Name: Elyse Lambert
At the moment: Canadian
Master Sommeliere – 2015 Sommelier of the year in Canada
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
My first sommelier class was a revelation. I literally fell in love. My teacher Jean-Marc Barraud was just great. I was passionate and humble at the same time. That was in 1997.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with that qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
A good sommelier should be humble and, attentive to their guest. Gerard Basset and Doug Frost are sommelier that inspire me. I have the most respect for both.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
Be curious. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Be ready to travel to take experience. Continue reading, tasting and travelling to keep up to date.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
Listen to your client and ask question. Suggest wine that will make them happy. You make a selection for them, not for you. Respect budget.
What’s your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
I really like Riedel and Schott glassware. The restauration series is not too expensive and with very classic line.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Learn your classic and make sure you understand the dish before you do the pairing. If you’re not sure… try!
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Personally, I like to smell the wine as it is not the job of the client to find out if the wine is clean or not. As each restaurant has different policies, it is important to respect the rules established by your establishment.
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine markups?
In the creation of a wine list, consider the food served and work the selection on classic food pairing. Add up few wines that you know your clientele will be looking for. Respect budget. Pricing is in regard of lots of different parameters. If you are not comfortable with the pricing, find a new place to work or you will be miserable each time you recommend a wine to your client.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry? Read, taste, travel. Be curious.
How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you to notice their wine and what’s the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
Tasting is the key! Make you wines available for tasting, the answer is in the glass.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Nebbiolo. It is a varietal of character… And I love truffles!
What are the top 3 types of wine (your faves) would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
Barolo and Barbaresco
On the island I would have Puligny-Montrachet!
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform? GuildSomm is my website to keep on the top of my game.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com
Dominik Kozlik e.U.
4020 Linz, Austria