Name: Star Zvjezdana Blecic
At the moment: Cruise liner
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Any particular mentors at that time?
How it started…..with the best….beverage experience with how guest consume alcohol, Cuban Cigars and wine education around the world first with Silversea cruise line than with Oceania and Celebrity visiting as much vineyards as possible in short period of time.
First I would mention that whatever we do in our lives we should do with passion. If you don’t have interest in subject make sure you find something you like. Place I drove up is surrender with mountains and producing area of plum brandy. In early stage I was aware of distillation process what that means. Easily understand winemaking process and wine making secrets.
Was in love few times:
First love -Malt Whiskey, Second-Cuban Cigars and Third- Wine.
Working behind the bar I was able to describe all alcohol beverages and got skills to listen what the guests asked for.
It is interesting to know what goes together and what you should never mix or drink.
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?
To become sommelier you should have first bar knowledge, cafe & tea, cigars food cheese and to match wine with. There is very good organization around the world which provide professional education. Starting from basic things .Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopaedia moving thru Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson the Concise World Atlas of Wine and kind remainder and great book of Robert Parker the World’s Greatest Wine Estates is one of the books I have in my library.
All this will take you couple of years to read and get into wine world.
Moment when you find yourself having glass of wine evaluating and enjoying every drop you become wine lover. Professional you become when other find your story interesting and approach accepted to understand wine description and wine recommendation adjusted to consumer.
And more I know about to wine is not enough. Never ending story….
Average good bottle of wine cost 50$ it is expensive sport you choose to keep your mind fit.
So many good vineyards have stories to tell us and so many wines waiting to be open.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what’s in your opinion would be the best approach?
When we choose a wine there is one tip. Best wine is one you like the most!
How you know if you don’t try most of them? How we judge the wine?
Does quality of wine determinate the price of wine?
If you choose proper quality wine better you have proper glasses with.
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?
All the company I work with use Riedel glasses. My favourite would be glass made for pinot noir. Such success with this shape and brilliant mind made this glass. Secret is how wine flows on tongue. Same wine tastes different changing shape of glass.
So when we have proper glassware available for every variety of grapes we have in cellar we should choose the wine.
Best way to learn which wine suit your palate would be to visit as much wine tasting as you can. You will try so many wines some of them you will like some of them not and you will build your tasting experience.
There are people having health issues drinking white, read or sparkling wines.
Moments you find out that your stomach doesn’t care for white wine don’t drink.
Same if you get red in face and have headache don’t drink red wine.
One glass is ok
Two is too many
Three is not enough
When you go to gym first time you don’t stay there 45 minutes you stay only 20 minutes.
Same with wine, you have to be trained to taste and to drink the wine.
As sommelier first time seeing the guest you should welcome guest in your house (place you work is your house) and ask so many questions about guest preference for a wine. Guest should feel comfortable talking about the wine which like so you as sommelier can get idea what you should recommend. If you listen the guest carefully means you really care and usually you find the wine guest like. Having guest enjoying the wine feeling confident with sommelier, same will come again in your house. Loyal guest is what restaurant need.
Good voice spread all around worst even faster.
Sommelier should be proud of the job doing .The more you know about wines, regions, grape variety you already know style of wine even you don’t try your guess is close enough.
It is embarrassing if you have guest knowing more than you about wine.
Learning on daily base will avoid situation like this.
Just knowledge is key for success.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
Best food and wine pairing would be food you having to match with wine made in same region.
Quality of food and price should match the wine from wine list.
So if you are in Portofino ordering Cabernet Sauvignon, your favourite wine, with lobster pasta you make the worst choice you can with quality ingredient.
Take Bellavista if it is waiter’s recommendation!
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?
List should be different variety of grape with new world wines and old world wines
Recommendation travelling around the world would be fresh oysters from New Zealand with any local sauvignon blanc. Beef with cabernet sauvignon from Sonoma or Napa, great choice Argentinean lamb with Rutini Shiraz or Zapata wines or Bramare Pasta means Sangiovese,Barbera.
Everyday choice for summer should be Provence Rose and I do like and can find in local shop Antinori Scalabrone Rose.
Spicy food in Asia should match with sweet wines as if you choose Shiraz you will need fire squad to help you.
Spanish wines are one of the most quality wines in the world, reds are aged very well with lot of tannins and white are dry and mineral.
Should you have wine list without great French and Italians wines….?
Actually if you offer bad vintages better not to put on wine list.
On wine list should be wines from all around the world. Variety to be served with dishes you offer in restaurant. Knowing and having aperitif
Knowing right temperature to store and keep the wine and promote certain vintage in right time. Old wine doesn’t mean good wine. Knowing vintages and when wine best to drink is. Not acceptable to have spoiled vintage of wine on wine list.
With champagne you will never make mistake. Having good sparkling wine is must.
Local wines should be promoted with choice of world wines. Different variety of reds. Big wines average price from 150$-450$. Rare wines and vintages in wine list only for restaurants and hotel with tradition and name.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
And finally if I can be wine I would be champagne always!!!
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?
Veuve Clicquot Champagne – for every bubbly moment in life!
Chardonnay Jordan Russian River Valley, USA – constant quality which we look for
Cabernet Franc Le Macchiole Paleo Bolgheri Tuscany, Italy – My personal type of wine.
Star Zvjezdana Blecic
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – International Sommelier Positions – www.sommelier-jobs.com