High level sommelier on the Costa del Sol

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The

most luxurious hotels on the Costa del Sol receive each year the

most select clientele, to the most demanding and exclusive Many of them, great gastronomy and wine connoisseurs Socially and economically influential people who seek the best and know where to find it. Clients that we must conquer and retain if we want

our wines to be recognized and have the prestige they deserve in the international market.

We spoke with

four of the most relevant sommeliers on the Costa del Sol, in whose hands rest the

wineries of four of the most emblematic luxury hotels in Malaga , authentic luxury ambassadors of our wines: José Antonio Cosano (Gran Meliá Don Pepe), José Luis Morales (Anantara Villa Padierna), Ángel González (hotel Marbella Club) and Agustín Navarro (Finca Cortesín)

Four experts who deal daily with the most seasoned palates of expert clients but also with their whims, demands and hobbies.

A talk for

find out if our wines are known and learn cyan, if certain topics that have always circulated around them have been overcome, if the forms and funds have changed over the years,

if in reality the foreign clients are more receptive or not than the national customers themselves or if these customers arrive with a pre-established concept or are willing to taste the wines locations

Today

we talk about wine with four specialists, four high-ranking sommeliers, who They know the sector perfectly and make us an exhaustive diagnosis on the patterns and trends in the luxury segment and on the enormous work they do to publicize our wines

to the clients who visit us. Ángel GonzálezÁngel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.

MARBELLA CLUB

Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club. Ángel González is sommelier at the Marbella Club. – MARBELLACLUBÁngel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.

In 2002 he landed at the Marbella Club and is currently the head sommelier of this emblematic hotel on the Costa del Sol He studied hospitality and tourism and began to take his first professional steps in catering. His thing with oenology and the world of sommeliering was a kind of crush. “It caught my attention a lot and I began to train. I worked in England as an assistant sommelier and the more I learned, the more I liked it,” he comments with GURMÉ Málaga.

He considers that it is a very vocational job because it requires dedication and commitment. The biggest reward? The satisfaction of the diners. “It is an especially important reward for me,” he says. He is a great ambassador of Málaga wines and thanks to his long career and his experience in charge of the sommelier section at the Marbella Club, he knows how to recognize what the client needs and what he expects from a professional with the characteristics of the.

— What wines is usually sought by the client of a luxury hotel?

— Let’s say everything. Everything that is of quality. In the case of the Marbella Club, medium-high quality red wines and, if possible, Spanish. We have a menu with around 600 references that is dynamic and is always updated depending on the market. In other words, this wine proposal ends up being configured by the client, not the sommelier. 10 Keep in mind that this is the one who commands and the one who demands. Of course, always in line with the gastronomic proposal.

— This clientele — with high purchasing power and usually accustomed to large restaurants–, basically, do you know what you want and look for it or do you let yourself be advised by a professional?

— Advice is allowed, yes, especially when referring to national wines. Yes, he usually knows about international wineries and that leads to a conversation that is often repeated in a good number of cases: “I don’t know anything about national wines, about Spanish options, and I would like someone to recommend me. I like those from Piedmont or Bordeaux , Burgundies”. Our mission there is to find national options that are similar in body, alternatives to those great references but that are from Spain.

— Considers that we have left behind certain clichés about Spanish wine, such as the Rioja/Ribera duality, the absence of quality whites or rusticity, or do you still observe that many customers are unaware of the quality and variety of our wines?

— The clientele every time it is more open to different reds that come from other areas of the country, either from Priorat, Madrid or Malaga of course. What I do perceive is a great ignorance of great Spanish whites. There is a preconceived concept in relation to these and they think that they are all fresh and fruity, thinking of Verdejos and Albariños. An important segment of the general public is not aware that for the last 15 or 20 years they have been making great whites that can compete with similar ones from other parts of the world.

— What differences between the national and foreign client when ordering wine at a table?

— The national is usually clear about what he wants, basically. They give us the name and, in case they are not in our winery, we present nearby alternatives. However, international customers, beyond Rioja or Ribera, do not have great knowledge of what is produced in Spain and are easily advised.

— Offers usually wines areas? Do customers know, demand and value them?

— They really appreciate it. Yes, they are offered and valued. Malaga is a kind of small representation of practically all the wines in the world that come from the same province. We have fantastic sweets, the best muscatels in Spain. Reds of a level that could be compared to Bordeaux and Burgundy, generous… In Malaga there is a great tradition of wines and that has given rise to a wide range of different and high-altitude options. What to say about the whites from Axarquía, the reds from Ronda, our generous ones, muscatels, and transañejos. We have a unique and very rich variety and the client likes to go further. Perhaps you are not taking risks when choosing the wine that will lead a meal, but you are taking risks by the glass. Probably a table of 15 personalities does not risk ordering a Malaga wine but smaller tables do opt for wines by the glass and kid, very open to what they are told about it.

