Credit is due to Yquem 1937—the wine that convinced 2010 StarChefs.com Rising Star Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier to begin her brilliant career in wine. Detouring from a master’s in philosophy and a career as a university teacher, Lepeltier began her obsession with wine at the two star Michelin-rated L’Auberge Bretonne under celebrated Chef Jacques Thorel.
Staring as assistant sommelier, Lepeltier soon 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.” Already the beverage director of the Rouge Tomate group, and after training with Eric Beaumard at Paris’ Le George V, Lepeltier placed second in the 2008 “Best Sommelier of France” competition—the best result ever achieved by a woman in the legendary competition.
Throughout her career, Lepeltier has evolved into a strong advocate of authentic and natural wines, and her preferences are reflected in the large number of organic or biodynamic wines on her Rouge Tomate list. Lepeltier’s energy and intensity mark her every move, whether she’s visiting vineyards, tasting, surfing, or playing piano, ukulele, or tennis. So it’s not surprising she speaks three languages, has written for prominent wine guides and books in France, including the Fleurus and Gault Millau, and has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Vietnam, Brazil, Russia, and the United States—all for the sake of a passion that stole her from the classroom and planted her in the cellar.