This week we got a chance to speak to Jorald Julie, Assistant Group Head Sommelier at Constance Hotels and Resorts. We asked him about the philosophy surrounding wine at Constance along with his success at sommelier competitions.
What is it about wine that guests are interested in when they come to Constance?
The philosophy of wine is very important at Constance. Guests in 2016 have the opportunity to experience wine tastings and we also organise wine dinners where we pair certain foods with matching wines.
We have wines from all over the world (Italy, Chile, Argentina, South Africa, New Zealand…), so guests have a big selection and enough choice. Guests are looking to discover new wines and it’s a real opportunity to try something new and different.
What are guests surprised by at Constance?
As all of our resorts are on little islands they surprised and very pleased with such a huge selection of wines. They love to have special wine tastings and go to the cellar where we can match canapés with different wines. A cellar tasting takes around one hour and at the moment, as an example, at the Blue Penny cellar on CBMP we are offering six different wine flags. With each flag guests have the choice to try a canapé (such as fresh oysters) with three different wines (e.g. France, Germany and South Africa).
Do guests tend to try more white wine as they are eating more seafood on the coast?
We propose different wines with seafood but these can be red, too. It’s common to think red meat with red wine and seafood with white wine, but you can have red with seafood – it depends how the dish has been cooked. You can have a light red wine that works well with a seafood dish, for example.
Do guests experiment with dessert wine as well?
We propose to guests an aperitif at the start of the meal to a dessert wine at the end, so they have a full wine choice throughout their meal. On the dessert menu we have a dessert wine for each dessert, so guests get the opportunity to pair them.
What major trends are you seeing in the wine world at the moment?
Rose is very trendy at the moment and more in demand. Champagne is also getting more emphasis and the sparkling wines from Italy such as Prosecco and Spumante.
New Zealand is producing some very interesting wines and will be one of the famous countries to come and for guests to discover.
You were the first ever sommelier to represent Mauritius at the competition of the Best Sommelier of the World (held in Argentina). Can you tell us a bit about your journey?
Yes, I was very happy to be the first to represent Mauritius. Constance gave me the opportunity. I started with Constance in 2004 as a waiter at CLPM. I saw a sommelier and thought; ‘I’d like to be like him’. I joined 6 months later to train as a sommelier and Constance gave me the opportunity to go to the University of Wine and sponsored me for all costs, so I could get my diploma. I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved and I’ve come a long way but I’m still learning and growing.
I work with Jerome Faure (Constance Group Head Sommelier) on wine selection for the whole group. We import directly, so we visit winemakers in different countries with the other head sommeliers and learn about the winemakers’ philosophy – this makes it easier to understand their philosophy and talk to guests about it.
I’m also training now, I started three years ago to give some of my experience back through the wine academy Constance runs in Mauritius.
Among other accolades you were voted best sommelier of Mauritius (2012) and this year Best Sommelier Vatel School Trainer 2016 in Bordeaux, France. What qualities does an excellent sommelier need to possess?
You need experience buy you also need to be humble. You are always learning. Wine tastes different next year because of the vintage and climate, so it’s always about learning, staying humble and perseverance.
Would you like to sample some of the wine at Constance?
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