HEAD SOMMELIER, THE GILBERT SCOTT
When I was 16, I was convinced that school was not for me. Like many, I ended up earning extra money in bars and restaurants, and found myself surrounded by people with a huge amount of enthusiasm for beautiful products and in making the guest experience as memorable as possible, all of which led to my decision to choose this industry as my profession.
But how do we inspire a ‘new generation’ of hospitality graduates?
I don’t believe in handing out fact sheets, expecting my team to learn it all in a day or two. I prefer to feed them with information, to fire-up their passion for the products and suppliers we work with.
Last October, I decided to introduce vintage Port by the glass to the wine list. Instead of organising a tasting with my Sommeliers and supplier, I asked all of the waiters and Sommeliers to try a selection of 6 Ports, and decide which they liked the most. However we couldn’t agree on just one, and 4 now feature on the menu. We all stood by this decision, and it was important for me to ensure the team felt involved and knew that their thoughts and ideas are always valued.
One of our wine suppliers I work closely with is London Cru. They are the first and only winery in London, that carefully choose their grapes from the best vineyards in Europe, and bring them to London to press and nurture into wonderful wines. The advantage? I can bring my team here on an educational, insightful team day out, where they can follow the process of our wines being made, without having to travel too far, allowing them to work in the restaurant that same evening.
A great example was following the 2015 Albariño “Albemarle St”, London Crû, EU (Rias Baixas) from being unfermented sweet grape juice until the day before bottling. This year, we will do the same again.
Last September, we tasted the first samples of 2016 Pinot Noir, and soon we will be returning for the Shiraz.
London Cru wines at The Gilbert Scott
Chardonnay “Crushed 24/08/14”, London Crû, EU (Roussillon) 2014
Bacchus “Crushed 30/09/14”, London Crû, Kent, England 2014
Albariño “Albemarle St”, London Crû, EU (Rias Baixas) 2015
Syrah “Crushed 11/10/14”, London Crû, EU (Calatayud) 2014
Grenache “Crushed 18/10/14”, London Crû, EU (Calatayud) 2014
Cabernet Sauvignon “Crushed 06/09/14”, London Crû, EU (Languedoc) 2014
Barbera “Crushed 04/10/14”, London Crû, EU (Piedmont) 2014
I also took my team to Gusbourne estate, a winehouse in Kent that we’ve supported for a while, so my team could see the winery in full swing over harvest season.
We had a tour of the winery, walked through the vineyards and got involved with harvesting Chardonnay grapes.
After getting our hands dirty, Gusbourne rewarded us with a lovely countryside lunch, accompanied by several of their wines. We tasted the 2013 sparkling Rosé and we were so impressed by it, we decided to offer it by the glass in our restaurant soon afterwards.
Gusbourne wines at The Gilbert Scott
Gusbourne “Rosé”, Kent, England 2013
Gusbourne “Blanc de Blancs”, Kent, England 2011
Chardonnay “Guinevere”, Gusbourne, Kent, UK 2013
Pinot Noir “Boot Hill vineyard”, Gusbourne, Kent, UK 2014
Once the passion is there and the team is involved, anything is possible.