Champagne and desserts, who else would know more about this combination than Sommelier Rafael Sanchez from POP Champagne & Dessert Bar. I’ve known Rafael since POP Champagne Bar first opened it’s doors & became my Regal Beagle. For those young one’s that have no clue what I mean by “Regal Beagle”, it was a neighborhood bar from the late 70’s show Three’s Company with Jack Tripper?! Hmm, I always wondered if that place really existed in Santa Monica?
Anyhow, since Rafael and I share the same passion for Champagne, I always enjoyed picking his brain in regards to the bubbles. Fascinated by his Champagne knowledge, I would constantly ask him many times if he would appear in either videos or guest blog for Bubbly & Sweet. Humble and shy Rafael would always respond with…”maybe someday”. Well with enough persistence and maybe just a tad bit pressure, that someday has finally arrived. It is only natural that the one & only Southern Californian Sommelier partner up with Bubbly & Sweet and share all his passion for bubbly with our fans. It’s a sparkling bubbly and sweet partnership, don’t you think?
So who is this guy, you ask and why is he “THE” Sommelier of Bubbly & Sweet Champagne site? He’s not your typical old man, Champagne Sommelier with a stick up his ***. No accent, and no uptight tie. Which I find refreshing. Finally someone that speaks to us about Champagne knowledge who doesn’t make you feel like a five year old as he explains the different grapes and regions from each sparkling wine. I call him the Sommelier of the new generation. With all the new foodies online, there is a new demographic for Wine and Champagne lovers. And guess what, they are thirsty for wine knowledge. And if you’re a wine vendor, you want to grab these new young wine consumers early as they blossom with wine loyalty. Rafael already has a strong following for the reason that he is not your typical sommelier and they love him.
Want to know more about Sommelier Rafael Sanchez, here’s his bio:
Rafael was born and raised in South Pasadena. The youngest of 5 children, wine was the last thing on his mind until he worked at The Raymond Restaurant in Pasadena. Here, under the guidance of the Sommelier at the time Steve Krikul, Rafael discovered a passion for the fine dining experience, food, and wine.
Newly inspired, he began to seek out everything Champagne had to offer. This led him to Wine Expo, which is a retail shop with one of the largest selections of Champagnes outside of France, and then its sister store 55° Wine. Rafael’s never ending thirst for Champagne ultimately led him to POP Champagne Bar and was part of the opening staff. A year and a half after POP opened it’s doors, he was drawn away to work for well known wine critic James Suckling formerly of Wine Spectator. Rafael worked closely with him to launch his new endeavor (JamesSuckling.com), and in March 2011, returned to POP Champagne Bar as full time Sommelier.
Rafael believes that the Champagnes made by independent growers are the ones that represent ‘le Champagne’ the best. Some of his favorite Champagnes are 2006 Cedric Bouchard ‘Le Inflorescence’, 1978 Drappier ‘Carte d’Or’, 2004 Cristal Rose, Laherte Freres ‘Le Clos’, Bereche et Fils ‘Tradition’, just to name a few. Rafael is happy to be back at POP Champagne Bar, and eager to continue bringing some of the finest Champagnes to his hometown.
I am honored and happy to welcome Rafael to our Bubbly and Sweet world. Welcome, we can’t wait to read your recommendations and Champagne tips.
Do you have a Champagne question for Rafael or would like him to write a post about a certain topic, please feel free to post your comment below.