Name: Gaetano Giangaspero
At the moment: United Kingdom
Please, tell us a little bit about your first encounter with wine & the wine industry? Did you have any particular mentors?
My family used to manage some vineyards around the North West of Bari in the Puglia region in Italy. My journey into hospitality started just after the diploma when I moved to Veneto. My first date with wine came along my first fine dining experience of a 5th generation restaurant close to Mantova. I really couldn’t find that dry apricot from a glass of passito bianco when the sommelier asked me.
What specific traits or skills should a Sommelier(e) possess for professional performance and is there any person with those qualities you especially admire within the wine industry?
I always believe that a perfect balance is knowledge achieved with and good front of house experience. It is important to make them feel comfortable. I followed Mr Gandini since I started my sommelier study in 2008, even though I always try to catch the best from any high profile. That helps us to improve every day.
What would be your advice to a young Sommelier(e).How to find a good position at home or abroad? Any further tips?
I personally found that a Cruise experience a great experience to learn wines from. I faced 26 different nationalities and work in 5 different restaurants, is hard and unmissable. Of course, London is a great place to be especially if someone like me came from a country where isn’t easy to access to different wines from all around the world as Italy is very classical and regional.
When a customer asks for advice on selecting wine what, in your opinion, would be the best approach?
The best approach is always trying to understand the customers wine experience, recommending wines that would suit his palate is a critical for a sommelier. Food and wine matching is still such an open topic.
What is your philosophy about glasses? Are you working with well known brands or are you considering new brands as well. How do you decide?
Currently working with well know brands however I’m always open to updates regarding the market. Just to mention I found Sophienwald glassware very interesting especially price point against the big fine brands.
What advice would you give people on pairing wine with food?
I’m very traditional. Local food and wine are most of the time a great marriage. Old world speaking, I find eggs & garlic propose a challenge. The sauce in a Michelin star cuisine is key point too.
Should a Sommelier(e) taste the guest’s wine?
Definitely, we must make sure that the wine arrives at the table in a perfect condition. Oxidation notes sometimes can be part of the aging process. I’m a big fun of mature German Rieslings
What are the key ingredients for creating a wine list for a restaurant and what is your opinion on pricing wine in restaurants, do you have tips on how to determine mark ups?
The wine list should reflect the style of the food and is always the signature from the sommelier team. At current times our potential customers are well wine educated that is one of the reasons why we consume less wine but of a high quality. I thing that some iconic wines must be paid in full, as rare and for the huge back story that comes with it.
How do you manage to stay on top of the changes in the wine industry?
To be informed is very important. Many great web sites help busy Head Sommeliers and Buyers to keep them informed.
How would a new vineyard get their wine noticed and what is the best way for producers to improve their chances of being listed?
I would support anyone that brings back old and rare clones. Many examples of it can be done. We can’t forget that we work in fine dining and the quality of our wines must be kept high at all the times. So, if the wine taste great, comes from hard work and represent the area, let’s discuss.
If you were a wine, which variety would you be, and why?
Most probably trebbiano, this can be a table wine of make great wines, up to the many factors that would define his style. Sometimes I felt the same when I had great mentors or not really…
Which top 3 types of wine (your faves would we find in your home wine collection and what’s your desert island wine?
Unfortunately, you will never find wines that last no more than a week, I really like looking at the New California, it’s just ‘dreams come true’
Any interesting suggestions about magazines or online platforms?
Guildsomm and Decanter are my best pick.
@ by Dominik Kozlik – Zeitgeist Sommeliers – www.sommelier-jobs.com