I lately have the chance to meet Enrico Bernardo.
He won the Best Sommelier of the World title in 2004 and has two restaurants and a wine shop in Paris.
I firstly knew the shop Champagne & Vins in Odeon where you can get very good advices if you’re not a wine specialist but you can do the difference between a good one and a second-rate.
I’m always walking in this area but now that I’m learning carpentry, my eyes were immediately caught by this wooden-structure cellar.
I’ve always been interested in good products and meeting the makers, so it was a beautiful opportunity to meet the man behind this high quality selection of champagnes & wines.
After a few emails, we finally met at The Goust, one of his restaurants.
What you may know…
At only 16 years old, Enrico Bernardo was elected Best Chef in Europe, then Best Sommelier in Italy.
His master and mentor was Giuseppe Vaccarini (Best Sommelier of the World in 1978). He discovered the profession with him.
He keeps a strong souvenir of their first time in a restaurant in Milan; Giuseppe was able to guess all the wines served, he could even knew how they’ve been conserved !
M. Bernardo held a series of trainings and at only 22 years old became the Chef Sommelier au Clos de la Violette in Aix-en-Provence.
A year later, he got a proposal from the prestigious Hôtel Georges V to be the Chef Sommelier of the restaurant Le Cinq.
There, he had carte blanche to build a wine cellar of 60 000 bottles (30 000 to sell/ 30 000 to stock).
In 2007, he finally opened his own table, Il Vino.
On the menu ? Only wines. Then, the head waiter chooses what go best with your wine.
“The idea was to place the wine as the main actor. The Chef, José Manuel Miguel, was not a superstar. The decor is uncluttered and the wine is highlighted as a solid-value.
Wine makes people happier. A lot of couples come here after their work and at the end of their dinner, we can notice a smooth ambiance. It’s a very cosy place“.
The first year of its opening, the place gets one Michelin Star. The consecration ?
“Not really. It was a great recognition for the all team but I’m never satisfied ! I always think I could have done better ! But it’s the proof that passion pays.
I work with passionate people. Not only in food, their interests go from tennis to desserts. That’s a team’s destiny“.
In 2012, the shop Champagne & Vins opens in Odeon.
(Don’t hesitate to go there if you want good advices or rare champagnes & wines at good price. Ugo is very helpful and if you like mineral champagne -with fine bubbles-, go for a Pierre Gimonnet, my favourite!..).
In 2013, Enrico Bernardo created Le Goust (1 Michelin Star*) which offers a Mediterranean-inspired gastronomy where you choose your dish and the sommelier the wine !
“This place was created to answer the demand of clients who wanted to opt themselves for their dishes.
The menu changes every 2 months and we work with seasonal products. The Chef is totally free to cook according to his inspirations“.
Do you have a purchasing policy ?
E.B. : Impulse purchases are my motivation. I yet try to buy 20% of new wines every year.
Which wine book would you advise for someone who wants to learn by his own ?
E.B. : The World Atlas of Wine by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson because you have a general approach. You can also find little books during Wine Fairs that explain easily the different AOC, variety of vines, regions…
What look do you take on World Wines ?
E.B. : In France, there’s a tradition as well as in Italy. But today, you can find very good wines from Europe : Austria, Hungary, Portugal and Germany especially. But also in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Argentina’s wine quality was climbing a few years ago, but now Chile overtakes the position in South America. And California has improved a lot its wine quality. They gained world recognition.
According to you, what’s a good wine ?
E.B. : It’s a permanent questioning. You have to stay awake. A good wine always have a mystery touch.
To what notions do you match wine ?
E.B. : To meetings. Wine is a simple means to meet new opportunities : a wine-grower, a vineyard, a local cooking…
If you should keep a single bottle. Which one would it be ?
E.B. : It would be a Château Margaux 1928. If I die tomorrow, I hope I could drink a bottle before !
M. Bernardo has kindly accepted this interview. He also invited me to lunch in his company at the Goust. Here are a few pictures…
Mise en bouche : Purée de choux-fleur et gelée de persil. Écume de haddock fumé
Servi avec : Champagne Brut Bruno Roulot (délicieux!)
Entrée : Tartare de thon rouge espagnol, mayonnaise de wasabi, œuf et coulis de mangue
Servi avec : Weissburgunder Pauly Mosel 2013
Plat : Suprême de volaille bourbonnaise au yuzu et caviar Baeri du printemps, ravioles farcies à la cuisse de poulet et au foie gras, mûres, écume de cacahuètes
Servi avec : Gevrey-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes Domaine des Beaumont
*** Fromage : Comté ***
Dessert : Millefeuille chocolat-vanille, framboises et sorbet à la noix de coco
Servi avec : Moscato d’Asti Giorgio Pelissero 2013
This sumptuous lunch was perfect.
My preferences went to the Champagne Bruno Roulot served with the appetizer, the tuna tartare : so fresh !, the chicken & foie gras ravioles : wonderful!!, the Gevrey-Chambertin red wine and the Comté (I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture, I totally forgot, it was with salty grains inside…Delicious !).
If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Paris, you won’t be disappointed !