Confessions of a sommelier: Michael Deschamps

Decanter speaks to sommelier Michael Deschamps about his most memorable wines and what he's drinking at the moment. As published in Decanter's April 2014 issue.

Michael Deschamps is executive sommelier at Marcus, The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London, SW1X 7RL; +44 (0)20 7235 1200, marcus-wareing.com

What’s your earliest wine memory?
The Vega Sicilia 1981 I had on my 18th birthday. It was a present from my father who simply bought it as it was the year of my birth – he hadn’t realised the quality and prestige of this great wine. An amazing surprise and a fantastic bottle to share with my family.

Since then, what’s the best wine you’ve ever drunk and why?
Armand Rousseau’s Chambertin Grand Cru 1992. I’m a Burgundy fan and it is the perfect expression of a great Pinot Noir. Elegant, powerful and something you dream about. I’ll remember it all my life!

What’s the biggest faux pas you’ve ever made?
When I was working at The Square, my head sommelier asked me for a bottle of Léoville 1990. I brought a bottle of Léoville-LasCases to the guest and started to open it. Immediately, I felt the eyes of my boss on me. The guest had ordered a Léoville-Barton. Not checking with him was a big mistake.

Have you ever served anyone famous, and if so, who and what?
The best was Johnny Depp. He was very approachable and not just an amazing actor but also a big Bordeaux fan who speaks French.

What’s the most annoying customer habit?
It is such a shame when someone requests ice-cold Chardonnay. At this temperature it is impossible to taste and appreciate the style of the grape, soil and all the efforts of the winemaker.

What wines are you buying for yourself at the moment?
For white, Gut Oggau’s Theodora Grüner Veltliner- Welschriesling 2011 from Neusiedlersee in Austria’s Burgenland. You can get it from Dynamic Vines (dynamicvines.com). For the red, it’s Domaine Alain Chabanon’s Campredon 2009 from Coteaux du Languedoc. It’s an interesting blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache and Carignan. Wine Bear stocks it (winebear.com).

Written by Decanter

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