Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine...
Always been attracted by nature, farming and anything handmade. Being from Verona it was an easy access to wineries as you can’t be too far from someone you know who owns one, or works on one. But it wasn’t until I moved to London and started working in restaurants that my real passion blossomed.
Tell us about your wine list at Passione Vino
101% Italian, from small artisan producers, some from classic and some from lesser-known areas but all traditional style, responsible farming and impeccable wine making.
Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
It is not all about what is in the bottle, 50% of the success of a wine we import, belongs to the people, the maker, behind it. Their philosophy, attitude, views, principles need to be essentially in line with mine and my vision. I recall then, my biggest disaster, betting on the wrong producer. Right wine, wrong person… Waste of time and energy when you realise a year down the line that very little shared common ground.
Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, Noble Rot and La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (all in London).
Who do you most respect in the wine world?
All those winemakers who do not compromise for the benefit of market trends.
What’s the most interesting wine you’ve ever come across?
Ciro’ Rosato Avita (a wine from Calabria made with Gaglioppo, the region’s key native grape).
What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Mineral, bright and deep.
What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?
Barolo Eraldo Viberti La Morra 2017 at £24.90 a glass is simply unbeatable…
What is your ultimate food and drink match?
Italian Cheese and French white wine. I also love Rabbit with orange wine and grilled mackerel with young Nebbiolo-based wines.
Old World or New World?
What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants?
When they pretend to know their wines, but it appears clear they don’t.
Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why?
Azienda Agricola I Mandorli (a biodynamic producer from Tuscany) every vintage just gets better and better. Maddalena Pasquetti, the winemaker, is humble, warm, interesting and elegant, just like her wines, which are based on Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Vermentiono.
As the owner of Passione Vino, what question do you most get asked by customers?
What is my most favourite wine...
Which wine producing region/country is currently underrated at the moment and why?
Valtellina (a small DOC and DOCG area in Lombardy that makes Nebbiolo-based wines). Great quality, mega potential, fabulous wine: it’s Italy’s Burgundy.
It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why?
A Nabuchodonosor of Romanee Conti la Tache 1985.