Uncorked: Chris Goodale

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Chris Goodale head sommelier Julie's restaurant West London

Related tags Chris Goodale Julie's Uncorked Wine Sommelier

The head sommelier of recently relaunched Holland Park restaurant Julie’s on Georges Remy, Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix and the need for more inventive vocabulary.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
Growing up, my father often told various romantic stories surrounding different beverages that he has enjoyed with my mother at home. Listening to these stories and experiencing his deep enthusiasm when speaking about wine and spirits fostered a similar enthusiasm in me over time, leading me to take my first wine-oriented job at Vagabond Wines while at university.

Describe your wine list at Julie’s
The list at Julie’s reflects the passion for wine that our guests hold, alongside our own personal favourites from all over the world. From classic to eclectic, our by-the-glass offering reflects the seasonal shift in our gastronomic offering from the kitchen as the months go by, making sure no customer is ever stuck for choice for a wine and food pairing regardless of taste or preference.

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 
The biggest one has to be dropping a bottle of La Romanée, Thibault Liger Belair 2012 within my first month of working at The Arts Club. At the time it cost about £650 a bottle. It still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it.

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
I’ve got to include The Five Fields here – such a joy to work from when I worked there a few years ago, including many rare finds from chef patron Taylor Bonnyman’s own collection. With the guidance of head sommelier Nuno Pereira, there’s no one that could leave unhappy with whatever they choose. Other fabulous wine lists would also include the extensive and rare selection of wines at The Connaught, run by the fabulous head sommelier Lucas Reynaud-Paligot. It is a sight to behold. Thirdly, I love the rotating selection at Lady of The Grapes – a wine bar in Covent Garden that has an excellent range of wines from the natty and funky, to the clean and traditional. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 
The hard work and labour that goes into making every bottle, from the vineyard to the winery. There is a monumental level of knowledge and experience that is needed just to produce a mediocre bottle of wine, let alone the high-value bins. It is a work of magic for those responsible to combine a combination of geography, geology, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, astronomy, tradition, and likely many other fields of knowledge between planting a vine and selling the finished product.

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently?
There have been a few bottles that spring to mind – Chateau Changyu-Moser XV Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Piper Heidsieck Rare Champagne 1988, Querciabella Batàr 2002… But above all, the one that piqued my interest and excited me most was actually a fortified Tannat from Uruguay, ‘Alcyone Tannat’ from Bodega Pablo Fallabrino, showing off a flavour profile somewhere between chocolate mousse, tiramisu, and fruit cake. I can still taste it in my mind. 

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Crisp, fresh, and fruity. I understand that tasting notes need to be understood by a wide audience, but I do also love it when people use their imagination and come up with more inventive vocabulary. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment? 
For value, I thoroughly enjoy our 2015 Cabernet Franc from Chinon, made by Charles Joguet. For anyone looking for a wine with depth, wide gastronomic compatibility across vegetable dishes, rich fish dishes, and red and white meat dishes, this £60 bottle is faultless.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
One that I discovered recently that I cannot get enough of is a full-bodied Pinot Noir-driven Champagne alongside Julie’s duck liver schnitzel with shallot marmalade and quail’s egg. Absolute heaven. 

Old World or New World?
I have to stand by the Court of Master Sommelier’s decision to dissolve the uses of Old and New World as the more you look, the more confusing the definitions of the terms get. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants?
Overall, probably the assumption that there is only one way to do things. I love meeting staff that are able to put their own personal spin on their service, showing off their enthusiasm and passion for everything they do. 

Who is your favourite producer right now?
I have, so far, loved every example of Chablis that has come from Domaine Daniel-Etienne Defaix. I have worked with their wines for a few years now and have even purchased some for my own consumption. Located on some of the most ancient Kimmeridgian soils of the region, this truly unique style of Chablis has a beautifully broad and rich profile, accounting for the full malolactic conversion of all of their wines – village, 1er cru, and grand cru. As a lover of evolved, aged white wine, the domain’s wines are some of my favourites as they are released only within their optimum drinking window saving everyone the waiting time of anywhere between three to 15 years for a bottle of wine to reach its peak. 

As a sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?
“Do you have any dry white wine?”. Yes, we do, that’s about 95% of the white wine that we sell. So I just engage in more specific conversation as to what they enjoy from the dry whites that they are used to drinking, and that allows me to be much more bespoke in my final recommendation. 

Which wine producing region or country is underrated at the moment 
There is are more and more incredible wines coming out of Portugal year on year at the moment. Each region is displaying an incredible amount of potential and value that should simply not be overlooked any longer.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
Pretty much any wine from the insanely talented Champagne grower Georges Remy - a master of Pinot Noir and the Blanc de Noirs style, producing some of the most deep, rich, and flavourful gastronomic white and rosé wines that I have ever tasted. Especially his sensational Blanc de Noirs 2019 and its slightly salty blue and dark fruit profile. 

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