Sommelier of the Month - Jacques Savary de Beauregard
- Name: Jacques Savary de Beauregard
- Date of birth: 31st December 1984.
- Place of birth: Dublin.
- Eye colour: Brown
- Nationality: British/French
Jacques joined Home House in September 2011. As well as the House Sommelier he is the keeper of the Home House wine portfolio which serves four bars, one nightclub, two restaurants and banqueting. The expertise that enables him to keep the five wine lists and cigar selection on point is gathered from an international career in high-end venues serving an eclectic clientele up to silver service standards. He settled in London in 2009, his route to Home House was via the esteemed Cinnamon Club, at which he was head Sommelier. Jacques runs the Home House Wine Club, and organizes monthly winemaker's dinners.
He has been a successful candidate of the WSET diploma in 2012 and has now started studying for the advanced certificate of the Court of Master Sommelier.
About our club
Home House is London's most exclusive private members' club. Occupying a terrace of Georgian town houses in elegant Portman Square in the heart of London, members and guests enjoy the splendour of 18th Century architecture and the opulence of neoclassical design in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere; it's a true Home away from Home.
The House is a veritable 'Pleasure Palace' with restaurants, bars, decadent party rooms, an intimate garden, gym, spa, elegant bedrooms and suites all of these split in three buildings i.e. House 19 to 21.
House 19 includes a Bar and a relaxed and airy restaurant with its south facing views over leafy Portman Square. It is brasserie style dining at its best. Great classics of English cuisine is exquisitely prepared by Jeremy Brown (ex Ritz) and perfectly complemented by the extensive cellar, which is expertly controlled by Jacques.
About our Restaurant
House 20 includes the Great Drawing rooms.
Robert Adam's iconic Grand Staircase rises to an ornate glass dome revealing the sky above, and is regarded as one of the most opulent entrances in British architecture. Guests climb this awe-inspiring staircase to reach the sumptuous neoclassical Drawing Rooms. The perfect setting for a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea; guests can also choose from a casual dining menu and extensive drinks list.
Finally House 21 Consists of 2 bars, a nightclub and a Pan-Asian restaurant "the octagon".
The House Bar, located on the ground floor of No.21 and designed by award winning architect Dame Zaha Hadid, is the ultimate contrast to The Bison Bar! Featuring the designer's signature sweeping lines and metallic finishes in pyrites bronze with decor by the Candy and Candy team, this is the ideal place to enjoy chic cocktails and fine Champagnes under the space age lights. It is instantly modern and magnetic. The Bar also enjoys a late licence until 3.00am Tuesdays to Saturdays.
My role within the house is to manage the several different wine lists, the team of Sommeliers, organize weekly staff trainings for all members of staff, administration and running of the wine club. I am also responsible for the cigar selection and the organisation of Monthly winemaker's dinners with the likes of Chapoutier, Antinori.
The Menu in the restaurant of House 19 showcases great British classics with an elegant and innovative twist whereas one the Octagon is classic Pan-Asian. The Wine lists very different in each of the restaurant.
In the prior it evolves around the elegance, depth and rusticity of the older world. We sell primarily white and red Burgundies and Bordeaux. Having said that I don't believe that "mainstream" is particularly exciting so I enjoy having plenty of great charismatic Gems from around the globe.
Style matters more than region in the Octagon dining room. To match the very different cuisine influences we need wines with an aromatic character and a lot of freshness, high but ripe acidity. In the reds I look for Umami which I found mostly in unfiltered Pinot Noirs but also in some cool climate lightly structured grape varieties.
I love simple fresh food where nothing dominates the flavour of the base ingredient, as boring as it may sound. I am particularly fond of Game. I become incredibly impatient when approaching the grouse season. My favourite wines are those who speak for themselves, those of Fourrier in Burgundy for example.
Please tell us some background about yourself. How did you first become interested in wine, and how did that interest evolve into a career?
I have always had a passion for Gastronomy and authentic products. When I started working I was a whisky salesman. I was really fond of the product which lead me to taste professionally. When I started working in hospitality I discovered the complexity and extraordinary depth of the wine world.
What do you think makes a great sommelier?
A sommelier should be an excellent host. Altruistic, eager to share his/her passion, he/she should have a thorough knowledge of everything on offer, never be arrogant but very approachable. I believe that elegance is also key.
Describe your typical day at work.
In the morning I do everything that has to with stock management, I Have my meetings and tastings after Lunch service then I usually work on the wine list before Dinner service.
How does pricing affect the wine advice you give diners?
I believe that a sommelier should do nothing else than understand a customer's needs and favour loyalty over the restaurant's revenue.
Have customers become more knowledgeable about wine?
Yes I believe so. In my London experience customers here are much more curious. They ask questions rather than pretend to know (i.e. in France).
Who has been most influential in your career?
I think of two people. Laurent Chaniac, the wine buyer of the Cinnamon Club, Soho and Kitchen. He has always been very supportive and pushed me to study more and more. His passion for wine is also very inspiring. Jonathan Lyddon a close friend who has more than 30 years experience in the wine and spirit industry. He has always been a great mentor and of great help and guidance.
Describe a good sommelier's introduction or presentation of their list at a table.
It should be sound, clear and concise. When pairing 'Chef's' dishes with wines, what defines the process for you? Tasting is primordial. First I look at the dominant flavour, and then assess protein levels, richness and texture. A good wine pairing should see the wine shine.
How often do you manage to touch base and re-taste your wines?
At Home House the sommelier team tastes every wine they open which I believe insures two things. First no faulty wine should reach the table (ever) then it is a good way to refresh one's memory.
Please describe your process for sourcing new wines.
Apart from the classic white/red Burgundies and Bordeaux from top-producers, I look for wines that are expressive, balanced and that convey emotion. All the wines that make it to the wine list are also first tasted by the team of sommeliers.
Selling wines by the glass. Your thoughts please.
In these times where people are very cautious about how much they drink, especially at Lunch time, having a wide and interesting selection of wines by the glass is very important. Customer's seeking for a more gustative experience are always pleased when each of their dishes is matched with a different wine. It also helps to maintain GP.
What are you really thinking when a customer sends a perfectly good wine back?
There are many different circumstances but I believe no one should underestimate a customer's palate. Arguing is not something a sommelier is there for. However If I feel that the customer doesn't understand the wine I would politely offer to change wine.
What trends have you noticed in the wine market recently?
Loire wines have quite a lot of success at the moment.
You are on that deserted island. Which two varietals do you plant?
Varietals that evoke purity and elegance: Pinot Noir and Riesling.
What's the key to developing staff to become well-trained to sell and serve wine?
In my opinion passing on more than knowledge, developing a passion.
Do you have a favourite food and wine pairing?
A Pinot Noir with a lot of depth and complexity with a rare loin of venison.
And a most unusual food and wine pairing?
Black truffle with an old Mosel Riesling.
How can customers get the best out of you? What should they be prepared to tell you and what questions should they ask?
Customers are generally too proud or too afraid to ask questions sadly. So when they and whatever they ask it is always a very pleasant surprise.
Who is the one person you'd most like to share a bottle of wine with?
Those who have the most influenced me in my career!
How can budding wine enthusiasts practice their tasting skills at home? Any games, tricks, or tips?
Blind tastings is the best exercise.
What's the one thing you love most about your job?
That I am lucky enough for it to also be my passion. It is a chance that few people have.
Where do you see your future career path?
I would like to study wine production and work for a winery in the near future. After which I will resume my MS studies.