Keep wine simple, says Sommelier Abhas Saxena

Sommelier Abhas Saxena of The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai
Sommelier AbhasSaxena of The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai

Abhas Saxena has been working as the sommelier for The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai since 2012. But his love for wines goes back much further. He has been a keen enthusiast of wine for the past eight years now. There are a few key things about wines that intrigue him the most. “Stop, Look, Smell, Taste. When we taste wines, we live life through our senses for a brief moment and make a pause in our otherwise busy life, ” he says. This simple idea, which changed his approach to wines has been driving him to learn more and taste more wines as they come. With the rare distinction of being a certified sommelier from The Court of Master Sommeliers, Abhas has an appreciation and understanding of the finer nuances of wine. During his tenure, the wine list of the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel has been recognised with the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for four years in a row. A thorough professional, Abhas was recently named the best sommelier from all his peers in the Taj hotels. However, tasting wines for him is never a serious affair. Here, Reva K. Singh interviews Abhas Saxena about his love for wine and his job as a sommelier.

How did you develop an interest in wine? It all happened with a chance interaction with an acquaintance when I was in hotel school. Trying to figure out a career choice, I came across Dini Rao who at the time was one of the wine buyers for Christie’s auction house in New York. At the end of the conversation, all I had were three questions for her. “What do you do?”,“What do I need to do, to do the same?” and “Will you guide me?” After that, I started reading up on wines and there was no looking back.

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