Q&A: Jacques Savary de Beauregard, head sommelier, Home House
Helen Arnold talks to Jacques Savary de Beauregard, head sommelier, at the member’s only and achingly cool media hangout Home House in London’s West End.
How long have you been at Home House and how does it differ from other places you’ve worked?
“I have been working in fine dining venues across Europe for over six years. I started my career in France and have worked in Ireland, Luxembourg and now London. I have a Diploma from the WSET and am currently studying for a Master Sommelier qualification. I have been at Home House for two years and it is without doubt the most stunning environment I have worked in. The members at Home House make it a really special as they are well educated, respectful and a tad eccentric.”
Do you specialise in any particular country or regions?
“I am responsible for three different wine lists of which 65-70% of the wines included are French. When deciding on wines for the remaining 30% I try to include wines from all regions. Our best selling wines include Sancerre, white Burgundies and Left Bank Bordeaux.
And what about wines by the glass?
We serve 12 still wines and three sparkling wines by the glass in the five different bars we have at Home House. We also have two restaurants: The Restaurant in House 19 serves classic British cuisine and The Octagon restaurant in House 21 serves Pan-Asian – the restaurants are very different so we have developed different wine lists to complement the food served in each.
To accompany the pan-Asian menu we offer eight additional wines by the glass and three sparkling wines. In The Octagon we serve 10 wines and three sparkling wines by the glass.
Our most expensive wine is Petrus 1994 priced at £1,840. House wines are priced at £23.50 and change seasonally. We offer a house Italian Fiano, which is aromatic and fresh. Our house red is a soft Castelao from Setubal in Portugal is very pure and expressive.
Is there anything about the wine/spirits offering at Home House that you are planning on changing in the near future?
“Our sales of Champagnes are enormous; we are the largest independent outlet in the UK of our current Champagne supplier. We sell 60 bottles of our House Champagne every day. I am working on creating a growers’ Champagne wine list apart from the Grandes Marques we have on offer.”
Are cocktails popular and if so what sells well?
“Classic and signature cocktails are very popular throughout the house. Especially in House 21, the more contemporary part.”
Who are your typical customers? Are they well educated when it comes to wine? Or do they like some guidance?
“Home House attracts a lot of media types and our typical customers age range is between 35 and 55 - and affluent with it. The majority of our customers are well educated when it comes to wine, though they do like to explore new regions, therefore I always ensure there are a few surprises on the list too.”
Do you enjoy working somewhere which has such a high media profile, and dealing with celebrity visitors? Who is your favourite ‘celebrity’ guest and why?
“It can be exciting working somewhere with such a high media profile, however when it comes down to it we treat every guest in the same manner so celebrity status doesn’t really matter. Brian Johnson (of AC/DC fame) had dinner with us very recently and the staff had a great evening with him. He was extraordinarily friendly, very funny and generous.”
What is the most frustrating aspect of your job?
“I find working with people who don’t take pride in what they do frustrating. Many people who work in hospitality do it for the wrong reasons. It is an industry for passionate professionals in my opinion. But the best is living for my passion.”
What would your Desert Island wine be? And who would you share it with?
“I am a great fan of Vin de Constance, it was Napoleon’s desert island wine (when he was extradited to Sainte-Hélène). Having said that a wine that always amazes me is the Syrah, Domaine Romeaux Destezet from Ardeche. It is ethereal, pure and incredibly perfumed. I often describe it as an ‘essence of Syrah’. I have already enjoyed it with a few people, but I would love to share it with the winemaker.”