The map for the real Milan to drink
Sebastien Ferrara, Enrico Bartolini’s MUDEC sommelier
Born in 1988, Sebastien Ferrara participated in the success of Enrico Bartolini’s Mudec, three Michelin stars in one of the most evocative locations in the Lombard capital.
“Before” building “a wine list it is very important to identify the person who will take care of it, who must be very reliable and have an excellent knowledge of the subject. After that, there are various considerations to make: starting from the type of restaurant, its location, the type of cuisine to the positioning that you want to propose. In my opinion, if the restaurant is immersed in a wine-growing area, it is certainly advisable to study local wines very well, if instead it is located in a metropolis, less territorial and more international choices will have to be made ”, says Ferrara.
“I also believe that a restaurant that offers” simple “cuisine, for example closely linked to a fish proposal, can have a huge list of local white wines, also aiming abroad, as long as there is great quality in the proposal . It often happens that restaurants offer disappointing or limited wine lists, which is why the choice of staff and training are essential to increase the prestige of a restaurant and offer a quality experience. The wine must be selected with conscience, knowledge and sensitivity ”.
Ferrara also emphasizes the importance of matching the wine and the serving dish: “The menu is a very important topic to be taken into consideration. There are certainly wines or vines that are better suited for the winter season, full-bodied and structured reds, and others more suitable for the warmer season, delicate and harmonious. It is essential to pay close attention to combinations: quality wines should always be offered and not makeshift wines “.
We also talked about the relationship between great wine giants and small local entrepreneurial realities. “Every day at Mudec we are lucky enough to have guests who come from all over the world, with different needs and with different financial resources. I love to offer those wines that can become an unforgettable experience for the customer: from the “young” ones of the highest level, to the “older” vintages of an unknown producer. The important thing is not only to have renowned wines on the list, but to be able to tell the story of their producers and make the restaurant’s guests fall in love “.
Gianluca Sanso, sommelier of the Cracco Restaurant
Gianluca Sanso is a young sommelier with an out of the ordinary winemaking expertise, but with an ability to explain and convey the contents even to non-experts in the sector and make them appreciate the complexity of the subject matter. “Our wine list is made in agreement with the chef Cracco, who is the main director of everything that happens in the restaurant, with the whole team. In fact, behind the evaluation of a label there is a taste, a visit to the cellar and the approval of the chef and the general manager. For example, at the last edition of the Merano Wine Festival we tasted a Pinot Noir from Transylvania. We were immediately impressed and we chose to include it in the card. From a geographical point of view, however, everything starts from France. For the training of the chef, Burgundy is the most present and rich area on the menu, “Sanso tells us. The offer of wines is strongly conditioned by the possibility of variation in the gastronomic offer, with a constantly changing offer of labels. But we are not just talking about wine. Many other new pairing proposals are making their way: sake is strongly entering the tasting menus, especially with a younger clientele. “This is the beauty of being a sommelier. It is possible to make combinations in which the customer is available for experimentation ”reveals Sanso.
The role of the sommelier is characterized by continuous research and experimentation, all the more daring the more complicated the availability of the product on a large scale. “There are numerous foreign producers who deserve to be included in paper but do not have great export opportunities. For this reason we must be good and lucky to find – by word of mouth or through travel – those realities that can give added value to our card, even if they are not part of big giants, which in the last resort are easier to sell. For example we are starting a collaboration with a South African producer, but we had to interface directly. Obviously it is a label that is difficult to find in Italian restaurants, not because it is not good, but because there are objective difficulties. For them it is an excellent opportunity because they enter an important card, then it is up to us to be good at promoting it and for the customer to be willing to be advised. At the same time we try to promote some smaller, local, local businesses. It is a relationship of mutual support, as we are talking about culture, the promotion of the territory and the tourist enhancement of a sector – the food and wine sector – that distinguishes us all over the world ”reveals Sanso.
Theo Penati, chef at Pierino Penati
Theo Penati is an eclectic chef who moves between the kitchen, dining room and pastry shop. His experience is multifaceted, from London to Tokyo, it is constantly enhanced by the research work carried out both on the way of cooking raw materials and on the restaurant business.
“I always start from a choice stimulated by products tasted, known, sought after: we always start from personal experiences, we go to visit a cellar, we go out for dinner, we participate in tastings. In a wine list you need to be able to offer three levels. First of all, a type of wines ready to drink, easy, with good value for money, which allows them to be proposed by the glass for quick lunch breaks; a glass of good and easy to understand wine. Secondly, a mid-range wine, with average residence times in the cellar, or a type of wine that has seasonal characteristics, such as fresh wines suitable for the summer period. Then there is a higher range where there are wines that have a long stay in the cellar. They are the most important labels and are wines of a high price range ”.
On wine as an exaltation of the serving dish, Theo Penati’s vision differs from the rigid and traditional combinations of serving dishes and wine. “From my point of view, the era of the strict combination of dishes and wine has changed. Several times I have seen customers rejoice in drinking important red wines paired with fish-based dishes. At first I was stunned, as there was no logical sense on an organoleptic level. However in the end I appreciated the happiness of the customer. Often the choices are due to the feeling. For example, a customer chose a wine on the occasion of his wife’s birthday, despite the fact that the dishes were not academically suited to the combination. I later discovered that it was the wife’s favorite wine, and therefore evoked moments and memories that are the very meaning of making food and wine. If, on the other hand, I had to make a sensible accompanying reasoning, it would mean that a whole table must eat the same dishes, drinking from the same bottle. Otherwise if a table is made up of diners who eat extremely different dishes, then it becomes more difficult to make certain types of combinations, everyone should ultimately drink by the glass. In this sense, there are many bottles that lend themselves to being approached in a rather transversal way, and therefore are available to accommodate a wide range of flavors and products “.
Enrico Murru, sommelier of Rost
Definitely a place to entertain the palate: only organic, natural wines, small productions. A place where you can make exciting, sometimes intense, often unique encounters. A project that was born to skip the intermediaries and reach the small local producers, with a journey that often retraces that of Pietro Querini, the mythical character who inspired Rost, a decidedly atypical place in Porta Venezia. “On the menu we offer many different wines, but united by one thought, the rigor for excellence, without using tricks that are not foreseen by nature” says Enrico Murru. “We also have many wines that also have important lees residues, with concentrated, incisive, sometimes invasive tastes, but our task is to take guests out of their comfort zone, without superstructures”. And here customers can decide to pour any wine from the menu, discovering many French vignerons who are sometimes not imported into Italy, thanks to a direct, sincere relationship, the result of years of knowledge of the property. So much so that soon they are thinking of creating a small distribution of French wines that they deserve, but which do not have the strength to arrive in Italy without being adequately valued.