Uncorked: Romain Loriot

A native of Montpellier, France, Romain Loriot has been working for the acclaimed Alain Ducasse group for four years before being relocated to Hong Kong this year to join the newly opened Rech by Alain Ducasse restaurant in InterContinental Hotel as its head sommelier. Under the influence of his parents, Loriot became interested in food and wine early on. At the age of 15, he started studying to become a chef at Lycee Jules Ferry la Colline before obtaining his sommelier degree at 19. Speaking with dbHK, the dynamic wine professional reveals his unequivocal love for Champagne and how a bottle of Jean Foillard’s Morgon sparked his love for wine.

What vintage are you?
1991 is the year I was born. I know it’s not a great vintage but when any one tells me that I’m not a lucky vintage, my answer is always that my parents made me during an amazing vintage year – 1990.

What bottle sparked your love of wine?
I have enjoyed wine for a very long time, but the first bottle which made me love wine was enjoyed during my first job as a sommelier at the restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in Dublin. It was a Saturday night after work, and I was with one of my best friends. We opened a Morgon Côte de Py from Jean Foillard. We finished it very quickly. The first reaction we had was to then open the magnum!

What would you be as a wine?
A combination of Côte du Jura from Jean-Francois Ganevat 2015 with the richness of Puligny-Montrachet from Etienne Sauzet 1996 and the elegant bubbles of Salon 1959. All of these together would balance how I would like to be for my personal vintage 1990.

Where are you happiest?
I am happiest when I am in a wine bar or restaurant with my wine lover friends.

What’s your greatest vice?
My greatest vice is Chartreuse at the end of a dinner. If you come to Rech by Alain Ducasse, where I am the head sommelier, you will understand why. (We serve two types of Chartreuse in Jeroboams!)

Best advice you ever got?
The best advice that I ever received was from my parents. “Qui ne tente rien, n’as rien”. In English that means, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?
If I had to choose two bottles of Champagne, it will be Winston Churchill 1996 and Dom Pérignon 1998.

What’s the best and worst thing about the wine business?
The best thing about the wine business is that we cannot get bored. Every year we have new vintages and new winemakers; and the wine changes every day in the bottle. The worst thing is when a glass of wine is empty.

What’s on your wine bucket list?
For my wine bucket list, it will have Krug ‘Clos d’Ambonnay’ 2000 or a Dom Pérignon P3 1964.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
A dinner party for me is a table of seven, so I will first invite my best friend Tristan Lalot. The dinner would also include Pierre-Charles Gandilhon and Olivier Gresselin. They are the two chief sommeliers with whom I grew up when I was living in Paris and working at the restaurant Benoit. Since I arrived in Hong Kong, I would also have to invite my two friends Jean-Benoit Issele and Marco Gadea. I would also like to invite Olivier Giroud who played for my favourite team in 2012 in Montpellier where I’m from. He is one of the top wine lovers in the football world. Finally, I cannot have a dinner party without my girlfriend Linda Wu.

Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)?
Personally I don’t follow Parker’s points. Instead I prefer to follow the points from whichever friend with whom I’m drinking wine. The wine will always have a different taste each time. Where and with whom you are enjoying the wine will change the perceived quality of the wine for each individual. I will say 90 because we can always do better.

Which wine would you like to be served at your funeral?

Pol Roger Winston Churchill 1996 because it has a special meaning in my life.

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