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N°157

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1st Contest of the Best Sommelier of Morocco

29/06/2017
Zakaria Wahby won his ticket for Vienna!

February 28th will remain a historical date of the Association of Sommeliers of Morocco (ASMA). Indeed they organized the first Contest of the Best Sommelier of the Associations of Sommeliers of Morocco within the prestigious setting of La Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech.

Zakaria Wahby entouré de Rabi Ahsina et d'Abdelghafour Sadik

As from the morning 7 young sommeliers: Rabi Ahsina, sommelier at Hotel Royal Palm; Hafid Ait Mohamed, sommelier at Hotel La Mamounia; Mouhcine Bassou, sommelier at Buddha Bar; Alia El Mokhtar, sommelier at Hôtel Royal Mansour; Abdelghafour Sadik, sommelier at Hotel La Mamounia; Mohamed Touhaf, sommelier-cellar manager at Sofitel Marrakech, and Zakaria Wahby, deputy head sommelier at Hotel Royal Mansour were confronted with a 50-question test about the wines and terroirs of Morocco and the world, mineral waters, coffee, tea and spirits of the world. After the questionnaire, they had to write an organoleptic analysis of two blind tasted wines and identify three liqueurs and brandies.

After a lunch by the pool of La Mamounia with all the participants and jury members, 5 competitors met in the final in the afternoon at the Moroccan restaurant of La Mamounia for timed workshops consisting of the service of a sparkling wine, airing a red wine, food and wine pairing over a menu suggested by the chef of La Mamounia, a commented blind degustation of a white and a red wine, and the correction of a wine list.

After these tests the jury unveiled the top three to our young sommeliers. On the 3rd step of the podium, Rabi Ahsina, sommelier of Hotel Royal Palm; on the second, Abddelghafour Sadik, sommelier of Hotel La Mamounia. The winner of the 1st Contest of the Association of Sommeliers of Morocco is Zakaria Wahby, deputy head sommelier of Hotel Royal Mansour.

Who is the winner?

Zakaria Wahby, 29, is native from Benslimane. Student at the University of Economics, the young self-taught sommelier discovered a passion for wine at the age of 19 at Ryad du Vigneron, the restaurant of the Ouled Thaleb winery. First working as a casual weekend waiter he soon integrated the team and for three years, with Boris Bille in sommellerie and Jacques Poulain in the estate, he fine-tuned his service and wine education.

In 2009 he joined the prestigious sommellerie team at Hotel La Mamounia as a sommelier. There he improved his skills with head sommeliers Chrystel Barnier, Manuel Schott and Maurizio Cerio. Soon the young sommelier climbed the promotion ladder and was appointed senior sommelier after three years serving wines at the prestigious luxury hotel of Marrakech. From then he was offered an international carreer. He joined Hotel Constance Lemuria Seychelles as a sommelier under Jérôme Faure’s and Philippe Meurger’s management.

In 2014, homesick and with the desire to share his experience with the young sommeliers in Morocco, he came back to his native country. He joined the team of Grand Sud Import where he found his friend from the earliest beginnings, Boris Bille. During two years he crisscrossed Morocco and shared his passion with the hotel and restaurant owners.

With a real passion for service and hotel atmosphere, he realized he was missing the contact with the customers and the sommellerie work. That was when Clément Dumas, head sommelier at Hotel Royal Mansour, called him. He started working at the restaurants of Mansour, especially three-starred chef Yannick Alleno’s. Since 2016 he works with Clement as deputy head sommelier.

Active member of the Association of Sommeliers of Morocco, it is now time for consecration for Zakaria. With the title of the 2017 ASMA Best Sommelier, he could participate in the 2017 A.S.I. Contest of the Best Sommelier of Europe & Africa where he represented Morocco and the Moroccan Sommellerie in Austria in Vienna in last May.

Congrats Zakaria! This beautiful victory rewards your work and self-sacrifice in the service of our passion. It has to be an example for all of us. This beautiful first contest filled us with enthusiasm, the young sommeliers brilliantly represented the Moroccan Sommellerie.

Boris-Romain Bille
ASMA Communication Committee

 

many thanks to:

Hôtel La Mamounia – Pierre Jochem general manager of La Mamounia ; the wines & spirits company EBERTEC ; Thalvin/Domaine des Ouled Thaleb Vins du Maroc ; wine bar « le 68 » ; all our supporters, sommeliers and wine growers who accompanied us all these years ; Eric Allouche from the magazine SommelierS International ; l'Association de la Sommellerie Internationale (A.S.I.).

 

The jury members

- Michèle Aström Chantôme, ASMA president
- Benoît Bouteau, owner of Bar à Vin Le 68
- Thierry Collard, sommelier
- Stéphane Remacle, sommelier
- Boris-Romain Bille, sommelier
Contest logistics coordinator :-Mikael Rodriguez,
Head sommelier Hôtel La Mamounia