From Coves to Minas

One of the youngest sommeliers in the region, Trisen Dooboree from Le Meridien Mina Seyahi talks to Caterer Middle East about how he marries Tang’s menu with his wine collection

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By  Laura Barnes Published  April 1, 2006

|~||~||~|What attracted you to be a sommelier? Working in Mauritius, people began to tell me that I should train as a sommelier as I had a knack for it, so I said that I would try it out and see how the training went. To begin with it was quite hard but after a while it began to get easier. To train as a sommelier you have to build up a new sense of smell, change how you use your nose and memorise a lot of information. I began by working as assistant sommelier at the Paradise Cove Hotel in Mauritius. I learnt a lot there and began to appreciate wine and build up a passion for it. However, I felt it was time to move on so I came to Dubai to work for Tang at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi. Why did you come to Dubai? I wanted to broaden my horizons and expand my knowledge. I felt that I had learnt all I could in Mauritius and it was time to try something new. In Mauritius I was in close contact with the wine makers so I got to know a lot about wines from across the world. However, Mauritius is really laid back so I wanted a challenge. Dubai is such a cosmopolitan city. What do you think about the Dubai wine scene? Gastronomy and fine dining are relatively new in Dubai, but knowledge of wine and culinary aspects is on the rise. However, there is a broad mix of knowledge. You have some guests who have a lot of knowledge about wines and others that know very little, but it is my job to make them feel at ease. I ask them the type of things that they like, the wine they usually drink and what food they like, so I can try and help them choose the right wine for them. When we have somebody dining in Tang we don’t want to teach them about wines, as it can be too intrusive. Instead, we try to keep it brief but with enough information so they can make an informed decision. Are there any challenges? In a way each guest that visits us at Tang presents a new challenge, in that I need to choose their wine according to their budget and taste in order to optimise their experience. But I love it! Tang has a very distinctive menu, how easy was it to create a wine menu that sat alongside the food? The menu in Tang changes with the season so that we have the freshest products available. In order to keep a balance between the food and the wine we change the wine list every three months, working closely with the chef. Where does the majority of wine in your collection come from? Around 40% of the wine on our list comes from France because people know about French wines. Also, most French wines are produced to go with the food of their region, so for Tang this makes a great food and wine pairing. What is the most popular wine in your cellar? The Chocolate Block; because of its name, the dynamic labelling, and when guests hear it is a new world Rhone blend they get curious. What is the most expensive bottle of wine you have sold? That's funny because I sold a bottle of Chateaux Margaux Classe Margaux 1983, which is the same age as me. I sold it at Paradise Cove Hotel, Mauritius for US $2500. I hope I'm worth more than that. What is your favourite wine? Sancerre Comte Lafond, because it's very fresh, crisp and a very typical Sauvignon Blanc. It’s also very good value for money. What is your favourite beverage besides wine? Beer, because like wine it can have many different characteristics and ways of making it. Which nation do you think is most knowledgeable about wine? It's hard to say one country, but I think that for the Mediterranean nations wine is part of their culture. They have explored the art of wine making for centuries now. However, I do think that France leads the way when it comes to the best quality wine. French wines are so well established that it is hard to beat them. Even if you haven’t tried the wines, most people would have heard about them so the standing is there.||**||

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