1. You are an Italian whose career has revolved around French cuisine. To which country’s wines do your personal tastes lean?
Italian wines are wonderful but for depth and diversity France is exceptional.
2. You have tasted some amazing wines in a long career. Is there anything in particular that grabbed your attention?
Hermitage Rouge 1990 from Domaine Jean-Louis Chave has power and finesse and a great sense of terroir.
3. As an expert in matching food and wine can you tell us ‘stand out’ pairing?
The lobster bhäji we recently served with an organic Coriscan Vermentino is going to be hard to beat.
4. Iconic wines are commensurately costly. Where should we look for value in the 21st century?
The best value for the money at the moment are Alsace white and Rhône red.
5. The ‘Table d’Hôte’ wines at Le Gavroche are always great value. How do you select them?
We try to buy a large quantity and always through the same producers who know Gavroche and like to display their quality with us.
6. Is there a style or type of wine you dislike or don’t get on with?
I dislike wines that are oxidative – especially white Burgundy.
7. Has your palate altered or improved with age?
Yes my palate has altered with age, today I like more soft wine like Pinot Noir or Merlot more than heavy Cabernet Sauvignon or Malbec.
8. Wines are served in optimum conditions at Le Gavroche. Does that make life difficult ordering wines elsewhere?
Sometimes I go to restaurants where they serve white white too cold and red wine too warm, it’s a common problem.
9. I share a tricky birth year, 1967, with Le Gavroche. Is there anything I should look out for future anniversaries?
As you know 1967 is only good in Sauternes or Armagnac. Unfortunately I cannot recommend you anything else.
10. What advice would you give a school leaver hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Front of the house is a fantastic profession provided you like people. You’ve got to learn from the best and try to be patient.