One of the best sommelier in the world attends the Salon du Vin this weekend in Saint-Tropez

Best sommelier in the world in 1992, president of the Union de la sommellerie française since 2016, he is without a doubt one of the most influential personalities in the world of wine: With his 62, Philippe Faure-Brac can not stop sharing his passion and knowledge about wine.

This weekend he will be in the town of Bailli on the occasion of the Esprit wine fair, which begins on Friday 1 April (for professionals) and will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday with about a hundred estates. Meet.

What is the purpose of your presence at the wine fair?

I especially want to present and sign my works Wine and food combinations as well as All about wine and How to taste a wine. But I also want to be there to taste and talk about wine. With both visitors and exhibitors.

Is an event like this an opportunity to share your knowledge?

Of course, it’s my nature to meet people, answer their questions. Some come to buy wine, others to meetings, there are those who make their cellar, and so simple visitors. I like listening to them outside of official intervention. As I said: especially with producers who are happy with my opinion about their wine, their appellation, etc.

Sommelier, is it therefore a contact subject?

Yes, absolutely. It is also a role as an ambassador for the winegrowers, for the terroirs, for a culture, for a history. Taste, know how to decipher colors and aromas, ok, that’s good. But why do we make wine in Provence? Why has this tradition persisted for so long? I like developing all that with people.

Do these exchanges nourish you too?

Yes, the sommelier is also someone who will feel the expectations and tastes of consumers. He then sends this information back to the sector so that the winegrowers take it into account.

What does wine represent to you?

We have mentioned it, it is a taste, a history, a culture. But it is also the meeting, the division, that is the final. The food and wine pairing dimension is very important to me, we rarely drink wine for the simple fact of drinking wine. We put it around the dishes and it is then a source of inspiration, revelation and pleasure. With its limits, of course, like all alcoholic beverages.

What advice would you give to taste a wine?

To taste a wine well, there are factors that we do not necessarily think about, but which are very important. First you need to be in shape. Afterwards, the glass itself is important. If you taste in a plastic cup or in a tall thin glass, it is not the same. Then there is the taste temperature. Rosées and white frozen ones are often served, around 5 ° C, which has the effect of blocking the aromas and numbing the palate. They should be served between 10 and 12 ° C. Conversely, reds are often served too hot, “at room temperature” we used to say. The ideal temperature is actually between 14 and 15 ° C for the lighter and more tender and between 16 and 18 ° C for those who are a little more dense and structured. But not anymore.

Even restaurateurs do not always comply with this rule …

In fact, and it’s not normal. We would not think of serving cold a dish that is best eaten hot. And the other way around. It should be the same with wine.

And to pair a wine?

My advice is to start with the wine and go for the food. That’s what I practice in my Parisian restaurant, Sommeliers Bistro. Then you have to respect the codes. First the color, a predominantly light dish will go with a white or a rosé. A meat in a strong sauce would rather go with a red. Then there is the aromatic code. A strong, spicy wine suits a rather concentrated on juice, while a more floral wine will suit e.g. a vegetable dish. Finally the texture: a tannic, generous wine will crush a dish that is a little dull in the mouth. This is not the goal, there should be an immediate merger relationship.

In Var, rosé is king. Did he get his letters of nobility according to you?

Yes, absolutely. Rosé has taken an incredible leap in quality over the last few decades and the production quality is simply amazing today. In terms of investment, especially in Provencal cellars. Previously, he lacked balance, was sulfur-containing. Today it is the subject of technical and careful work, which respects the terroir.

What characterizes this Provencal terroir?

It has great diversity. Medium inland, very sunny, giving density. The maritime facade and its spray, which brings freshness and minerality. A freshness also brought by the heights within the Var slopes. There is therefore a variation both geologically and climatologically in this Provencal sphere. It is also an identity with its aromas of garrigue or even resinous notes brought by the presence of pine trees.

Foreign wines today compete with French wines. Should we fear them, or do they have something to teach us?

One of the great possibilities of wine is its internationality. Do not be afraid of it, we must all learn from what is done elsewhere. This can also allow French winemakers to understand the tastes of other populations in order to conquer new markets. For curious consumers, this is the opportunity to do interesting experiments.

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