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Published on : Thursday, May 12, 2016
Rania Zayyat, previously of LaV restaurant, is known as a rising star in the close-knit Austin wine community and was recently recognised by Zagat in its 30 Under 30 awards.
In true youthful fashion, since her March 2016 start at TRIO she hasn’t wasted any time putting her knowledge and experience to use crafting a wine program that caters to both locals and Hotel guests from around the world.
“I want to make sure the wine list complements the excellent food,” she says, “but also the reputation of Four Seasons.” According to Rania, that means finding the balance between “benchmark wines” that guests will immediately recognise for their quality, as well as new “superstars” that bring an innovative twist to the wine list.
Ultimately, her goal is to have guests describe the restaurant’s wine program as eclectic, thoughtful and fun. After all, she says, “That’s the whole purpose of having wine, for enjoyment.”
Besides her personal enjoyment of wine, Rania’s original interest in joining the industry came about in part thanks to a fascination with anthropology. “I kept saying I loved culture, talking about wine and anthropology, because it would allow me to travel,” says Rania. “Then it hit me, being a sommelier encompassed everything I wanted in a career.”
Sure in her decision, the then 25-year-old spent every free moment studying varietals, vineyards and vintages as part of the introductory sommelier course, which she passed in 2012. Six months later, despite a busy workload as a full-time server at Houston’s Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, she achieved Certified Sommelier status.
Armed with her newfound credentials and wine knowledge that continued to grow daily, Rania excelled at Pappas Bros., so much that she was approached by a frequent customer with a proposal to join his soon-to-open Austin restaurant as sommelier.
In 2014, Rania made the move to Austin’s acclaimed LaV restaurant, which drew raves from the start for its robust 1,200-bottle wine list. One year later, still in the midst of discovering her new city and dealing with packed tables at LaV, she took the rigorous Advanced Sommelier exam, passing it on her first try.
When she’s not on the clock or studying for her Master Sommelier certification, the wines that bring Rania the most enjoyment are Rhône Valley syrahs, which she calls the “most beautiful grape” and “everything I want in a glass of wine.” Not surprisingly, her ultimate bottle is a 1985 Jamet Côte Rôtie, a Rhône syrah with fantastic complexity and balance that she says she’s been lucky enough to try twice.
In addition to sipping syrah, Rania enjoys exploring Austin’s greenbelts with her dog, Mango, as well as the city’s art museums. She is also an amateur chef, experimenting in the kitchen and on a newly acquired smoker.
Source:- Four Seasons