Congratulations to Mikaël Grou, victorious in Gaggennau’s Sommelier Awards 2018. At the final, the five young and up and coming sommeliers competed against each other in tasks that tested their knowledge, skill, ability and composure. Mikaël Grou vied for the winning title after completing the tasks with dynamism and flair.
Mikaël Grou, France
I was studying hospitality in France because I wanted to be a chef. Then I met a teacher on the course who was also a sommelier and he really gave me the passion for the job. That’s how I got my start in wine. The teacher’s enthusiasm was infectious, and made me change course from food to wine. He said to be a good sommelier, you have to know how to act on the floor as it’s a performance, and understand the whole theatre around the wine. He pushed me to go to the right places, like Le Cinq in Paris, where I stayed for seven years, starting as a trainee and ending as assistant head sommelier. You also have to have humility to be a great sommelier – no one knows everything. Also, you need to be able to really taste the wine properly and break down every detail and the appellation of the vintage. You have to understand your guests, and explain the taste and colour and budget of wine. And all within a very quick time because more often than not, you’ll probably be in a busy restaurant or bar.
When I think about what wine means to me, I love the historical aspect – the monks who identified the best terroirs and cru. Can you believe they did that without any technology long ago and we still have the same borders and areas today? Whether it’s from the new world or not, the technology still hasn’t changed. For me, wine is always about the stories, elements and people behind a glass. In fact, it’s everything but the liquid!