Interview With A Sommelier – Lucas Reynaud-Paligot

13th December 2023

Interview With A Sommelier Lucas Reynaud-Paligot

The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.

In this feature, I speak with a man from, England, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Lucas Reynaud-Paligot, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“My name is Lucas Reynaud-Paligot but some people know me as @lucas_wine_uk. I was born and raised in Lyon, France. I turned 27 a couple of months ago and have been living and working in the UK for the last 6 years. My journey into hospitality started at the beginning mainly for summer jobs and in time, it turned out that I really enjoyed it. So, here I am.

As a shy person, I first thought it would suit me to work in the kitchen, but that didn’t last for a long time. I realised quite soon that I did not want to be a chef, the desire to be the person eating in the restaurant rather than cooking was too strong. So I decided to move to the front of house side where I spent some time working behind the bar and on the floor as a waiter, this gave me a better opportunity to understand the dynamics between all of the different areas of the business.

I always believed in Michelin star restaurants; I had great opportunities to work in one- and three-Michelin star restaurants. After some time in Lyon, Chef Pierre Orsi sent me to England, to the countryside at the Vineyard Hotel to improve my English, confidence and to open my mind to the world of wine.

Following this and after a couple of experiences in other restaurants, I joined Hélène Darroze at The Connaught in October 2019 as a Sommelier. I had the pleasure and privilege of being a part of the team working in the restaurant when we received the third Michelin star. The experience is something that I’ll always remember, everything changed and yet, the standard had been set, and it was our job to maintain and excel to that standard every day, with this new pressure and spotlight on us. After hard work and a lot of commitment, I was promoted to Assistant Head Sommelier six months ago.”

Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?

“I tasted English sparkling six years ago when I arrived at The Vineyard Hotel.

Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs and Gusbourne Blanc de noirs were the first ones. We had 100 wines by the glass, between Champagne/Sparkling, White wine, Red wine, Sweet/Fortified wine.”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“I consider myself to be a humble epicure, I needed to fill my cup as you might say. The inspiration came from sharing moments with guests on the floor. I love the storytelling role of a sommelier, in my opinion, it is almost as important as the technical knowledge required. Working at Pierre Orsi I had the pleasure to work with Patrick Desmurs and Alexandre Gonzales and during my time at Vineyard Hotel with Roman Bourger, these great people gave me the possibility to develop my knowledge and taste of wine, while I honed my personal style of Sommelier on the floor.”

During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Had The Pleasure Of Learning?

“What continues to surprise me every day it is the offer of the Wine World between all the different styles of fermentation and vinification in Stainless Steel, Oak barrel, Concrete etc… also the new grapes and crosses, but maybe what is the most incredible it is the expansion of the new appellation, new region and sub-regions of the New World areas. How the impact of the climate, soils and type of harvest will affect the taste of the wine. Being a Sommelier is a real nightmare from the never-ending learning point, but it is endlessly fascinating.”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“I do sometimes recommend English sparkling wines, lately I’ve been enjoying Hundred Hills from Oxfordshire. I visited the production a year ago with the Sommelier Team of The Connaught Hotel; the vineyard, the tour, the philosophy and the approach were interesting and definitely something to keep an eye on in the coming years.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“To be a Sommelier you need to be many things; curious, humble, passionate, open minded, empathetic, and a great story teller who thrives while working under pressure.

The sommelier world is very big and competitive, don’t rush it, fine wines take years of nurturing; from planting the roots to harvesting the grapes and eventually, bottling. You can rush the process, but if you do then you’ll never end up with a premiere cru. Treat yourself with the same respect.”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“You can find me enjoying a Glass of Bubbly at
• The Vineyard Hotel, Stockcross, Newbury
• Comptoir Café and Wine, Mayfair
• La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
• Red Room at The Connaught Hotel”

Thank you, Lucas, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Lucas Reynaud-Paligot. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.