[SOMMELIER PORTRAIT] Benjamin Roffet

Published : 09/29/2020 17:45:47
Categories : , , Product news

[SOMMELIER PORTRAIT] Benjamin Roffet

How did you develop this passion for the world of wine?

I think that in France, we are raised in a culture with a strong gastronomic history. I have loved cooking since I was a child and my passion for wine started at a very early age, at around 14.

You said, “The culture of wine occurs through encounters with people, both in France and abroad”.Can you explain what you mean by this?

Wine facilitates discussion and contact. First of all, with wine producers from around the world, whom you must get to know so that you can talk about their wine. Then at the customer’s table. Sommeliers always have a strong connection with customers since they have to talk to them about their tastes, budget etc... Which is why it is a world of encounters.

Can you tell us a bit about your career history? Are there any people, encounters which have inspired you?

I started my career abroad with the chef Gordon Ramsay before joining him for the opening of Trianon Palace in Versailles in 2007. Since the beginning of 2019, I have been head sommelier at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower, alongside Frédéric Anton. Some of the sommeliers who have inspired me include Olivier Poussier, Philippe Faure-Brac and Serge Dubs.

Having already received two accolades, Meilleur Sommelier de France (France’s best sommelier) in 2010 and Meilleur Ouvrier de France , wine waiting category, in 2011, why have you decided to challenge yourself again?

What does the Best Sommelier of Europe title represent? My first wine waiting competition, Olympiades des métiers (WorldSkills), in 2003, spurred me on to enter more competitions. I have always wanted to fly the flag for my country at international wine waiting competitions and in November I will be able to do just that.

How do you prepare for a competition like Best Sommelier of Europe? Do you have a team behind you to support you?

Training for this type of competition is specific to each individual but is always carried out on a daily basis. I actually have a small team around me who help me specifically with tasting, spirits and theory via questionnaires etc. and my team at Jules Verne who also support me every day.

How did you reorganize your preparation as a result of lockdown?

Lockdown was quite intense in terms of changes I had to make. Visits to vineyards I had planned were postponed and therefore there were less of them, but I have made up for it since. I have just spent several days in Rhône and Roussillon.

What is the hardest thing about this type of competition?

Having the tenacity to win it.

If you win, which wine shall you be drinking to celebrate your victory?

Some excellent bottles from Rhône and Burgundy!

In brief

Which wines are in demand today? The wine producers of tomorrow, i.e. new talent, people who, for the most part, have the greatest respect for their land and vineyards.

What’s your latest favourite? Sirocco by Domaine Vaccelli 2017

What’s the best combination? One that makes you salivate!

A message from the President of UDSF (union of French wine waiting), Philippe Faure-Brac:

Best Sommelier of Europe is an important competition. It gets the ball rolling for international competitions, en route for the next World’s Best Sommelier 22 competition. It is therefore excellent practice for all contestants. Furthermore, the winner of Best Sommelier of Europe automatically qualifies for the international competition. They are therefore the first official contestant for 2022 so it is quite prestigious! It is actually really good preparation and an excellent opportunity for Benjamin. I know he is motivated to do well in the test and very focused on his preparation. He is conscientious and will stack the odds in his favour. I wish him the best of luck!

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