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Confessions of a sommelier: Stéphane Morand

Decanter speaks to sommelier Stéphane Morand about the best wines and funny moments of his career. As published in Decanter's September 2014 issue.

Stéphane Morand is head sommelier at Le Cercle, 44 Boulevard de Lahitolle, 18000 Bourges, France, Tel: +33 (0)2 48 70 33 27; restaurant-lecercle.fr

What’s your earliest wine memory?
It was with my maternal grandfather. I was seven years old and at family meals he was the one who showed me his wine cellar and how to use a corkscrew.

What bottle stopped you in your tracks and got you serious about wine?
When I was a sommelier intern, I was lucky enough to taste Château Margaux 1979. It was pure beauty and cemented the idea that working in wine was the right career path for me.

Since then, what’s the best wine you’ve ever drunk and why?
Domaine Pignier’s Cellier des Chartreux Chardonnay 2003 from Montaigu in Jura. It’s vinified like a Savagnin and is a perfect blend of finesse and strength.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on the job?
On Valentine’s Day, a couple bought the most expensive bottles on our wine list. We natutally assumed they were in love. In reality they were celebrating their separation… Each to their own!

Have you ever served anyone famous?
When I was working at Quo Vadis in London, I served the singer George Michael a bottle of Deutz, Brut Classic Champagne.

What’s the hardest food and wine match, and how do you overcome it?
Asparagus is tricky. But a reliable match is Domaine Colin’s Pierre à Feu Chenin Blanc 2012 from Côteaux du Vendômois.

What’s the most annoying customer habit?
When guests want Champagne colder than we usually serve it. It should be between 12°C or 13°C.

What wines are you buying for personal consumption?
Favourite wines from my central Loire region include Bailly- Reverdi’s Les Monts Damnés 2011 and Lucien Crochet’s Le Cul de Beaujeu 2010 from Sancerre, Domaine Mabillot’s Montcocu 2012 (Reuilly) and Bertrand Minchin’s Célestin 2002 (Menetou-Salon).

Written by Decanter

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