Florent Martin, wine sommelier

In the glass, the wine is red, garnet, almost ruby. “You have to observe the intensity of the color, imagine the grape. This color indicates the degree of maturity of the wine ‘, advance Florent Martin. Well installed in one of the lounges of the Peninsula Hotel, very close to the Arc de Triomphe, this Saturday, October 2, this tasting professional is revealing his secrets. “We look at the viscosity. The denser it is, the richer the wine will be in alcohol. And, if the contours are tinted, the wine is aged. Purplish, they reveal a younger wine. ”

Speaking of experience, in a calm voice, the sommelier is only 34 years old. But an impressive track record, crowned, on May 31, by the title of best sommelier of France 2020, the competition having had to be postponed because of the pandemic. A prestigious title that the young man had been aiming for for a long time. No less than four finals for the best sommelier in France, one final for the best young sommelier in France and two for Meilleur Ouvrier de France. A marathon started in 2010. Florent was then only 23 years old.

The aromas of his father’s bakery

Born in Paris, he grew up in Seine-et-Marne and then moved to Ajaccio. It was in Corsica that he studied at the Finosello vocational high school, in catering, service, wine in particular. It is also there that he discovers, on television, the tasting competitions. “I see sommeliers thrive by blind tasting wines, I found that fabulous”, says Florent Martin. He reproduces, at home, the staging, the gestures.

“You don’t need a competition to be a good sommelier. A competition is a lot of work. They are a little different athletes who have to be persistent. »Jean-Luc Jamrozik, President of the Association of Sommeliers of Paris

“I remember that someone gave my mother a Saint-Emilion, surely bought in a supermarket. I was 17 and I acted as in the reports, I had a nice drink, I tasted, I tried to imagine the aromas. ” Florent knew quite a bit about aromas, having grown up in his father’s bakery. Even today, his references borrow from his memories. “We ate lots of sweets, and I often evoke the aromas of zan for old Carignans, bergamot for riesling, Tagada strawberries or even the tangy of Harlequin. “

Florent Martin won the Georges-Baptiste Cup – a competition reserved for catering professionals and hotel school students – at the French level in 2004 and then at European level in 2005. Then worked as a sommelier for prestigious addresses, such as the Auberge de l ‘ Ill, in Alsace, Claridge’s in London, Louis XV in Monte-Carlo … to finish in Paris, where he joined the restaurant Le Cinq, of the Four Seasons George-V, and finally the Peninsula, where he is now chef sommelier.

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