Judge profile: Xavier Rousset MS
Xavier Rousset MS is a restaurateur, entrepreneur and award-winning sommelier, with four London-based restaurants and one private members’ club, TRADE Soho.
How many wines do you have on your wine lists?
The wine list really depends on the restaurant. At Cabote we’ve got about a thousand – especially in Burgundy, Blandford Comptoir has about 200 specialising in the Rhone, and TRADE members’ club has a black book list with 50 different wines that we keep changing.
Are there any countries or regions you’re looking to expand upon?
The region I’m looking to expand upon is Assyrtiko from Santorini. At the moment it’s really trendy, I’m tasting more, and it’s quite fascinating. Piedmont is another area I’m looking into as well.
What makes French wine so special?
The balance: I love the freshness and acidity. I’m not massively keen on high alcohol wines that are full of oak, which nowadays in France and elsewhere people tend to reduce. The drinkability is what I’m after.
Are there any regions in France that you think are increasing in quality or popularity?
I think Beaujolais is doing well at the moment. The Gamay is getting more and more popular with better winemaking, and less oak which I think makes it better.
Why do you choose to be a wine judge?
It’s always good to meet your peers and discuss wine, calibrate your palate with others, and taste new wines you don’t necessarily come across at work.