Portrait of one of our sommeliers-partners : Luc Delisle, from champagne to coffee
The subject often comes up in our meetings with sommeliers and wine experts: as wine becomes more globally popular, fans change and a whole new generation grows up and educates itself. This is certainly great news for the future of the wine market at a time when so many factors give us concern for the future, from climate change to the crisis involving the European markets.
Recently this wave has created a whole new field of practice for sommeliers graduating from the most recent promotions at various schools throughout Quebec: the event creators. This week we introduce you to one of those practitioners who have the talent to marry wine appreciation with showmanship and social skills.
A somehow lapsed ex-soldier
From the moment he enters the room, he begins talking about wine, abundantly and eloquently. Because we recently asked him to recommend a Canadian wine, he launches into the subject by evoking the splendour of the Okanagan, speaking of Mont Boucherie and its volcanic ground, glorifying Osoyoos Larose he considers equal to great Bordeaux. He gets animated, he narrates and you can feel that he literally tastes his souvenirs. Then, we remind him that he is primarily here to talk about himself …
“Oddly enough, I have a military background and I was even a truck driver. Let’s say I was searching for my a way for while, testing the ground, trying to find out what interested me. On the other hand, there was one constant: I always loved wine. As my father worked all his life for the SAQ where I followed him, there was a pattern. In addition, I had a grandmother who cooked gourmet meals and would bring her dishes to American soldiers who were installed near her home. By developing my love of wine with French friends, I realized that I loved as much talking about what I was drinking that I loved drinking it. I had found my way… “
Having trained as a sommelier at the École hôtelière de la Capitale, he wanted to share what he had learned in a different context and quickly started his wine animation business, Luc Delisle Sommelier, rapidly investing the web with his original offer of animated thematic tastings.
Wine and sushi
“For me, wine has to go with food and I quickly realized that it was important that I associate with a chef. That’s why I picked Laurent Anne as a partner. From that moment, I was able to create gastronomic events where food and wine pairings would revolve around the selected bottles rather than the opposite. I start inventing starting from the wine, its texture, its intensity, its aromas and I created an inverted course from what we usually know. In this way, the wine receives all the light it deserved and became the first element of the event. “
Luc Delisle, who likes daring matches, even created sushi and wine events that have become legendary.
“I thought it was important to do so. After all, sushi has become a staple of contemporary gastronomy. I recruited an established sushi chef and and gave me the challenge to create the perfect matches. It’s a very entertaining endeavour for me, being someone who likes to be unseated by new discoveries. “
This summer, he offers a home wine-barbecue event with the help of a grill chef. The duo goes to customers homes and the food is grilled on site, in a climate of celebration that Luc compares to a tailgate party.
The dynamics of animating a group
The sommelier-animator admits however that he was a shy guy before discovering his talents to entertain groups.
“I need to know who I am dealing with for me to adjust, whether in front of stiffer people at a corporate event or looser ones experiencing a warmer moment amongst friends. By understanding what makes up a specific group, I become very comfortable in public. “
He explains that all groups have very specific dynamics that are conditioned by the people that forms them.
“There is always the one person who is constantly trying to be funny, you have to laugh with him while keeping pace. There are of course the shy ones that you need to take in carefully so that they feel integrated. The ones you strive for are the passionate ones, they will energize you while you are searching for the right tonality. I like being asked questions and I don’t mind not having all the answers. It is essential to have the humility to flow with the connaisseurs, because there is always someone in a group who really has all the answers. You learn to play with all the pieces of the puzzle and it’s fine that way. “
As he says himself, no one is a sommelier right out of school and it is with discussions and exchanges that one can perfect his knowledge.
Recently, he realized his childhood dream of doing TV and use his knowledge as well as his sense of entertaining by doing segments about wine on V-Télé as part of «Aubaines et Cie» hosted by Josée Turmel and Benoît Gagnon.
Mad about champagne
He openly declares himself a fan of champagne and explains that if he was sent to a desert island with only one kind of wine to drink, he would certainly ask for it to be champagne!
“I lived a unique tasting experience with a Dom Perignon 1959. Obviously it had no fizz anymore and was somewhat vinous but it still kept its very distinct taste and freshness. It was wonderful! “
He also organized an event for a client with a tasting menu of 7 services and only champagne pairings; he admits he particularly loved the research and remembers an amazing creamed guinea fowl cooked in champagne.
“Bubbles are always electrifying and it makes the atmosphere become particularly festive. Often when I serve champagne I offer the people to pop the cork with a sabre. It has quite an effect. “
When asked what his classic champagne would be, the one who is, to him, always perfect in every circumstance, he does not hesitate and says Krug with a smile.
Getting involved with coffee
Strangely, this lover of champagne has recently turned towards a different liquid which does not necessarily have the same regal qualities : coffee.
Since last spring, he is the co-owner of a high-end roasting company, TorreMondo.
“One day I started to wonder about an amazing fact. I was flabbergasted that, after having devoted considerable energies to create exceptional menus and establish the perfect wine pairings, most restaurants would finish a meal with an insipid generic coffee. It seemed nonsensical that the last impression of a great moment of pleasure would be something mundane and uninteresting. “
Considering the work being done in Quebec for 20 years to democratize wines, it was time for him to do the same thing with coffee. With a friend who also wanted to serve quality coffee after a meal, he got involved in all the processes, from the selection of grains to the conservation and distribution patterns.
“We create custom blends, according to each customer’s needs, their menus and their clients’ profiles. Customer have access to a wide varieties of beans before roasting and then can ask us to adjusts the procedure, time, temperature, that we will apply to the coffee, allowing a variety of possibilities. “
Based in Lévis for now, TorreMondo will open shop on trendy Plateau Mont-Royal in Montreal shortly.
From the first glass of bubbly to the very last cup, we can easily say that Luc Delisle cares about the total dining experience. In addition, he offers classes and workshops and does wine cellar management, certainly enjoying a breathless pace in his life. He even finds a way to be a partner of Alfred, understanding our issues because he himself uses complex databases in the management of coffee.
One can also wonder, with all his activities, where he will find time to drink champagne just for fun.
To reach Luc Delisle, you can do it through his Website, via phone, at 418 922-1227 or email at email@example.com.