Me and Jullen, we first meet at the China Tang bar in the Dorchester Hotel. I was brought by a common friend and colleague at the time. There, sipping a generous glass of Champagne, the subtle ripe apple fragrances of my glass of Louls Roederer was gently mixing with the less subtle perfume of sexy escorts lazing at the low tables around the bar. It’s in that atmosphere of gentle jazz, dim light and expensive shiny balts waiting for their big city fish that friendship started.
Who We Are
1982: The year the computer was voted ‘Man of the Year’. The year you and your friend could cycle through the sky past the moon. The year a bottle of Petrus would have cost you $50. All of that I didn’t realise until many years later, 22 more precisely, when my grandfather announced in an emotional voice, “Josselin, this is the last bottle we had stored from when you were born”.
My closest cousin’s birthday, 1993, was a shock: not all wines are born equals. Though, I never paid much attention to the wine my grandfather kept pouring me until I lost to everybody at the traditional post-lunch, family game of table tennis! But it was the year I moved to Her Majesty’s country and somewhere in between the Yellow Tail at BBQs and glasses of bubbly that make girls lose their shoes, the inner French in me realised that something wasn’t right. So, ni une ni deux, I took my beret and my scarf and enrolled onto a wine course. Today I wouldn’t exactly define myself as a connoisseur, but at least I know what I like.
If I was a grape, I would be a Riesling: expect the unexpected – sweet in one bottle, crisp and sharp in the next one.
In DOB I was decanted from my mother in Auvergne, France, a region renowned for its cheese. My passion for wine didn’t mature until I was in my 20s, but my palate certainly developed during my teens. My grandfather was given 20 cases of Alsace Riesling when the guy he sold his tractor to a man who couldn’t make the payment in cash. Thus began a brave experiment in viniculture as we drank the same wine at Christmas for six years! With each year, though, I noticed how the wine had slightly changed and I was fascinated, I resolved to learn more about this complex evolutionary process, as well as drinking more and varied wines.
I studied restaurant management after graduating. I ventured into the food industry, working in France, Switzerland, Canada and now London (where I helped teach the natives that wine comes in more varieties than red and white). Including the Michelin starred Hibiscus and finally China Tang at the Dorchester. In 2014 I helped launched Wine Culture, a website for the gastronomist to develop the culture of food and wine from the eyes of the people working within the industry. Then followed Gourmet Culture, which is an e-commerce platform selling high-quality wines and food products at competitive prices.
And now my new project is Wine Picker, which will open up the world wine in restaurants and their meal at home for customers. It’ll be helpful for me, we only have ten bottles of my grandfather’s wine, and I need to know what to serve at Christmas !
If I were a grape, I’d be probably a chardonnay. As like me, it is tasteful when naked or dressed with perfume coconuts oak.