Mr.Fabrice Blazques –wine specialist

10 April 2017

Since joining Gili Lankanfushi, Fabrice Blazquez(head sommelier) has introduced various different beverage tastings such as Whisky, Gin, Sake, Brandy on top of the Cheese & Wine and Chocolate & Wine that we offer. He has also made improvements to the existing wine selection and made amazing pairing recommendations for our new and improved wine dinners

Fabrice Blazquez is an experienced international Wine Specialist. He is currently a Product Manager for VOM FASS UK.

French but with Italian and Spanish parents, his Love of Food and wine has no Limit.

After 20 years in France working for Michelin Starred restaurants and Hotels as well as starting in Paris during the fashion show in the 90's serving names like JPG and Karl Lagerfeld, he came to the UK 11 years ago and has worked for 5 stars restaurants and bars all over UK.

He is described as the wine poet due to his fun, relaxed, charming and sometimes unconventional approach to wine education. In spite of the bad Weather, Fabrice says he loves England for its great women and its fine whiskies...

1-Q Could you give us a brief introduction as to how you got in to the industry? What were your aspirations back then?

Born and raised in Bordeaux, wine has always been part of my life because my father owned a wine shop selling high end and special wines in Bordeaux. Being with my father all the time and visiting customers, I gained insightful knowledge about wines. In addition, due to the special relationship my father established with his customers overtime, I was able to try some very special wines such as Talbot 1961, Rothchild 1917 and 1945, and some brandy of 1875, and as a young boy, this has left fond memories etched deeply in my memory till this day. Therefore, with wine being a large part of my life as I was growing up, it was only natural that it draws me to the profession I work in today. 

2 –Q What do you think are the most important traits required to succeed in becoming a world renowned sommelier?

One of the most important traits is humility, because there will always be something new and you will need to be humble to be able to keep learning. At times, there will be new knowledge that we can learn from a guest, based on their background and profession. 

3-Q What is your favorite wine and what would you pair it with and why?

I do have several preferences:

  • Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand paired with a light tuna dish, its Zingy and fresh, fruity and melt in your mouth.
  • Tannat from Uruguay paired with a beautiful and tender piece of reef fish with spices, clean your palate and quench your thirst for more.
  • Sweet wine Vino Santo from Italy with a fruity and fresh fruits dessert as we have here in Maldives, all the fruits in a coating of honey and sun
  • Light and pure Sake  Shirataki  Jozen Mizunogotoshi – Junmai-Ginjo from Japan with Rose petal and lychee flavor enhancing the pure rice of the sushi, paired with fresh sushi from By The Sea, our signature Japanese Fusion restaurant

4 –Q How are the wines at the Gili lankanfushi selected and imported? What are the most impressive features of the wine collection at Gili Lankanfushi? How often do you manage to touch base and re-taste your wines?

At Gili Lankanfushi, everything is about balance and variety. It is a little bit of everything with a touch of craziness such as having the best of Austria and Germany, as well as the classics from Burgundy and Bordeaux plus from Petrus to Pommard where we are able to offer something different every time whilst taking the guests on a journey to discovering the different wines. With regards to touching base and re-tasting wines, as I have mentioned, learning is an ongoing process and it never stops and this ensures that control and quality and consistency of tasting.

6 Q-What are the most interesting aspects of wines for you?

The most interesting aspect of wines is the characteristic/personality of each wine, because it is a living thing as some of the best wines comes with age. Each wine also reflects the soul of the country, spirit of the type of grape, and the heart of the wine maker.

Wine is not just a drink, it is a discovery of flavours and scents that is being put together during the process to which the wine is made, a burst of joy the individual feels when he or she tastes the wine, and a smile of mother nature who made it possible, as it is the environment the grapes were grown in to obtain the best wines. 

7 Q-Can you please tell us some tips for selecting the perfect wines to go with the food? What should we look for when ordering a wine?

Firstly, individuals need to discover what they like. Preferences varies between individuals, each one individual has a unique palate, and each individual respond differently to the selection of wines available. Some may prefer wines that are heavy and earthy, others may prefer something light and fruity. Each wine has flavours that provide a different level of pleasure and calmness, if individuals are open to tasting different varieties. There are no rules.

It is always safe to order something from the middle range because cheaper wines may have a higher mark and expensive wines are not for everyone. In France, we say that in a bad year you buy from the top winery and in a good year you could buy from everyone. 

8 Q-You have a rich heritage of both Spanish, French and Italian, three countries famous for its outstanding wines, how did it shape your perspective of the wine industry? What are the best of the three countries?

In my opinion, there are no best countries for wines. It is all based on personal preferences, and it is very much based on the occasion, plus what feels right at that very moment with the food in front of you. It could also change depending on the mood you are in at that very moment, because of the weather or depending on the attractiveness of the company while having the wine. 

10-Q You come from a country famous for its wines and romance, what would you recommend for newlywed couples visiting the Gili Lankanfushi?

I would recommend something light such as Champagne as it can be drunk at any time of the day. At Gili Lankanfushi, you could start your day with some sparkling wine at breakfast. There is no better way to enjoy the day with the company of your loved one and a glass of champagne to go with it. 

11Q- Last but not least, what do you think of an international cocktail competition hosted in one of the islands of the Maldives would result in? 

I think it would be a brilliant platform to show the world that Maldives is not only a beautiful destination for relaxing filled with international visitors, but also an amazing place where some of the best ingredients of the world for both food and beverage is served under the starlit sky. A destination with a blend of some of the best beaches, surfing points and now at the center of the wine and spirits world.