Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
I’m originally from Spain and my whole family are in the hospitality business. I lived in Rioja for a few years and fell in love with the region and its wines. When you are working in the vineyards every day you see the real job to make a wine.
Describe your wine list at Orrery
Our selection is classic but we have some less obvious wines too. We have almost 500 references, mostly Europe but also some New World. We need to follow the philosophy of the restaurant by focusing on great producers of Bordeaux and Burgundy.
Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
Yes, of course. During a busy service, a table ordered an expensive white Burgundy and another ordered a more modest white wine. Unfortunately (for me, not for the guest) the expensive bottle went to the wrong table.
Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Core by Clare Smith and The Red Lion and Sun in London and Estelle Manor in Oxfordshire.
Who do you most respect in the wine world?
It’s difficult to name only one person. The most inspirational and respected for me was Gerard Basset, but influential in developing my career in UK would be, Ronan Sayburn MS, Piort Pietras MS, Agustin Trapero, Gareth Ferreira MS and Roberto Duran.
What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently?
Clos De Mosny, from the Loire Valley. I’m in love with Chenin Blanc, it can develop for decades.
What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Fresh, clean and medium-bodied.
What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?
Callender Peak, Chardonnay from Ceres Plateau in South Africa. I love the wines from South Africa, this Chardonnay is pure elegance with the perfect time in oak barrel, not overpowering like many Chardonnays from both the Old and New World.
What is your ultimate food and drink match?
Venison, braised red cabbage, celeriac and red wine jus with 2015 Santenay 1er Cru Clos De Tavanes, Jean Noel Gagnard.
Old World or New World?
Very difficult question. I am more concerned with the producer. I love wines made by people with roots in the region they are working within . When you have deep roots in an area, making wine comes naturally.
What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants?
I always like a bit of classic service but with a bit of engagement too.
Who is your favourite producer right now?
I recently tasted a 2019 Rozeta from Corbieres AOC (in Languedoc Roussillon). It works very well with the meat dishes we have on the menu and is a good alternative to Rhone or full-bodied New World wine.
As a head sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?
The most popular questions are ‘where are you from’ and ‘what is your favourite wine’.
Which wine producing region or country is underrated at the moment?
South Africa. It is doing great wines, with international grapes and also with the likes of Pinotage and Steen (Chenin Blanc).
It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why?
Champagne Krug Clos Du Mesnil 1996. I would also like to choose the company, my wife, because without her this adventure would not have been possible. And we love Champagne.