Alden Jacques

How long have you been at the restaurant?

Since the restaurant opened in 2013.

What attracted you to become a sommelier?

My love for wine. If I remember well, wine is the first alcoholic drink I had so you can call it my first – please don’t ask my age when I had it! Working in the industry gave me opportunities to try many different wines from all over the world which made me more passionate as I was tasting and discovering all the wines I would come across.

Where did you do your training?

WSET London and in Dubai as well as visiting different vineyards in Bordeaux, Burgundy, & Champagne.

What would you say were the essential skills required to be a sommelier?

To be passionate about and love wines.

What wines complement your personal favourite three course meal and why?

There are so many and can differ according to the place and the company I am with. At Kaspar’s I would like to enjoy Amontillado Sherry with Lobster Bisque, Chassagne Montrachet 1er with Dover Sole and a 20 years old Tawny Port with my Blue Cheese.

What are your thoughts on the “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish” age-old debate?

It is an age-old debate which will always remain in debate; most probably one of the reasons for the discovery of the Sommelier.

It is no longer considered as a wine paring rule, you should eat and drink what you like, but there are some guidelines to be considered for wine and food pairing e.g. while choosing white wine with red meat you can look for a nice full bodied Burgundy or a Napa Valley Chardonnay with good oak flavours, if you are having seafood or white meat there are lighter reds like Burundian or New Zealand’s Pinot Noir with lesser tannin and good acidity.

How does the choice of the right wines complement the different food courses served?

The wine is paired to enhance the flavour of a dish. It is important to consider the balance between the components of a dish and the characteristics of a wine.

What’s the best part of your job?

Visiting vineyards and discovering different wines, having an opportunity to try one of the greatest wines, meeting people – most importantly my guests, understanding their needs while suggesting the wine to compliment their meal.

And the worst?

There is nothing which I don’t like.

What is the unusual wine that you have ever tasted and why?

It was during my recent visit to Champagne Gosset, I had an opportunity to try Gosset 1979. The amount of freshness in this Champagne was amazing with a fair amount of fizz, lovely maturity with a very long finish and full of flavours which can’t get out of my head – truly an amazing Champagne.

What is the most money that you’ve ever seen spent on a single bottle?

Dom Perignon P2 1998.

How many wines do you have?

Around 250.

How often do you find that customers complain about wine being corked and – in your opinion – how often do you think that they are right?

It is rare, most of the time I would notice before my guest. It has happened few times when my guests have smelled cork and were almost right, even though I would rather open different bottle to keep my guests happy. Since the increase in the use of synthetic corks and screw caps the chances are much less.