Part 5: Musings on Wine and Taste. The final post reprising a 2010 magazine interview with one of my favourite people, sommelier Sebastien Le Goff who has worked in a few of Canada’s and Singapore’s finest restaurants.
Le Goff was inducted into BC’s Restaurant Hall of Fame in 2012 and is currently the Service Coordinator for Cactus Club.
Brix: When building a wine list, what is similar and different about Asian, Canadian and French preferences for wine?
SLG: Same: They drink a little bit more red than white even though the weather is warm, and they are price conscious. The young generation drinks wine with more alcohol—Malbec, Shiraz—as they would an aperitif or cocktail. The older clientele drink lighter wines, something that goes with the food. In the shop the decision is usually made by the lady; in a restaurant the man—funny enough.
Different: In Singapore there is no wine growing region. Everything is imported. So they are a little bit more open-minded to try new things. When you are in France it’s difficult to make the French drink anything but French wine. And it’s becoming a little bit the same in Canada where people are very proud of the Okanagan and the Niagara regions. Because of the locavore movement they demand those wines first and foremost. Here [in Singapore] we don’t have that.
Brix: Where is your favourite place to drink?
SLG: I have two. In Vancouver it’s my patio in Yaletown because I’ve got a view of the mountains and False Creek. In Singapore the weather is always like 30 plus. I just love to take a bottle of wine in a chiller and drink by my apartment pool.
Brix: In France?
SLG: My mom’s back yard. That’s the best.
Brix: What is the best wine you’ve consumed in the past year ?
SLG: In Beijing on my last evening the Chef and I opened a bottle of 2002 Armand Rousseau Clos de Beze—a red wine from Burgundy. I doubt that I’ve drunk anything better this year, but I’d better delve into a few more bottles to double check. It was an amazing bottle of wine—really delicate, complex, perfumy and just [here Sebastien kisses his fingertips in that quintessential Gallic gesture].
Brix: Which wines do you keep on hand at home?
SLG: I always have two bottles of Champagne in the fridge–Billecard-Salmon Brut Rosé, Pierre Paillard—something like that.
Brix: Which varietals do you believe merit more attention or less?
SLG: Pinotage from South Africa should be forgotten. I’ve never had a good one. Since I moved back here [Singapore], because it’s so hot I really like Semillon.
Brix: What is your most memorable wine experience?
SLG: Oh la. That’s a tough one. In Vancouver we had a group of wine geeks and once in a while we used to meet. For a couple of those dinners the wine line-up was pretty spectacular. But I think the single one-up was when I went back home to France for the birth of my nephew.
We had a simple wine from the Basque region. It was just the three of us and we were so happy to celebrate that my brother Nicolas had become a father, I an uncle, and my mother Solange a grandmother. I think that’s what made it special.
Brix: So places and people add character to wine?
SLG: Yes, for me. That’s most important, I think. You can have an average wine just by yourself and that same bottle, if you share it with someone special it becomes [again Sebastien kisses his fingertips].