Sommelier of the Month - Mauro Pirovano
- Name: Mauro Pirovano
- Date of birth: 20th June
- Place of birth: Milan
- Eye colour: Green
- Height: 178cm
- Nationality: Italian
New street grill, London
"New street grill opened in 2010. 200 years ago, the building was an oriental spices storage. Part of the interior decoration are pieces saved from the re-structure. We are a steak house, and we focus on the great combination of steak and wine.
Best steak from around the world, best wine from around the world in particular Californian and new world wine".
Mauro's wine and food pairings
Le Soula Blanc 2011
Tasty meaty fish, need structured white wine. I choose a blend from languedoc-Roussillon, great minerality, complex, and persistent.
Sforzato di Valtellina Ronco del Picchio Fay
Nebbiolo grape, full body with a semi-smooth tannins and an eternal persistence in the mouth.
Papagiannakos Savatiano 2015
Floral, fruity, crispy which also balances the softness of the salad.
It's probably the only Malbec I suggest. It's fortified, it's fresh and really fruity.
How did you first become interested in wine, and how did that interest evolve into a career?
I have always been passionate about hospitality and food thanks to my father who is still one of my favourite chefs. I started studying wine in Italy after taking a tour of Barolo.
What do you think makes a good sommelier?
Knowledge of wine, but also the ability to translate this knowledge to people, and to always suggest something new.
Describe your typical day at work.
Now that I'm Head Sommelier, the beginning of my day is mainly paper work. Orders, delivery, invoices, updating the wine list, meetings with GM and suppliers.
And then it's on to the service. It is very important for us to be on the floor and get a feel for the customer. You must be up to date with your wine selection.
When pairing 'Chef's' dishes with wines, what defines the process for you?
Pairing wine is an extension of the chefs work. Without wine food is good, with wine food is divine. I try to imagine what kind of sensation the pairing will bring and I adapt it to the customers preference.
Please describe your process for sourcing new wines.
I usually request to my supplier a specific style which I then taste with my team and we decide together. We do this all together at the same time because the team has to sell wine as well. For the team, this is a great time of training.
What trends have you noticed in the wine market recently?
A lot of customers choosing wine based on a famous name. Unfortunately some do not choose wine to experience alongside side their food. In the city, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc are still top sellers.
Do you have a favourite food and wine pairing?
Sforzato di Valtellina Roncon del Picchio Sandro Fay 2011, an intense Nebbiolo, very long and structured. Pair with our Galician Cider House Sirloin (a kind of Spanish Wagyu).
What is the most unusual food and wine you know?
It's interesting to pair sea brim pair with Chambolle Musigny Magnien 2013, or strawberry rice pudding with sherry cream.
How can customers get the best out of you? What should they be prepared to tell you and what questions should they ask?
Customers shouldn't be too formal with us. They should experience the night alongside us, and it's my job to understand their requirements and needs. Of course, sommeliers love the moment when the customers ask for suggestions and when they are really interested and ready to try anything. My job is to sell wine not alcohol, I sell sensations and I sell experiences.
How can budding wine enthusiasts practice their tasting skills at home? Any games, tricks, or tips?
4 people max, around a table. Each one should bring a bottle of wine and drink them in a blind tasting.
Where do you see your future career path?
I will stay in London for a while. It's close to home, and being a sommelier is fantastic. But I'm not hiding my desire to go to New York.
You are on that deserted island. Which two varietals do you plant?
Nebbiolo and Chardonnay.
Who is the one person you'd most like to share a bottle of wine with?
AR and CR (a former colleague and my uncle.)