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N°165

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Pascaline Lepeltier, Master Sommelier

19/12/2017

Pascaline Lepeltier

Detouring from a career as a university teacher, Loire native Pascaline Lepeltier began her obsession with wine upon obtaining a second master’s degree in hospitality management and then serving an internship at Paris’ Potel & Chabot catering company. Her first wine-focused position was assistant sommelier at the two Michelin * L’Auberge Bretonne where she eventually presided over a list of more than 4,500 wines. Within a year she was named both Best Loire Valley Young Sommelier and Best Brittany Sommelier.

In 2007 she joined Rouge Tomate, a Belgium restaurant group dedicated to health, taste and quality with operations in Brussels and New York, leading a team of dietitians and scientists in developing a nutritionally-focused beverage charter. Promoted to the position of Beverage Director for the Rouge Tomate flagship restaurant in the Upper East Side of New York City, she relocated to the US in 2009 taking over its beverage program. Touted as the “Natural Wine Evangelist” in Food & Wine magazine, Lepeltier’s strong advocacy of this overarching style was reflected in a 2,000+ wine list offering one of the biggest selections of natural, organic and biodynamic beverage in the USA, possibly the world. That same year, 2014, she received accreditation as a Master Sommelier—the 21st woman to achieve the title.

Having left Rouge Tomate in September she now instructs with the Court of Master Sommeliers and at the International Culinary Center in Manhattan with the expectation of soon being associated with another restaurant operation, a partnership that’ll find her working the floor again.

In her attempts to be as knowledgeable about winemaking as she is about tasting, Lepeltier partnered with New York winemaker Nathan Kendall to create chëpìka, a project designed to rediscover the potential of organically-grown native grapes and sparkling wines in its Finger Lakes AVA. The two first cuvees, a 100% Delaware and a 100% Catawba, were released in September 2017. Lepeltier also collaborates and writes for various prominent wine guides and books while appearing as a public speaker and wine judge.

David Furer