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Ask a somm: Christopher Lecoufle, GM & head sommelier, Les 110 de Taillevent

Published:  17 September, 2019

Its sister restaurant in Paris has two Michelin stars and London’s Les 110 de Taillevent aspires to similar heights with its modern French food and impressive wine list.

With 110 wines offered by the glass, it leads the way in offering customers a broad selection of wines to dip in and out of during their meal. This approach is championed by general manager and head sommelier Christopher Lecoufle, who offers his tips on building a wine list and suggests some wines to enjoy this autumn.

What mistakes do restaurants most often make when serving or selling wine?

The biggest mistake I have come across is the temperature of wine at service; many restaurants do not have enough storage and so they end up serving the wine at the same temperature as the restaurant and sadly this can ruin a good dish and a good wine.

What tips can you offer to start-up restaurants in terms when putting together their wine list?

From my own experience I would say have lots of wine by the glass once you have an understanding your customers’ needs. Having only a small number of wines by the bottle will limit your initial costs.

What are the biggest 'faux pas' that customers tend to make when ordering and drinking wine?

The biggest faux pas when drinking wine will be to sometimes open the bottle too early. It can be very disappointing when a wine is drunk too young before its full potential can be shown.

What are the best value wine regions on a list?

I have recently been surprised by the quality of Spain and South Africa; the value and diversity they offer between white, red and sweet wines is great.

Which wines are perfect for autumnal drinking?

Autumn is one of the most exciting seasons for me; we start to receive the beautiful butternut squash, pumpkin and turnips and they are perfect with a Roussanne or Marsanne from the Rhone valley due to their lower acidity and great intensity. Game is also arriving – those beautiful Grouse and Partridge from Scotland – these go well with a savoury Grenache, or a spicy red. Italian reds can be a great pairing too. I have in my mind Barbaresco Pajè 2009, a remarkable expression of the Nebbiolo grape from Luca Roagna.