When pondering an endless wine list in a smart restaurant, desperate to make the right choice, have you ever secretly wished that you had your own expert sommelier to make wine accessible? Sarment, which launched at the beginning of June, is just such a private sommelier service, and it promises to offer an extraordinary personal wine experience.
Bringing together some of the finest award-winning sommeliers from the world’s top restaurants, Sarment matches individual members to sommeliers whose personality and approach to wine complements their own tastes. It also offers tailor-made wine service available seven days a week from anywhere in the world. Membership allows you to stock your own wine cellar from scratch, build on an existing wine collection, plan for a special occasion, take advantage of Sarment’s collective buying power and connections, or simply arrange a private tasting. Whatever your preference, a private sommelier will become a trusted companion in offering advice on how best to invest in wine, how to fully enjoy it, and the finer points of cellar management.
Co-founder Bertrand Faure Beaulieu came up with the idea in 2004 when he had dinner at L’Etranger in London and met with Philippe Messy, the restaurant’s co-owner and head sommelier. Messy invited Beaulieu to broaden his tastes in wine and inspired him to explore new vintages out of his comfort zone. Beaulieu recalls, “I had found a sommelier who was not only empathetic and exceptionally talented, but was not afraid to challenge me. He was never patronizing—he simply had a passion for sharing great wine.”
It was this notion of a personal relationship between customer and sommelier that led Beaulieu and Messy to found Sarment together; they wanted to make accessible to wine lovers around the world. “I wanted to have the unbiased advice and privileged access to wine and wine makers through the best in the business, the world’s top sommeliers,” says Beaulieu. “I wanted a truly personal service.”
Sarment currently has offices in London and Hong Kong, with others in the United States, India, and China planned to follow. The sommeliers who make up the team along with Philippe Messy include Sébastien Chevalier from the Mandarin Oriental properties, Christopher Delalonde from the Square, and Gearoid Devaney from Tom Aikens.
Membership to Sarment is by invitation only, with no more than 75 memberships to be released globally this year. The small number allows the time and dedication to help each individual to enjoy and understand wine at a deeper level. You may want to learn more about tasting and how to enjoy your favourite wines, or you may wish to possess a finer understanding of wine buying and the subtle nuances that make certain wines exceptional. In all cases, you will be taken closer to the winemakers, the vineyards, and, most importantly, your ideal wines.