Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Harder someone work the luckier that person gets

“The harder someone work the luckier that person get”.........and I always believe in that motto taught by Mr Harmon Chellen HCIMA, my Food & Beverage service teacher at the Hotel School of Mauritius, not only was Mr Chellen a perfectionist when it comes to teaching but he was a very good mentor, and always lead whoever was in his class into the right direction in life.....I was very priviledge to have known him.

Nowhere in my wildest dream would I have though 5 years ago when I left my paradise island of Mauritius, in the quest to follow my passion for wines, especially Cape wines, would I this year of 2008 create South Africa’s best national wine list as discerned by no more no less that the great independent panel of Diners Club International, the long an interesting epic South African journey is starting to pay off.

When I started in 2003, at The Cellars Hohenort Hotel the challenge was to maintain the depth of selections as a fair representative of each regions, district and ward of the Cape.

One of the major contributors to the quality of our extensive wine selections has been the introduction of the blind tasting process in spring 2006.

With over 6000 labels available in the Cape it is impossible to represent all of them and make everyone happy with listing, so using the 100 points scoring system, widely acknowledged by leading world critics as the best system to judge wine blind, as it ensure more fairness to the wine evaluated and gives more clarity as opposed to the compressed 20 point scoring system where as an example how do someone demark the real attribute of the wine from a 16.5 to a 17 points? whereas a 100 point system will gives a very distinct point of reference of either the wine is an 82 or an 85, there it’s a question of either spending an additional R 1000+ on the wrong wine or making the right purchase decision, thereby creating another unique level of service excellence and experience.

The 100 points scoring system is commonly used by major international hotels chain for fair listing in fine dining concept and not be influenced by branding.

The minimum criteria set for listing was and up to now 85 points, rewarding quality that can be comparable to world benchmark, individuality, reflection of terroir where possible, as well as an affinity to complement a broad style of cuisine, with the structure to improve with cellaring. Today we have over 400 Cape wines on our list, and our mission is to be a proud ambassador of Cape Wines to our discerning international guests.

As for freshness, cleanliness and minimal spoilage, screw cap as a means of closure is preferred.

Our wine list is a continuous work in progress, and wine selections are an extremely important aspect to our very exclusive international and local clientele alike, and a major contributor to their overall experience, and I want to personally thank all of you viticulturists and winemakers to supply us with unique wines of integrity, with a multitude spectrum of style, along with one of the best wine prices in the world, keep striving for the very best it is so exciting to be indirectly part of this dynamic industry.

I feel extremely blessed, proud and priviledged to work in South Africa.

Miguel Chan
Certified Sommelier & Beverage Manager
The Cellars Hohenort Hotel