Uncorked: Leti Narraci

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Leti Narraci head of wine Eataly London

Related tags: Uncorked, Wine, Sommelier, Eataly, Letizia Villani, Italy

The Puglia-born head of wine at Eataly London courts controversy by declaring her love for New World wine and opting for Domaine de la Romanée-Conti for her last meal.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine

I have always had an interest in wine, however, if I have to provide you with a starting date, I would say it was in 2013, when I moved to London and started working for Brinkley’s wine merchant. Being surrounded by wines coming from everywhere around the world made me feel like Alice in Wonderland. 

Tell us about your wine list at Eataly London

At Eataly London we have the largest Italian wine cellar in Europe. The space hosts about 2,000 different labels with a total of almost 15,000 bottles from the smallest Italian producer to the most renowned ones. Here you can find the perfect bottle for any occasion, from a casual dinner to a wedding present. As sustainability is at the heart of Eataly, most of the wine producers that work with us are either sustainable, organic, biodynamic, or natural approach.  

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 

Once a bottle of slightly sparkling red wine exploded on my white shirt, I had to work like that all day. 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists

The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (now closed) as it had a top wine selection from across the world. Crispin in Spitalfields market as it has a natural wine selection which I love. The third one is our Restaurant Terra at Eataly. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 

Jancis Robinson, one of the greatest Masters of Wines I have ever known. It is rare to see women in the wine world and I really respect her point of view and opinions. Also Neal Martin, who used to work for Robert Parker and is now working for Antonio Galloni’s Vinous Media, whom I respect a lot too. 

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve ever come across? 

The one that comes to my mind is a wine that I found weird and interesting at the same time, a natural Primitivo from Cristiano Guttarolo (in Puglia). I was not expecting at all the medicinal and green notes both on the nose and palate, it was far different from the Primitivos I am used to.

What are the three most overused tasting notes?

Certainly fruity, mineral and balanced are the most recurrent words that most of us use when we have not much to say on a wine. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?

The Barbera Raimonda D’Alba from Fontanafredda: it’s one of our best sellers for a reason, you can enjoy it in youth or decide to leave it for a few years to gain more complexity.  

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 

A dry-aged Fassona beef rib eye paired with 2016 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. 

Old World or New World?

New world when it looks to achieve the elegance of old world wines. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 

Being  a retail person rather than a sommelier, I cannot stand it when sommeliers do not communicate in a friendly and engaging way. Wine should be accessible to everyone and I think sometimes people can be nervous to try. This is why we have something for everyone, with a range of price points and tastes.

Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why? 

I like the work of Travaglini family (in Piedmont). It has been making wine for four generations and more recently changed the concept of winemaking in the area by modernising it and creating a product that is of superb quality. Travaglini has also created a trapezoidal shaped bottle shape that makes its wines recognisable around the world. 

As a wine specialist, what question do you most get asked by customers?  

Our customers often think that I have tried all 2,000 wines in our cellar and they always ask me when talking about a wine ‘’Have you tried it?' I wish I could try them all, but there are a lot to get through. 

Which wine producing region or country is currently underrated at the moment and why?

Travaglini Nebbiolo from Alto Piemonte. It is a wine that is often underestimated when compared to Barolo and Barbaresco, however, it is of extremely high quality and was born even earlier than Barolo.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti what else? Because for me it’s the best wine in the world. 

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