Name: Fabrice Blazquez
At the moment: Maldives
Currently: Head Sommelier
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
Being from Bordeaux and having a father with a wine shop, that is why I love wine, it feels almost like cheating, but, in the beginning like any children I wanted to do something different from wine and I studied Banking instead.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with that qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
A good sommelier is a Listener, and a show man, in those modern time you need to look above just the wine and the pairing but going for the Soul of the customer. I admire Johnny Walker who taught me a lot about history and wine, Gerhard Steyn from South Africa one of the best Sommelier in UK, and of course Gerard Basset.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e) i.e. Commis Sommelier(e) where to look finding an adequate position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
Go abroad open your horizon and learn quirky and new wine region, explore region new to you. Thanks to Internet now it is easier than ever to move around.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what's in your opinion would be the best approach?
Listen to the real need of your guest, does he/she likes only white or a specific region? bring them slowly to a new horizon in wine. It is about pairing the guest and the wine not only the food.
What's your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well-known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
Riedel, because quality and style goes together.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Break the rules and follow your guts, any pairing is possible.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest's wine?
It is more depending on the type of restaurant and service you are offering, sometimes it does not work for the customer.
Where would you suggest a young Sommelier start searching for Sommelier positions on the internet in your country?
When I was in france and after in Uk LinkedIn, and Sommelier.at are the best option.
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on some ridiculous pricing on wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine markups?
Unfortunately, here in the Maldives it is more about the Tax and markup is difficult. Follow the simple rules “would I pay that much for the wine?”
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
Thanks Internet and Googles for opening our horizon everyday more．Le Figaro Vin and terredevins for France, Decanter for UK, Corriere della sera in Italy and el pais for Spain among others, lots of them, sometimes I end up with 20 tab open.
How would a new vineyard get the attention of someone like you to notice their wine and what's the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
Let the wine talk, trying is believing. All the talk is good but, at in the end you need to try and make your own opinion.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Tannat from Irouleguy. Because it is the region of origin of my Grandfather, you always have to go back to a simpler wine but a good wine with good friends and food.
What are the top 3 types of wine (your faves) would we find in your home wine collection and what's your desert island wine?
A sauvignon blanc from New Zealand for the fruits, a Sparkling shiraz from Australia perfect for BBQ and a Pinotage from South Africa for the balance between old world style and New world fruit.
One wine only should be something that will leave an incredible memory, for me it is a 1961 Talbot St-Julien that I had with my family at dinner a perfect summer day in the 80’s.
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
A simple research on internet will bring thousands of blogs and newspaper about wine, try to found the one who talk to you more like sommelier.at, vitisphere.com, winebusiness.com.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers - www.sommeliers.at