Uncorked: Francesco Tessa

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Francesco Tessa head sommelier Angler fish restaurant London

Related tags: Angler, Francesco Tessa, Uncorked, Sommelier

The Puglian-born head Sommelier at The City-based Angler on Josko Gravner’s famed Ribolla Gialla, the Mosel’s Clemens Busch, and Jancis Robinson.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine...

My father owned a few hectares of vines, and when I was child, I used to see him making wine at home, but I wasn’t interested at all because of the strong odour of the juice! It was only in 2008 when a guest in the restaurant where I was working as a waiter ordered a bottle of Tuscan red 1998 Guado al Tasso Antinori and offered me a taste. A different world opened up to me. 

Tell us about your wine list at the restaurant 

Angler, as the name suggests, is a fish and seafood-focused restaurant, so there is a strong demand for white wines. It has an extensive list with an emphasis on French/Old World wines. There is an intriguing selection in the New World as well.  My approach is to celebrate the continuous additions from every corner of the wine world.

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

I topped up the wrong wine. I had to apologise, change all the glasses and treat the guests to a new bottle.

Name your top three restaurant wine lists

Le Taillevent in Paris, Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, and Noble Rot in London.

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 

Jancis Robinson. Her books have helped me to grow professionally.

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

Josko Gravner Ribolla Gialla from Friuli, Italy. Wonderfully complex, it’s a sublime example of the art of winemaking. 

What are the three most overused tasting notes?

Mineral, oak, fruity.

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

Kalogeri Malagouzia Papagiannakos from Attiki, Greece. It’s a very versatile match for the menu at Angler, and is able to satisfy every palate. 

What is your ultimate food and drink match?​ 

A grilled langoustine tail with truffle cream and truffle, matched with Savennières Coulée de Serrant by Nicolas Joly.

Old World or New World?

If I have to choose, it’s Old World. Everything started there.

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

Wines served at the wrong temperature. 

Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why? 

Clemens Busch in the Mosel. I consider it a really pure and distinctive expression of German Riesling. I admire their philosophy and natural approach. 

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

How long does it take to become a sommelier? My answer is a few years, but it depends as there are many factors to take into consideration. 

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

Galicia, in particular Ribera Sacra DOP. The area offers a great diversity of grape variety and style of wines.

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

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de la Lalande, Pauillac, Bordeaux, 1996. It’s truly a masterpiece.

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