A Q&A With Our Spirited Sommeliers

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Curated by a world-class team of expert sommeliers, guests can explore the world’s famous wine routes in one place at Constance Hotels & Resort, whether you’re opting for a Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or Pinot Noir.

Read on to find out more about our acclaimed sommeliers, and their role at Constance Hotels & Resorts to provide unbeatable wine experiences beside the Indian Ocean.

What is a sommelier?

Shani (Sommelier and Wine Event Coordinator at Constance Hotels & Resorts): “For me, a sommelier is first and foremost an ambassador of the winemakers, their work and terroir. It is essential for us to be able to tell the story of the wines humbly. 

A sommelier is as well a therapist. He needs to understand the customers’ needs and desires while offering a true wine experience. Within his team, the sommelier is also a team player in a restaurant, working with the chef and the waiters to give the optimal service. 

Lastly, a sommelier for me has to also be a trainer in sharing his knowledge and passion with the younger generation of sommeliers.” 

Jorald (Assistant Corporate Sommelier at Constance Hotels & Resorts): “Sommeliers must have several qualities: be humble, helpful, generous and kind. They must have the desire to give pleasure to customers and to help them discover new wines with new domains.

Nirmal (Junior Head Sommelier at Constance Belle Mare Plage): “A sommelier must have a passion for wine & give pleasure to their guests and learn every day. It is a very enriching job. We can travel and discover this universe all the time. The most important thing is that you have to feel the wine, to listen to the sensations and emotions that you can feel.” 

Devika (Assistant Sommelier in Constance Belle Mare Plage): “A sommelier has to understand and have the knowledge of wine, love the job, and know the product and the different areas. To be interested in the different flavours and aromas that one can find. I am really fulfilled and happy to do this job.” 

Jaisen: “A sommelier must be pleasant, have a lot of knowledge and be constantly learning, and have the desire to share and convey his profession and his passion on a daily basis.”

Why do you like wine?

Shani: “Because wine is a living being just magical, I always find it amazing how a grape can transcribe a terroir, a climate and evolve in time. The different aromas always surprise us and how wine paired with food can create harmony and emotions.”

Jorald: “Wine evokes many emotions, I am always surprised, and I like to know the history, which is very interesting. It is fascinating because each wine has its own particularity and changes with the vintage.”

Nirmal: “Wine allows me to learn, to discover day by day this universe and I could travel thanks to this passion.” 

DEVIKA: “I started as a waitress but I was always interested in the world of wine thus I decided to become a sommelier. I love learning about this world and I am encouraged to work hard. I had the chance to do internships in France and graduate in 2019. Then I started training at the academy to work all the time in Constance Cellar. I am thrilled to be working there.” 

Jaisen: “Being a sommelier is my profession, my passion and I enjoy doing this. This profession allows me to meet a lot of people, and communicate about this universe. But also what I like very much and to associate the food and wine agreements.” 

What is the strangest pairing you have tried?

Shani: “A Sauternes 1988 (château gilette) paired with a Skrei fish from Norway with brown butter and koji a dish signed by a starred chef, Mickael Svensson.” 

Jorald: A Saddle of lamb in a spice crust, with a 1969 Maury from Mas Amiel, I was touched and marked by this amazing pairing.” 

Devika: I was not familiar with beef, but had the opportunity to taste red meat, cooked blue, I really appreciated the discovery of this meat but also the marriage with this French red wine.”

Jaisen: “It was a sweet wine with spicy Mauritian dishes with curry, it was really a marvel.”

Many of us think that corked wine bottles are the best and that screw caps are cheap. In your opinion, is this true? 

Shani: “The screw cap is not a sign of bad quality, it prevents cork taste, but we should not think that the wine lacks quality and that it is not correct to have screw caps. It is the decision of the winemaker who will choose what is best for his wine.” 

Jorald: “That’s not true. This is part of the winemaker’s choice, why not?” 

Nirmal: “From my point of view, good wine should age with a real cork.” 

Devika: “It is important to respect the winemaker’s choices. There are very good wines with screw caps.” 

Jaisen: “This does not make the quality; the bottles with screw caps are easier to open. Some wines age better with screw caps. For the charm, cork is better but screw caps avoid wine diseases and cork problems.”

If you could only drink one type of wine for the rest of your life, what would you choose? 

Shani: “Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru « Les Amoureuses » de Nicolas Groffier”

JORALD: Grange des pères rouge” 

Nirmal: “I am a very big fan of burgundy wine, the chardonnay of Burgundy. I like this variety because it gives different wines in different countries; it is interesting to observe the differences.” 

Devika: “Pinot noir, I really like the wines that come from Burgundy in Côte de Beaune.”

Jaisen: “Grange des pères blanc”

A day in the life of the Constance sommeliers, what do you do?

Shani: “I am based at the Head Office, Sommellerie department in charge of all vinous affairs at a corporate level. This means handling many different tasks all in promoting Constance Cellar.
It depends on the day, we are very versatile. We do all the wine buying, relations with winemakers as well as delivery of wine containers. I specifically take care of the wine events for the different hotels as well as the training of the team. Moreover, we follow up on the daily operations and needs of the various hotels on each island.”  

Jorald: “Based at the Head Office, Sommellerie department in charge of all vinous affairs at a corporate level also. The wine in our hotel cellars and restaurants are sourced from around the world and we import the references on a regular basis. So my role consists of bringing these precious bottles to our hotel in a good state. The is also the daily operation at the hotel level, management of events, and operation service for the evening, with tastings and training.”

Nirmal: “As a sommelier, I have many tasks including checking the cellar and its temperature, creating prices and taking care of all the food and wine pairing management. I also take care of all the organisation of the wine selections, This means sourcing the allocating wine references to all our restaurants while respecting the restaurant’s guidelines.”

Devika: “I check the cellar; the wines, the materials, and the different availabilities. Managing and improving the stocks are also very important. And I also take care of the whole operational part.”

Jaisen: “I do the mise en place with my sommeliers because a good mise en place is a good service as sommeliers.”

What is your favourite place at Constance Hotels & Resorts to enjoy a glass of wine?

Shani: “Le Barachois remains my favourite place, I find it very soothing and relaxing. It is beautiful by day like by night, and get to see beautiful sunsets. Enjoying a glass of wine at this place is a real pleasure for me.”

Jorald:My favourite place is Constance Prince Maurice’s Cellar, every time I feel lucky to be in this great place.”  

Nirmal: “In the cellar at Blue Penny, it is the heart of Constance Belle Mare Plage.”

Devika: “If I were alone to enjoy a glass of wine, I would choose La Spiaggia restaurant at Constance Belle Mare Plage for the beautiful sea view and its soothing atmosphere. 

If I am with friends, I would choose the Blue Penny, because it is my universe and this place reflects my passion, I feel like I am surrounded by many winemakers. I would be happy to share this moment with my friends.” 

Jaisen: “My favourite place is the Prince Maurice cellar.”

Have you had the chance to explore the wine cellars or Constance Hotels & Resorts and taste the delights curated by our talented sommeliers? Let us know in the comments. 

For more information about our Wine Cellars and our sommeliers, or to find out more about the individual resorts, visit our website today.

Take a look at our recent blog post Bucket List Travel: Why You Should Visit Constance Hotels & Resorts

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