Manon Bras, the new star of the Coutanceau restaurant

Manon Bras is the story of a young girl from Pons, who grew up in a family that loved good food and good wine. If the middle of the restoration is obvious, she saw herself more in the dining room than in the cold cellars. At the Amandier hotel school in Saint-Yrieix-sur-Charente, she discovered sommellerie and became passionate about it. She went into practice as a commis-sommelière at Hélène Darroze in Paris. She then completed her training with Pierre Vila-Palleja, finalist for Best Sommelier in France and Best Worker in France.

18,000 bottles

The big bottle, the customer don’t need me to choose it

In May 2021, she applied to Christopher Coutanceau. “The Covid has freed up positions, she smiles. I’ve heard of this restaurant since I was little. What made the difference? She thinks for a few seconds. “Sommellerie is an environment where we sometimes lack humility… I imagine that co-owner Nicolas Brossard appreciated hearing someone talk about wine from the heart. »

In this cellar of 18,000 bottles, it takes humility not to always go for the prestigious labels. Manon Bras takes her taste buds on farms “on a human scale. The big bottle, the customer doesn’t need me to choose it. She discovers wonders, like this saurur from the Domaine de l’Austral, her favorite of the moment. “I also like Loire wines and more particularly the Savennières appellation. It sublimates the chef’s cuisine. »

Sardines and beer

And what a challenge. How to sublimate the fish offered in all its forms by Christopher Coutanceau? “I rely on the sauces and how it was cooked. For the tuna steak cooked in poultry jus, I suggest a Grenache red wine from the Rhône Valley. His choices may surprise. To accompany the chef’s signature dish, sardines from head to tail, we will drink… a craft beer. The mackerel is served with 100% French sake. “We arouse curiosity without rushing. »

Manon Bras stands out in this world of sommellerie. A young woman with a thin voice. She sometimes suffers from the virile certainties of certain clients. “But overall, the clientele is in the exchange. I speak of wine simply as winegrowers speak of it. The atmosphere here is friendly, not as cold as in some palaces. The future of Manon Bras looks promising. His award for excellence could stir up envy. “So far, I haven’t received any offers,” she laughs. So much the better. She has no plans to leave.

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