One Bottle at a Time

Each month we ask Guillaume Celante Sommelier Ambassador of The Wine Merchant and our resident wine writer to tell us about his favourite wines he is drinking. Each month he will ask some of the best sommeliers from around the world to join him and give their seasonal bottle must buy list! 

This month, Guillaume was joined by Antoine Simonnet, Chief Sommelier Le Normandie by Alain Roux at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok.

Here is your one-stop shop for your cellar based on seasonality and small producers. With tasting notes, food pairing recommendations and more, you can build your own interest of wine with One Bottle at a Time.


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Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Brut Rosé 2008

Grapes: 55% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and the Grande Vallée de la Marne 45% Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs.

Region: Champagne, France

Since 1818, the house Billecart-Salmon has cultivated a 100 hectare estate in the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, and the Côte des Blancs, obtaining grapes from 300 hectares of land covering 40 crus of Champagne area.

Their proof of quality was already made a while ago, and they have never stopped surprising me.

This time I’ve been particularly lucky as it seems that every detail of this cuvée was made at perfection. Created in 1988 as a tribute to Elisabeth Salmon, one of the House’s founders, this cuvée 2008 was celebrating the 20 years anniversary of its release. It was also an incredible year in Champagne, especially for the Pinot Noir.

Champagne is always about emotions, and Cheffe Anne-Sophie PIC, honorary godmother of the Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon 2008 knows how to perfectly talk about it:

“ The Billecart-Salmon is the historic champagne of my father’s house. It was one of the first champagnes I tasted and often signified a celebration.  When I tasted the Elisabeth Salmon 2008 at my home in Valence, it brought up a lot of emotions: there is a lot of depth to this wine. I loved its energy and vigor, so harmonious and balanced, with a perfect mix of vinous and chalky tones. To accompany this wine, I imagine fresh brown crab. This dish plays on the duality of freshness and complexity, which resonates with the Elisabeth Salmon 2008’s Chardonnay freshness and Pinot Noir vinosity. I think the perfect place to enjoy this cuvée would be with the table d’hôte from my restaurant’s white kitchen. It’s something really unique to experience together!”

Jean-Louis Chave Sélection Crozes-Hermitage "Silène" 2018

Grapes: 100% Syrah.

Region: Rhone Valley, France

Established on the Hermitage terroir in 1481, the Chave family commands respect and admiration from all wine lovers and winegrowers around the world. Jean-Louis, who took over from his father Gérard at the end of the 2000s, continues this line of “winegrowers-peasants” as he likes to define himself.

Discreet, affable, modest, he never advances with certainty or launches into a peremptory speech; on the contrary, he strives to continue to learn and to seek to understand the complexity of a terroir that fascinates him. His last project: Saint-Joseph, where he brought back to life hillsides that had been forgotten because they were too difficult to work. On the cellar side, Jean-Louis also prefers long silences to final speeches.

On the Hermitage, only two cuvées, one white and one red, come out of the estate, reflecting the historical principle of hill wines, a blend of complementary terroirs.

The legendary Cathelin cuvée, produced in certain great vintages only, is no longer sold. A decision taken by Jean-Louis who thus wanted to break the speculation that he considered unreasonable around these bottles.

“I take great care to ensure that my wines are drunk, and at the right time,” insists this lover of gastronomy, fine products and food and wine pairings. Serving fewer customers but better, offering fine wines and ensuring that they end up in the glasses of amateurs, this is the new workhorse of this winemaker of the year.

Saying that, here is a label more affordable in terms of budget but also in terms of time.

Master of syrah in northern Rhone, he shows us another interpretation of Syrah of which he is one of the undisputed masters. The classic style of this wine is lovely, made of a pleasant balance between aromas of fruity and spices, and a great suppleness of body. This Crozes-Hermitage ‘Silène’ 2018 has an aromatic quality that lifts the intense bramble fruit core to another level. Notes of tapenade and spice are set against fresh acidity and fondant tannins, giving lovely length.

Antoine Simonnet

Chief Sommelier Le Normandie by Alain Roux at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Bangkok.


Antoine Simonnet – Chief Sommelier at Le Normandie by Alain Roux grew up in south-west of France learning about wine from his dad at a young age. His passion for wine has led him to attend hospitality school in Lyon and develop his knowledge of Michelin-star restaurants throughout the world. Now he gives us his top wine picks for February.

NV Extra Brut, Largillier, Guillaume S. Selosse

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir.

Region: Champagne, France

In 2012, Guillaume embarked on a second cuvée of Champagne, Largillier which is planted on a specific terroir: Kimmeridgian chalk (same as Chablis). Sons and daughters from big winemakers are either taking over or going on their own path. With this flowing wine we have a pretty good example of it since Guillaume made his first champagne vintage in 2009.

We can feel out of the glass a deep and complex bouquet of ripe peach, walnuts, pears and mirabelle plum, complemented by hints of almond paste and light curry, it’s full-bodied, rich, concluding with a saline finish.

2018 Auslese Cuvée, Kracher

Grapes: Chardonnay  (60%) & Welschriesling (40%)

Region: Burgenland, Austria

Rather than the wine I was more pleasantly surprised with the vineyard itself. I chose one particular wine from them to illustrate my discovery. A friend of mine brought this wine to me while we were working on a dessert pairing. We tried many wines from the following house, but this one stood out.

This wine is fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks for 11 months. Colour is pale yellow with silver reflections. On the palate we can feel some ripe yellow peach, pineapple, and fine honey touch.

What I also like is the aftertaste left after. Clear white and jasmine tea that bring a little bit of bitterness allowing the sweetness not to be overwhelming.
That gives the possibility to pair it with any yellow fruit based dessert without being too heavy.


Grapes: Syrah  (100%) 

Region: Rhone, France

Domaine Andre Perret is one of the first vineyards I ever visited, while I was doing my training to be a sommelier in Rhone Valley. I remember I came for a morning tasting and left around 5pm because Andre invited me for lunch with him, one of the warmest welcomes I experienced. After harvest, wine is held in a stainless barrel for 3 weeks before being stored in barrels for 12 month.

Dark and intense purple color with some rubis reflections. Nose and palate will provide some great aromas of cherry, raspberries as well as spices such as white pepper. Tannins remain velvety. This is maybe one of the best examples of a French syrah: Juicy and meaty. It will accompany any red meat or platter of cheese to end up a meal.

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