Name: Cheryline Coulon
At the moment: Reunion
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
I was in France for my hospitality management studies, 8 years ago, i was really young and wine universe was for me something strange. In my country (Mauritius), we only drink Rum, typically local.
At the end of my studies i worked in a Champagne Bar as Head waitress, and unfortunately or hopefully, i had to learn about champagne and wine obviously.
After this discovering i totally fell in love with this drink, about the story behind each bottle and about the connection between Man and earth.
For this wonderful experience i will always thank this guy who despite my basics notion about wine to hire me. He is really passionate and gave me all tips I needed to succeed.
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?
For me, being a professional Sommeliere can be summed up in 3 words:
be passionate, be a teacher (even with colleagues or customers) and of course be humble. Those have for me defined a professional, always sharing and learn from each others.I have the opportunity several times to meet David Biraud (Best Sommelier of France 2002, 3rd Of The Best Sommelier of the World 2010…), and he is still a simple guy. This is an example to follow.
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?
E.a sommelier is not ‘just’ a job, it is a kind of ‘lifestyle’. Even it will be hard at the beginning, you cannot get something without sacrifice and ambition Do it with love, and never hesitate to give 100% of yourself even more. It is a noble job, and people will respect you, and the reward you will get back will be more than you expect
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
First of all, i need to know what the guest ordered for his lunch or dinner. After that, asking about his tastes, his preferences. The target for me, will be to make him discovered something similar but from an country by example, make him travelling.
What’s your philosophy about glasses?
Each wine its glass. That’s true. i have already experiment it by myself. An appropriate glass will help the wine to express its aromas, otherwise, could lose all of it. i.e it will be regrettable to drink a Champagne in a Burgundy glass, after a few minutes it would lose its bubbles.
Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well and how do you determine?
I’m lucky, i am working in a prestigious Cellar, with 1 200 references from all around the world (New-Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and Europe). It’s really interesting to discover new style wine which could be similar to French wine, with their own personality.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
It’s such a delicate exercise; you need to know more about the dish flavours (spicy, sauce, sweet-sour, bitter, sour taste…) – fish, meat, chicken… The plate need to be well-balance – sauce, crispy, tender. After that, we can match it with a wine which will have same particularity or even suggest an opposite kind of wine (fish-red wine, cheese-white wine…)
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?
In my opinion, the better way to attract the customers attention is to propose a large varieties of wine, from different kind of grapes, different countries and available for all budget.
The price policy will be different depending of the country’s taxes obviously the guests need to feel that all prices are fair (when they convert in their currency). Of course, products from France (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne) will be more expensive. But most of the time people need to find some prestigious marks on the wine list even they will never buy it, or only for special occasion.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
The better way for me to stay on the top it’s too participated at different sommelier contests. It’s by the way new challenges. So it will be the net, some magazines or meet winegrowers.
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?
Good value for money, good quality product, the spirit of the winemakers, and of course if the wine is easy to drink and easy to sale. During summer in Mauritius it’s difficult to drink a strong wine like a Shiraz or Cabernets.So need to think about all of this.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
I think I will be a Viognier. Viognier seduced by the richness of its flavourings. The most emblematic notes are white peach and violet. But many flavours unfold on the palate for tasting, including have found zest orange, apricot confit, the – Jasmin white flowers and honeysuckle in head-spices sweet, musk and honey. Under favorable conditions, it enables the development of very complex aromatic wines, powerful and high quality. It provides cozy wine because its potential to accumulate sugars are high. The strength of Viognier lies in his ability to combine acidity and roundness.
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?
N 1 : Riesling from Central Otago, New Zealand
N 2 : White wine from Burgundy
N 3 : Alpha Montes wine from Chile
And the famous local dessert wine, the Divine Litchi Wine From Mauritius
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platform?
Revue des vins de France
Mets Plaisir (ocean Indian)
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com