By Marie Linder | November 19, 2015
For over 20 years, Clement Buffetrille has been the Maître d’hôtel in the restaurant of the “Trois Tours” (Three Towers), in Bourguillon, which is located a few kilometres from the centre of Fribourg. He also assumes the function of chief sommelier with the complicity of the chef Alain Bächler.
A native of the Loire region, Clement was attracted from a young age to the hospitality business and successfully completed a hotel training. During his military service in Blois, he perfected his knowledge as a sommelier, he was then working in the Officer’s restaurant.
The young man then left France to learn German for 6 months and then came to Switzerland and worked as Maître d’hotel at the “Duc Berthold” in Fribourg. There he met Chef Alain Bächler and would follow him to the “Trois Tours” in Bourgillon.
His first love with Swiss wine happened in Vully, where he was charmed by the Traminer. Even today, Clement speaks passionately about the Vully, 150 hectares of vineyards straddled across the cantons of Vaud and Fribourg and cultivated by passionate winemakers. He loves their dynamism and innovative spirit; he worked closely with the family Simonet of the Petit Chateau winery to create two wines resulting from a blend of several grape varieties. The first, entitled “L’ Initial”, is a “sommelier” creation, on which he made his mark, to obtain a wine of purity and vivacity, the second wine entitled “L’Associé” has a more international expression, it is richer and more flattering.
The Sommelier has no favourite variety but he willingly mentions the incredible diversity of old Chasselas, the strong character of the Petite Arvine and underlines the finesse of Pinot Noirs of Neuchâtel, "the Pinot Noir is similar to lace it must be fine and delicate! ".
According to him, all Swiss grapes have their place at table, he likes to offer his customers little-known wines, he likes to surprise them and can adapt to a clientele that trusts him given his reputation of over 20 years.
His wine selection is made freely after tasting the chef's dishes. More than 400 references make up the wine list but there are just as many wines off the list, which includes 40% of Swiss wines and 60% of European wines.
He promotes wines by the glass rather than the bottle, so that during a menu several wines are honoured. He will pair an old Chasselas with game terrine, a Traminer with a squash ravioli, a Diolinoir with a perch fillet with a beetroot sauce or a young Syrah in harmony with a filet of deer.
Alongside his activity at the restaurant, he teaches to food and service trainees, he loves this role of transmitting and does not conceal that in Switzerland there is still much to do to improve the quality of service in hotels. "Hostelry comprises sommeliers, waiters, cooks, and butlers, they must be versatile to offer a warm welcome to guests."
Clement Buffetrille visits at least two wine regions a year to make his selection. Outside his work, he likes to run. He was happy to have participated in the 2015 edition of Morat-Fribourg with his two children, who do not follow his career path but have developed a very sharp sense of taste.