Michael Madrigale has been a busy guy. When he’s not popping corks on sick large bottles of wine at Bar Boulud & Boulud Sud and posting them to Instagram he’s winning awards like Wine Enthusiast’s Somm of the Year. Michael took a few moments to chat about being a sommelier and how social media fits into his job. He can be found on Twitter as @MikeMadrigale
Q: You just received recognition from Wine Enthusiast for being the Sommelier of the Year 2012 , how’d you get started on this career path and what does that mean for you?
It’s awesome. Its so nice to get recognized for doing something that you derive pure joy from. I feel very fortunate. I got into wine from my first sip of a $12 mag of Bolla Soave that I brought to a lower Manhattan house party when I was 23. The fire started there.
Q: What do you think the perception of a sommelier is compared to what a sommelier actually is?
Overall, I think the perception is a stiff, Windsor-knotted pedant who is here to separate you from the contents in your wallet. And often that perception is warranted. What a (good) sommelier actually is, is a passionate tour guide of some of the greatest sensory experiences found in life.
Q: How does social media help you with your job on the floor?
It helps me reach out to wine lovers. I’ll open up a double magnum of ’96 Hermitage La Chapelle and pour it by the glass for $29 and Ill put it out there on twitter. Its like my Batman Signal Light for NYC’s wine lovers to hurry and get a glass before it evaporates in 45 minutes.
Q: Tribe Called Quest of Jungle Brothers?
No contest. Jungle Brothers had 1 good song, “Girl Ill House you.” In my opinion, Tribe Called Quest is the high-water mark for Hip Hop. Funny story, on a Tuesday in November 1993, both Tribe Called Quests’ “Midnite Marauders” and Wu Tang Clan’s “Enter the 36 Chambers” were released the same day. I cut my 7th period HS class to go to the Oxford Valley Mall and buy them both that afternoon. Best track on Midnite Maraduers is “Lyrics to Go.”
Q: Favorite Food+Drink pairing and why
I love charcuterie, a warm baguette and ancienne mustard with a bottle of Cru Beaujolais served at cellar temperature. If that was served at every UN General Counsel Meeting we’d have world peace before you’d know it.
Q: What’s on your Thanksgiving table:
It begins and ends with Champagne.
Michael is a leading example of how sommelier’s are using social media in their daily role. We’ll continue to spotlight somms who are doing cool things and leading by example. Cheers!