We get up close and personal with Michael Leitner, Chief Sommelier of Cé La Vi Singapore, who hails from Austria and is armed with 16 years of experience.
Why did you decide to become a sommelier?
I was born in a wine region. Therefore I was always in vineyards since I was a small kid, helping on harvest for several winemakers. After hotel school, I completed several wine courses, but most importantly – I’ve travelled all around the world to see different vineyards, regions and style of winemaking. I can really say that my hobby became my job.
Which country are you from and how many years have you been a sommelier?
I am 100% Austrian and have been the profession for 16 years in the industry.
What do you think makes a good sommelier?
Definitely knowledge, but that’s not everything. To me, it’s the most important to make the guest happy – recommending wines where the guest feels fully satisfied. Also, as a good sommelier, it is my job to create a balanced wine list, which suites the venue and clientele.
Our mission is also to educate people, and show them rare grape varieties and wines from not so well known countries. And of course to upsell, you can have the best knowledge but if you don’t know how to sell your wine…….
Tell us one thing about yourself that others may not know
Following our concept, all our bars and restaurants are located on rooftop of high iconic buildings. There is a little bit of irony that I am actually afraid of heights. Took me a while to get to really enjoy the view from up here, but now I’ve very much gotten used to it. I guess a glass of wine helped me to defeat my fear.
What is your thought process behind creating the wine list at Cé La Vi?
Creating a wine list depends on the style of food and the clientele you have. For example we have different list in Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok.
Back here at the 57th floor, we have a list very balanced on new and old world wines. This is due to the fact that we have a very international crowd. We also do wine pairings where we can play around with different grape varieties.
I am using the word we because I am supported by a very enthusiastic team of sommeliers.
Which is your favourite food and wine pairing at Cé La Vi
I do believe our seared Black Angus beef tataki goes extremely well with Petalos, Descendientes de J.Palacios, which is a 100% Mencia from Bierzo north of Spain. This full-bodied wine expresses refreshing acidity and offers a broad texture with fleshy tannins that matches the tataki with wafu sauce and black sesame extremely well. I also think the wine is a winner when it come value for money.
Address: 1 Bayfront Ave, 018971
Phone: 6688 7688