Samuel Boissy, Head Sommelier at « Berceau des sens » (EHL) Lausanne

By Marie Linder / April 8, 2015

Samuel Boissy is from Bouillé-Lorertz, a town located in the region of Poitou-Charentes. Its inhabitants are called the Bouillavins and Bouillavines (literally the wine faces). Was that a sign on the path of our young wine taster?

Samuel is the son of a schoolteacher and a welder; however, his path was not laid out in advance. “In the family we like to drink a good glass of wine and would easily open a bottle with our meals”. Samuel always liked wine, but did not plan to make a career out of it. It was only later thanks to significant encounters with wine specialists that he came to understand wine and its complexity.

He undertook an apprenticeship in hospitality, worked in a “brasserie” and then tried a job which looked ideal when you are twenty, he became a bartender in a beach hut in Corsica, but eventually realized it was not his final dream job.

In 2003 he came to Geneva and worked in a Michelin starred restaurant at the Noga Hilton, now the Kempinski, this is where he started to look at wine with new eyes coached by Mr Alexan, a mentor from Burgundy who introduced him to the world of wine.

Samuel then moved and worked at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, close to London. During this period he obtained his WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) diploma, a period during which he was able to appreciate the British openness to wine and the diversity of wines, which could be found in England.

In 2007 he went to work in the three stars restaurant of Anne-Sophie Pic in Valence, where he will meet his "master" known by all as Mr Pichu, Samuel was impressed by his knowledge and the way he handled clients and how much they trusted him.

The young sommeliers learned the rigor of the service, the ideal bottle handling, the serving temperatures, the glassware and the tools to offer the wine at its best. During those days he met several experienced sommeliers who shared their experience with him. 

He moved back to Switzerland but for the same employer and joined Anne-Sophie Pic’s restaurant at the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, where he enjoyed the dynamism of the establishment and the camaraderie among employees.

Samuel Boissy did not stop there, he went back to France to satisfy his thirst to discover the wine world and offered his services at the famous Chapoutier in the Rhone Valley, he joined the tasting room team and lead workshops on wine before returning to Lausanne in 2012 to his current position.

The specialist insists he does not like preconceived ideas about wine and wine tasting and humbly respect the tastes and opinions of everyone, he likes to say that the sommelier is just the arm of the winemaker at the table, and prefers to demonstrate the value of a wine rather than the value of a sommelier. He likes to discover and lead his clients on new paths to create surprises and emotions.

Among his favourite Swiss winemakers one finds La Grillette in Neuchâtel, the Dubois brothers, Louis Bovard, Vincent Cholet or the Cruchon family in the canton of Vaud. 

If he had to choose a variety that would be the pinot noir which he describes as a stylish and elegant wine that takes power over the years. He also talks brilliantly of aged Chasselas.

Besides being head sommelier at the Berceau des Sens and an instructor at the hospitality management school of Lausanne (EHL), where he plans to create an aging cellar for wines, he likes to ride his motorbike and travel to good restaurants with his lady companion.