Time to put the sommeliers in the spotlight: Marcos Flores

It is so nice that we have already had the chance to interview so many wonderful sommeliers from the entire world!! Our purpose is to put the job of sommelier on a pedestal and as much in the spotlight as possible. In many countries this job is undervalued and there are many people in lots of countries to get more recognition and we are glad that we can add a bit.

The following sommelier we are putting in the spotlight is Marcos Flores president of the Mexican Sommelier Association

Just like our previous sommelier we put in the spotlight, Marcos has also won the national title of Best Sommelier of his country (Mexico in his case) 3 time (2005,2007 and 2010) and has represented Mexico during the 2010 ASI Sommelier World Championship in Chile and during the 1st contest of Best Sommelier of the Americas. So he has had his share of competitions.

During his career Marcos has worked at many outstanding restaurants and hotels both in Mexico and France that made him the incredible sommelier he is today. Today, besides being the n°1 ambassador for everything that has to do with wine and gastronomy in Mexico, he works as wine consultant, as speaker, lecturer for the WSET and judge for many national and international wine and sommelier contests. Jobs he all combines with leading his own business aka the Grupo Gemaric

I've also been told that besides being an incredible sommelier, Marcos is also a very good singer

What is your favorite wine region to work with?

That's a tough one, but I would say Burgundy, I have a weakness for those wines

What does it take to be a good sommelier according to you?

Excellent attitude, love for wine and good knowledge about food

Is the job of a sommelier underestimated/valued?

Way too underrated, because most restaurants think it's more of a expense rather than an important investment on the service quality.

When and how did you get the passion for wine?

In 1995 when I was studying Tourism and Gastronomy, also when I worked through several Cruisers selling wine

Who is your big example in the wine/sommelier world?

Gerard Basset and Sören Polonius, the second one for the training methods he used for 2 world champions (Arvid Rosengren & Andreas Larsson) that were coached by him.

What is your approach for pairing wines(or other beverages) with dishes?

First of all you need to know your wines, and if you have a good basis of how dishes are prepared, you automatically develop a sixth sense to make really good pairings.

Through intuition you can develop a lot of different pairings with all kinds of beverages and also stuff like music, specially my favorite, rock; movies, etc.

Which wine region would you recommend everybody to visit and why?

There are too many of them I would recommend! Especially those ones were you can see terroir at its highest expression such as Burgundy, Piemonte, Rioja.

For which wine would you make a big sacrifice to be able to taste?

I would really do a big sacrifice to taste them all! Haha

What is your most wonderful memory of hotel management school or viticulture studies?

When I was working on a cruise, I was still very young when I met a German guy who taught me the a lot of wine history and introduced me the 1855 Médoc Classification , It was a special moment where I really got into wine and has a special place in my memory.

A culinary or wine experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant, shop, winery, etc..?

I've been doing a special kind of dinner-pairing, It's called "Blind Experience"

First of all, this is for my special clients, people who already trust me and know me very well, so the full experience starts with summoning them all at my office, the max. amount of people to attend the dinner is 12 people and I greet them with a special cocktail and when they are all gathered, we put some patches on their eyes and a mask, so they can't see a thing. Then, we get them on a big van, and take them directly to a disclosed restaurant, so they don't really know where they are, that's why I need them to know me very well. :-)

When we are on the van, I begin to tell them 5 stories, each one of them making a connection with the wines they will taste at the diner, comparing the age and characteristics of wine with an imaginary person, talking about terroir and everything about the wine but putted as if it was a person.When we get to the restaurant, we help them so they can seat at the table and the diner starts, all while being blind and there's no silverware, they have to eat the food with their bare hands.

Meanwhile they listen to music and my story again of each wine, so they can begin deducting what they are tasting. The diner comes to an end when we remove the mask and the patches and they see what did they have eaten and tasted.

It has been a wonderful experience for everyone, both for people making the service goes well, as the guests.

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