Ask An Expert: When Should You Send A Bottle Of Wine Back?


Meet Manuel Rodrigues, one of the experts behind Keyyes Tokyo's world of celebrated wines


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Ask An Expert: When Should You Send A Bottle Of Wine Back?
Wine December 23rd, 2018

Since it first established in 2012, Sarment has built an international network of luxury products and services to discerning individuals and enterprises. And as of May 2018, it took its expertise online, launching a first-of-its-kind luxury ecosystem that is called, Keyyes.

Combining human expertise with artificial intelligence, Keyyes is a lifestyle assistant that lives on your phone. Currently live in five major cities, it enables seamless interaction between users and brands and allows members to tailor-make their lives. Shop rare and fine products, guarantee yourself a spot at a top restaurant or take a rare car out for a spin — all at the press of a button.

You’ll have your own private sommelier in the palm of your hand, too. The wines and Champagnes that you see on the app have been curated and designed by General Manager Manuel Rodrigues. Previously the wine director for Grand Hyatt Tokyo, he brings to Keyyes plenty of expertise and access to the best quality and prices in Japan. Picking the perfect wine to go with your meal will be easy, and you won’t have to hit a search engine to find out what you will be drinking.

Get to know Manuel a little more below.

The wines and Champagnes that you see on Keyyes Tokyo are curated and designed by General Manager Manuel Rodrigues

How did you get into wine?

I was born in Portugal but my family moved to Chablis, Burgundy, when I was seven. I grew up among the vineyards and as a kid, I’d help my father over the weekends at Domaine Philippe Goulley, an organic winery my father still works at. Years ago, he also bought a vineyard where he’d produce 500 bottles a year as a hobby. Wine runs in our blood, and I guess that’s how my love for wine started.

How long have you been in the wine business?

Since I was 18. That’s 16 years! I started my career as a sommelier at the Grand Hôtel Lion d’Or and have also worked at the Burj Al Arab and Atlantis Dubai. My previous two stints included four years at the St. Regis, Singapore, and another two at the Grand Hyatt in Tokyo.

Rodrigues was born in Portugal and grew up among the vineyards of Chablis, Burgundy. He spent most of his childhood helping his father work the vineyards at Domaine Philippe Goulley

What do you do for Keyyes?

I want to make Keyyes the best luxury service of today. We want to revolutionise the world of luxury concierge and service like how iPhone did with the mobile industry before. Prior to this, I’ve had the chance to meet and build strong relationships with some of Japan’s best wine importers. I’ve had the chance to understand what local wine lovers like, and this will be put to good use to customise the Keyyes Japan marketplace.

What’s got you excited about at the moment?

The Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne, which can be found on the app. It’s a special Champagne whereby almost every bottle is unique in its own way, and so it’s always a pleasure to taste and a rediscovery every time I have it. 

Do you have a favourite wine you keep going back to?

Nope. The best kind of wine is always the one that you enjoy with your loved ones.

“The best kind of wine is always the one that you enjoy with loved ones,” says Manuel Rodrigues

Now give us a tip or two. When is it okay to send a bottle back in a restaurant?

As soon as the sommelier pops the bottle open, ask to see the cork. If it appears to have soaked up a bit of wine, the bottle hasn’t been stored correctly. This is very common in warm countries.

And is there a difference in terms of storing a red wine, white, Port and Champagne?

No, there isn’t. You can store any wine at the same temperature — that is, at 14 to 16 degrees Celsius — but enjoying them is a different story. A glass of red is good at around 17 degrees, while a glass of Champagne would be nice at 10 degrees.

The trick is to store and serve them colder than they are supposed to be. Once you’ve taken the bottle out of the fridge, opened it and served it in a glass, it’s going to get warmer by at least two degrees. That said, I also like to see the evolution of the wine. It’s always fun to see what flavours come up at different temperatures.

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