Uncorked: Michele Orbolato

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Michele Orbolato head sommelier at D&D London’s Le Pont de la Tour and Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot restaurants

Related tags: Michele Orbolato, Le Pont de la Tour, Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot, D&d london, Sommelier, Uncorked

The head sommelier at D&D London’s Le Pont de la Tour and the recently launched Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot on Piedmont-based wine superstar Angelo Gaja and wines from Spain’s Bierzo DOP.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine...
It happened by coincidence. I went with one of my best friends to a big wine fair one day and had the chance to taste many different wines and understand what was really behind the glass. One month later, I enrolled at sommelier school, it was like I got a call.

Tell us about your wine list at Le Pont de la Tour and Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot
At Le Pont de la Tour we have a focus on French wines, which make up 50% of the list. We are always looking to have on the list the best terroir-driven representations and I’m also proud to say that the list is growing and evolving day by day. We have also just launched Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot, for which I have created a shortened list that’s mainly French and features lesser-known French wines with a more approachable style either in terms of drinkability or price. 

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
Yes, it happened to me in the early stages of my career. I dropped and broke an expensive bottle of Brunello di Montalcino Biondi Santi.  

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
I like Noble Rot and Hide in London and Palais-Coburg in Vienna. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 
One of the people I most respect in the wine world is Angelo Gaja. He has been able to make outstanding wines and re-built the Barbaresco appellation. It shows me resilience, ambition, sacrifice, and a humble spirit.

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve ever come across? 
Impossible to mention only one there are so many. If I have to pick one I’d say that in recent years I came across some very interesting Mencia from Bierzo (in Spain). 

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Fruitiness, minerality and balance.

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?
Les Cadrans 2011 de Chateau Lassegue St Emilion. It shows depth, elegance and balance.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
I love Madeira Sercial 10 years old with blue cheese. On one side you have the wine with walnut flavours, oxidation, and a touch of sweetness and on the other side the rich, salty flavour of the blue cheese. 

Old World or New World?
Old World. 

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

Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why? 
That’s a very difficult question, there are so many nowadays that I cannot answer. 

As a sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?  
To explain what orange wine is. 

Which wine producing region/country is currently underrated at the moment and why?
There are quite a few wine regions and countries underrated at the moment, but probably one of the most underrated is Spain, especially Bierzo with its Mencia grape.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
I’d go for Chateau Margaux 2009. Great wine with power, elegance, and balance.

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