Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts, to Represent
Mexico at the International Association
of Sommeliers Competition
|CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — At 27, Juan Carlos Flores Mozón, has
proven that age has more to do with producing a good bottle of wine than
producing a champion sommelier. Flores, the corporate sommelier for
Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts, is the youngest sommelier champion
ever to represent Mexico and will compete in the international competition
this fall in Athens, Greece, sponsored by the International Association
Flores was named Mexico’s champion after an intense competition in Mexico City where 10 of the country’s top sommeliers were invited to demonstrate their general knowledge, pairing abilities, and individual presentation styles to a panel of judges. A sommelier’s command of the English and French languages has as much to do with the judging criteria as does one’s knowledge of grape varieties, microclimates, and how weather patterns and soil composition affect grape growth and production in various years.
After answering general knowledge questions, sommeliers provided oral descriptions of South American wines in a blind testing, highlighting their sight, nose and taste while they justified why they thought the wines were of a certain type and from a certain country and vintage. A pairing competition brought the opportunity for sommeliers to explain why they chose a specific wine, sauce, and vegetable to accompany a grilled salmon fillet. The explanation was as important as its delivery, as judges evaluated vocabulary, pronunciation, phrasing, timing, body language, and personal style.
Flores’ explanation for his love of wine is simple: “I enjoy the mystery of discovering what’s going to be inside that bottle because every bottle has its own evolution.” A fan of pinot noir burgundies, Flores also has an affinity for wine produced in Mexico in the Bordeaux style such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Mexico’s wine country in the nearby Guadalupe Valley region of Baja California provides ready access to some of the country’s best wines, though Flores reminds guests who come to his tasting classes that price is not necessarily an indication of a wine’s quality.
Studying in France and Napa, Calif., prepared him well for the competition. After finishing his hotel management studies, a university scholarship brought him to Monte Carlo, where he studied French language and cuisine for a year. He continued and specialized his gastronomy studies as a sommelier at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, under the tutelage of France’s 2001 sommelier champion. A second year of studies brought him to Nice, France, where he earned a French sommelier diploma and worked with internationally renowned Chef Alain Ducasse at Louis XV restaurant in Monte Carlo.
After returning home to Mexico and working as a wine distributor in Cabo San Lucas, Flores joined Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts in February 2002, where he oversees the company’s extensive wine collections, provides pairing recommendations to the restaurants, and conducts wine tastings for guests.
During his tenure with Pueblo Bonito, Flores has studied at the Culinary Institute in Napa, Calif., under master sommelier Tim Gaiser, and plans to return to prepare for the international competition.
“This was a goal of mine to achieve in three years. I never thought it would happen before I was 30,” Flores said.
Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts are the leading hotels of Mexico, owning and operating five stunning resorts in two Mexican cities, with a sixth on the way. Pueblo Bonito resorts comprise three properties in Cabo San Lucas— Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa, Pueblo Bonito Rosé, and Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos, and two in Mazatlán—Pueblo Bonito Mazatlán and Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay, all located right on the ocean. Pueblo Bonito Pacifica, a holistic retreat and spa will open in April 2005 adjacent to Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach in Cabo San Lucas.
|Also See:||Pueblo Bonito Hotels & Resorts Acquires the Solare Vallarta Sunset Bay Resort; Will Renovate and Reposition as Samba Vallarta / June 2004|