MARCUS Montreal Sommelier
Four Seasons Tenure
- Since 2019
- First Four Seasons Assignment: Current
- Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab hotel, Dubai; Armani/Ristorante, Dubai
- Rivière-du-Loup, Canada
- ASP sommellerie École Hôtelière de La Capitale, WSET Wine & Spirits Level 3 passed with distinction and Advanced Sommelier Diploma by The Court of Master Sommelier
- French, English
Sommelier Gabriel Bélanger may have recently passed his Advanced Sommelier testing, but that does not stop him from further developing his taste buds. A strong proponent for honing his craft, Bélanger believes that a true sommelier must first study the fundamentals.
Originally from Rivière-du-Loup, a small city on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River in Quebec, Bélanger has worked in the hotel food and beverage industry since he was a teenager. It was while studying hospitality at École Hôtelière de la Capitale that Bélanger’s wine class teacher first noticed his innate ability to memorise fruit profiles.
Bélanger has since travelled the world refining his talents. In Dubai, he worked as a sommelier in Armani/Ristorante, the signature restaurant of the Armani Hotel. Bélanger cites this experiences as a “game-changer” for him. As a Muslim-led country, the wine culture in Dubai is very prominent, and Bélanger was often challenged to reach outside his comfort zone.
After two years at the Armani Hotel and passing his certifications with merit, he joined as sommelier at Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara in the Burj Al Arab hotel. In 2018, he was crowned Sommelier of the Year at the Caterer Middle East Awards for his ability to manage an extensive wine selection and for implementing a training plan that increased sales for wine by the glass as well as champagne sales.
He brings his unique skill set to MARCUS at Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal. On the food side, MARCUS leans into vegetables and fish with a local focus. As such, the wine selections will take a similar path. “I want to have a freshness and acidity to the wines we offer,” says Bélanger. “However, I’m not scared to go after some wines we don’t see too much of in Montreal. I am proud to share that we are the only restaurant in Montreal to pour Louis Roederer, an independent and family-run maisons de champagne, by the glass.”
During a busy service, Bélanger can expect to taste up to 20 different types of wine. “The more you learn about wine, the more you realise you don’t know much,” says Bélanger, who believes in taking a humble approach. “The more humble you are, the more comfortable guests feel.”
Bélanger’s vision for Four Seasons Hotel Montreal is also modest: to share his knowledge and deep love of wines with guests. “For me, it’s not the pleasure of drinking. It’s the pleasure of being surprised, the pleasure of discovering something new,” says Bélanger.