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A sommelier speaks: Vincent Gasnier

Vincent Gasnier is head sommelier for the Soho House Group40 Greek Street London 
; Tel +44 (0)20 7734 5188; www.sohohouse.com

What stopped you in your tracks and got you serious about wine?

The moment I discovered God had not only given great terroirs to France, but also to many of the new world countries. The thirst started then.

Since then, what’s the best wine you’ve ever drunk and why?

A bottle of Chateau Latour 1978, which I drank when I got engaged. It was awe-inspiring.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened on the job?

Swearing by accident during a conversation about wines on live

TV – very embarrassing at the time.

…and the biggest faux pas you’ve ever made?

Spilling a bottle of Chateau Margaux ’86 all over the tablecloth while

decanting it, during my training at a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in

La Baule. Not the greatest start to my career…

Have you ever served anyone famous, and if so, who and what?

The former Liverpool football player Graeme Souness, who loves big Californian wines. We agreed that they are good for his heart.

What’s the hardest food and wine match, and how do you overcome it?

Eggs are always tricky, but luckily they are rarely served on their

own. Rather than creating an ideal food and wine match, I would focus on the client’s palate, and pair the dish with a style of wine they like.

What’s the most annoying customer habit?

When diners ask a question they already know the answer to, to make them look clever in front of their guests.

What wines are you buying for personal consumption at the moment?

I’m really into Southern Italian wines at the moment – Sicilian whites, Nero d’Avola and anything from Puglia. For everyday drinking I go for a chunky Argentinian Malbec or Chilean Carmenere.

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