Thanks to Natália, I’m here to talk about wine and my not-so-long life as a sommelier. But, wait, who am I? Nice to meet you, Winelicious’ readers, I’m Rolando, Mucciarelli, an informatic technician with a great wine passion.
Let me tell you how I become a wine lover and a sommelier.
More than fifteen years ago, I fell in love for a girl working as a cook here in Italy. She followed a entry level course about Food&Wine Manage and she asked me if I could give her an help. We lived away one each other, so I enrolled me in a three-semester course to became sommelier in my city; every Tuesday night I emailed her the notes from the lessons, and when we met, we talked about wine. Well, not just all time, I mean.
I liked wine, but I wasn’t a passionate about it, at that time; little by little I discovered a really great world and great people working around it.
I finished my course and I began to make my first jobs as sommelier, tasting ever more wines, knowing ever more people, learning ever more from this fantastic topic. I decided to make a wine blog, where I write about wine, and that girl and me thought to open a little restaurant, no more than three or four tables, and a wine shelf with sparkling Franciacorta, Sicily whites, Piedmont reds and French rosé.
My first job as a sommelier was in December, exactly 12 years ago. A restaurant here in Rome needs a sommelier to substitute its sick main. A friend of mine was a waiter there, so he called me. When I arrived in the restaurant, I didn’t know menù or wine chart but I told myself ‘hey, what’s the problem? I’m graduated as a sommelier in more prestigious school of Rome, I know about wine’
Oh, what a difference between study and job! When I introduced myself to owner in my uniform, he glanced at me and said: ‘Get rid of that thing around your neck, then help waiters to prepare the hall’
‘That thing’ was my silvered, glossy Tastevin, the symbol of sommelier all around the World.
While I helpd waiters with tables and chairs, spoons and glasses, the owner called me for explain me the job.
‘Listen carefully, boy (boy? I was 43…). We have four types of wines: two whites and two reds. Then we have a sparkled dry. You have to sell more of that than of this’ – he said me pointing his stubby finger to a case of red wine.
‘Can I taste it?’
‘Oh, to understand the better pairing with your dishes in menù’
‘I will repeat to you, boy. You have to sell more of this than that. Understand? When we close the restaurant I want to see this case empty. All right?’
Well, this was my first job as a sommelier, where I understood that nobody can teach you what there is inside the mind of a restaurant owner.
But was a great lesson, because I learned how to talk with customers, how to persuade them to drink just that wine I proposed, listening their confidences, opening those low-cost bottle as were great Bordeaux, explaining how good their choice was. Ok, wine wasn’t so bad, but surely it wasn’t like the high-level wines I tasted trough my sommelier course. But it was the right red wine for almost all dishes in the menù, and the owner choice was right. Second lesson: when you choose a wine to drink along all the dinner, you cannot pick from you shelf a too typical bottle, but the right bottle pairing all dishes.
But, more important, customer were happy, they drank the wine and appreciated it, calling back me to thank me for my hint.
So, this was my first sommelier experience, a good one, at the end.