Emmanuel Cadieu is today the Head Sommelier of the "Cheval Blanc" Hotel in Paris, an astonishing new luxury hotel, house of the restaurant "Plenitude" (whose Chef is none other than Arnaud Donckele), that opened its door on the 7th of September this year.
Looking at his career path, it is no surprise that the LVMH owned palace decided to pick him to lead the wine program. With several years of experience working in different restaurants in France, under the managment of iconic sommellerie figures such as MOF Pascal Paulze or former USDF President Georges Pertuiset, Emmanuel decided to hop over to the UK, to spend two years as senior Sommelier of the 3 stars Michelin restaurant "Gordon Ramsay".
Later, Emmanuel spent 3 years in Australia, with the leading F&B group "Merival", under the managment of the great Franck Moreau MS. Then, after 2 years back in the UK, spent at the famous "67 Pall Mall" as Deputy Head Sommelier, he finally came back "home", in France, to join the Cheval Blanc team.
We had the chance to ask him a few questions (some slightly unconventional)...here are his answers (some might be very useful to wine reps !) :
Name : Emmanuel Cadieu
Nationality : French
Birth year : 1988
What region would you pick for a bottle of your vintage ? I would probably go for a Champagne as 1988 produced some great wines in that region.
What's for your favorite grape varietal ? and why ? I have a few favourites but if I had to choose only one it has to be Syrah. There is always a good balance between fruits, spices, savoury notes of smoked ham and charcuterie, along a fantastic ability to age well.
Any varietal you don’t get along well ? Pinot Gris. It sometimes lacks of balance, even if I've tasted a few good wines based on this variety.
What do you drink when you don't have a glass of wine in your hand ? A cold beer, a Cider or a good Sake.
Let's say you are alone, at home, what's your favorite casual food and wine pairing for dinner? I would love to answer old Comté and Vin Jaune but unfortunately I don't always have them both at home! So probably more italian wine and pizza.
What is your favorite wine region, not to drink, but to visit ? Douro Valley, the landscapes are fantastic but I usually can't do visiting them only for leisure, I have necessarily to visit a few producers too.
If you had to save one bottle from your cellar being on fire, which one would it be? Cote-Rotie Jamet 1988
Do you/Did you have a role model/a mentor in the wine/sommelier world? If so, who ? A few people helped me to get where I am : Jan Konetzki, former Head Sommelier at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and current Director of Wine at the Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square in London, Franck Moreau, Beverage Manager at Merivale in Sydney, Ronan Sayburn, Head of Wine at 67 Pall Mall. They all brought me something different in my careers and are all three really inspiring.
Best advice you ever received? Get out of your comfort zone in order to progress.
Imagine you have been cursed !! You are only able to drink 1 red wine and 1 white wine until your life ends. What would it be? A 1999 Hermitage by Jean-Louis Chave and a Terrantez from Luis d'Oliveira, I would probably let him pick the vintage as he has a wonderful collection of back vintages.
What is your next step/objective in the wine/sommelier world? Get the Master Sommelier certification.
Champagne, Cava or Franciacorta? I do love Champagne and there are always some fantastic producers to discover. Cava would come as a second choice as I'm a big fan of Recaredo.
Among your Champagne selection at the "Cheval Blanc" hotel, is there any "gems" that are usually hard to find for a sommelier? There are indeed. We managed to have a few Champagne on allocation such as Selosse, Salon, Emmanuel Brochet...etc.
What difference do you see in the preparation of the opening of this hotel compared to any other position you had in the past? Building a team from scratch is probably the biggest challenge. Making sure that you hire different personnalities and talents that form a solid team all together. You also need to be prepared to face any kind of last minute challenge, to have the ability to adapt yourself to those challenges and to be able to handle the pressure as this is a long awaited opening.
How do you process your wine selection in order to build the wine list for such a prestigious hotel as the "Cheval Blanc"? You need to have a balance between wine from well-known producers and great discoveries from more confidential regions. You also need to think about the global offering (cuisine, environnement, concepts of restaurants...) in order to build a coherent and comprehensive beverage program. Last but not least, price points are important too. I believe it is important to have a bottle for each palate and also for each budget.