Head sommelier at Constance Lémuria explores the Syrah grape

With his passion for grapes and wine head sommelier at Constance Lémuria, Cédric Jacob shares his knowledge of the Syrah grape and gives his tips for how to enjoy the wine in the heat of the tropics.

Enjoying wine in the Seychelles

Enjoying wine in the Seychelles

The Syrah grape

With its creation of dark full-bodied red wines, the Syrah grape charms with its dark fruit flavours ranging from sweet blueberry to savoury black olive. Tasting a Syrah wine is like receiving a punch of flavour that tapers off to leave a subtle, spicy, peppery aftertaste.

Syrah tends to give its distinctive kick on the front palate and so it’s often blended with grapes that offer more to the mid-palate. In France, Syrah is traditionally blended with Grenache or Mourvèdre to create the classic Côte du Rhône blend. Some producers also blend it with Cabernet Sauvignon to create a more complete, rounded taste.

My Old World Syrah recommendation

Côte Rôtie, ‘Blonde du Seigneur’, Domaine Georges Vernay, 2011 – France, Rhône Valley

In what has traditionally been a very male dominated industry, Christine Vernay (daughter of Georges) has put her stamp on the French winegrowing industry with this wine. She and her husband Paul Ansellem run this tiny 12ha winery (mostly focusing on Condrieu but with 2.5ha of Côte Rôtie) with fantastic flare.

The cuvee ‘Blonde du Seigneur’ is a Syrah-based wine blended with a small amount of Viognier. The wine presents a fine acidity on the palate as well as lots of blackberries and raspberry flavours, forest fruit and liquorice. It is like a Provencal Garrigue with its subtle peppery notes. Deep in colour this medium to full-bodied wine shows a richness and terrific personality.

Constance Lémuria

Constance Lémuria

Drinking this wine in the Seychelles

Due to the high temperature and humidity I recommend drinking this at 14-16ºC and letting it reach that temperature slowly. It is better to serve this wine directly from the bottle to avoid losing the fresh acidity that contributes to its elegance.

My New World Syrah recommendation

Mullineux, Syrah, 2011 – South Africa, Swartland

I discovered this fantastic wine about 2 years ago on a trip to South Africa. Chris and Andrea Mullineux are at the forefront of the ‘Swartland Revolution’, adopting a minimalist approach to their wines with a particular focus on expressing the terroir, translating the granite and schist soils of Swartland.

This superb Syrah presents notes of black pepper, dark juicy cherries and a hint of smoke. This full-bodied wine offers a silky texture with delicate melted tannins. I am impressed by its long fresh finish with a kick of black pepper.

How to drink this wine in the Seychelles

Again, I suggest drinking this Syrah at around 14-16ºC and letting it reach that temperature slowly. A soft decanting is necessary but done very slowly to avoid losing the freshness of the wine.

Find out more

 

Delectable wine dinner at Constance Moofushi

Executive chef at Constance Moofushi Stephen Wheeler and head sommelier Romain Sauzier have come together to create a unique wine pairing event.

Wine tasting at Constance Hotels & Resorts

Wine tasting at Constance

At the wine dinner on Friday 21 June, guests at the Blue Lounge will be served a sumptuous 5* menu with fine wines from around the world.

Highlights will include:

  • salad of smoked duck with white bean veloute served with a Stump Jump White, McLaren Vale, Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling, Marsanne, Rousanne, 2010 Australia
  • seared scallops in pancetta, poached leeks and foie gras butter sauce served with a Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc, 2012, New Zealand
  • roast angus beef fillet, celeriac cream, asparagus and morels served with Sud Ouest, Vin de Pays, Cuvee Sabourin, Syrah, 2011, France
  • brie and ruffle tian, camembert samosa, pear and raisin chutney served with Ken Forrester, Petit Chenin, Chenin Blanc, 2011, South Africa
  • lemon and mango crumble, coconut ice cream served with Muscat de Risevaltes, Mas Amiel, Muscat, 2010, France.

Read more

Interview with Nadia Periasammy, sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice

Nadia Periasammy is a sommelier at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius. Here she tells us what drew her to working as a sommelier, and how women are finding more opportunities in this traditonally male role.

Nadia Periasammy

Nadia Periasammy

1. What made you decide to become a sommelier, and how has your career developed?

I have never been so proud of my job since I met wine. I first discovered wine when I was in South Africa for a wine package trip. I met Mr Razvan Macici, the cellar master, who takes care of his winery to improve the quality.

He made us visit and taste many different varieties of wine. I was very impressed by the diversity and fascinating job behind all this, and I decided then to develop my career in this role.

2. What does your job involve?

I’d say, good knowledge in general about wine, making our guests feel comfortable, giving advice so guests can choose the right wine, and knowing which food pairs well with which wine.

3. What qualities do you need to be a good sommelier?

  • Good palate.
  • An ability to relate to people about wine.
  • A good follow up about the service.
  • Skill of understanding the customer.

4. In your experience, does a woman bring different qualities to the role?

Table setting at Le Prince Maurice

Table setting at Le Prince Maurice

Women are stepping up and creating a new breed of sommelier with a feminine touch.

Of course, there are still some people who are reluctant to accept the advice of a female sommelier but others find the presence of a female sommelier refreshing, less forceful and more accommodating. Women truly want to delight their guest.

5. Are there more opportunities for female sommeliers these days – how are things changing?

Yes there are definitely more opportunities for female sommeliers these days. Barriers seem to be coming down as women step up into a more prominent position in the wine world. Nowadays, female sommeliers are involved in choosing a fun and creative wine list to suit the restaurant.

Things are changing, and most men are accepting of this - encouraging women to learn more about wine. Women are now becoming certified as master sommeliers, bringing something new and much appreciated.

6. What do you most love about your job?

What I love most about my job is the good atmosphere and team spirit at Le Prince Maurice – people are always there to help and advise when I need it. We have a very interesting wine list.

As we are on a small tropical island, Mauritius, we get the chance to travel all around the world through our wine list. At Constance, we have a diverse choice of wines from different countries.

7. Can you give us your top tip for a great wine to try in 2012?

  • Cru – Beaucaillou 2nd Classified
  • Growth in 1855
  • Owner – Borie Family
  • Vintage – 2001

This wine embodies the elegant, subtle mineral aromas of raspberry.

Top young sommelier of France 2011 – the Duval-Leroy Trophy

Ten candidates hoping to win the award of best young sommelier of France have made it through to the semi-finals of the Duval-Leroy Trophy.

Wine glass

Best young sommelier of France - Duval Leroy Trophy 2011

Among the semi-finalists is Yann Hangouet, currently our sommelier at the Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius.

The previous winner of the biennial competition was Jonathan Bauer Monneret. At the time of being awarded the title in 2009, Jonathan was sommelier at Constance Belle Mare Plage in the Blue Penny Café.

Earlier this month, some 100 candidates met across different areas of France to take part in this year’s competition.

Yann Hangouet will be hoping to win the prestigious title when he joins the other semi finalists at Vertus in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France on 27 and 28 November for the finals.