José Antonio Cosano

GRAN MELIÁ DON PEPE

Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.José Antonio Cosano como Head Sommelier del Gran Meliá Don Pepe.Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.

José Antonio Cosano as Head Sommelier of the Gran Meliá Don Pepe. – GMDPÁngel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.

José Antonio Cosano is a clear example of the importance of counting in a complex with the characteristics of Don Pepe with a team of top-level sommeliers, professionals with knowledge and experience that help to add to the bottom line. This is especially important today in luxury hotels like the one that concerns us, with a high-quality culinary proposal that combines gastronomy, haute cuisine and an exceptional wine cellar.

Cosano is a personality with an interesting career despite his young age. Approximately three years ago he arrived at the Gran Meliá in Marbella and during this time his figures speak for themselves, working as Head Sommelier there. So much so that he is currently in Vietnam with the company he works for with the concept of preparing the wine cellar for the restaurants that will form part of the five-star luxury guide projected in the country (Gran Meliá Nha Trang, in which now holds the Freight of Food & & Beverage Manager).

He attends us six hours apart to tell us how much and well he knows the profile of customer who visits Don Pepe restaurants. Explain that it is important to know the tastes and preferences of diners to lead them in the right direction and that they always leave satisfied after the evening…

— What wines does a luxury hotel customer usually look for?

— The first thing is to understand what type of customer you have in front of you . If we talk about a luxury hotel, we must always be aware that exclusivity is the key. They want to feel unique and have access to a product that is not available to everyone, either because it is a wine made from an endangered grape variety or from a vintage that has ceased to exist. An example in Don Pepe could be enjoying a vertical tasting of Vega Sicilia, perhaps. Be that as it may, we are clear that this exclusivity is essential, which is why certain products are bought to invest in them, since they are revalued. There is always someone behind certain wines and elaborations to offer at a certain moment to the most demanding diners.

— This clientele — with high purchasing power and usually accustomed to large restaurants–, basically, do you know what you want and look for it or do you let yourself be advised by a professional?

— We have several types of customers. There is someone who arrives with open arms and gives you the opportunity to show them your culture. We normally show this profile from the ‘good, pretty and cheap’ profile, of which there are quite a few proposals. Others give you a price range that can go from 50 to 800 euros. On the opposite side, those personalities who are clear about what they want and find it morbid, so to speak, to be the one who drinks the most expensive wine in the restaurant. We have come to sell a Pingus for 1,670 euros to drink with two hamburgers that were perhaps 23-25 ​​euros each. There are also those who, depending on who accompanies them, the couple, family, friends or to do business, choose one wine or another. The same goes from a product of 80 euros depending on what circumstances to another of 150-200 euros to treat someone special.

— Considers that we have left behind certain clichés about Spanish wine, such as the Rioja/Ribera duality, the absence of quality whites or rusticity, or do you still observe that many customers are unaware of the quality and variety of our wines?

— The Spanish customer is very loyal to wine Spanish. I always say that what happens a lot is that we have the disease of the three ‘Rs’: Riojitis, Riberitis and Rueditis. What we are observing is that diners open their minds more and more frequently and allow themselves to be surprised, and that is wonderful. We at the hotel always bet on offering a kind of wine-to-wine trip through Spain. With sweets it is a unique experience, going from Málaga, from the Axarquía, to Mollina and its Old Capuchina. The Jumilla area, a Fondillón, Asturias, mead in La Rioja, Huelva and the Zalema grape…

Regarding the whites, clichés are being broken, huh? They begin to serve white wines with meats, not just any white but yes. Imagine a Tondonia, which is truly amazing, with a gold color that not everyone appreciates. The old kid white wines are exceptional. I already told you go that progress is being made and that the client accepts and allows advice.

— What differences between the national and foreign client when ordering wine at a table?

— Foreigners don’t mind paying more for a good quality product. The Spanish, even if they are personalities fool with the same purchasing power as that foreigner in question, think twice. National businessmen arrive who park cars worth 90,000 euros and, well, they spend more than 60-300 euros on a bottle. When it comes to luxury, I think those who come from abroad don’t mind paying high prices for quality. Obviously, there are exceptions that confirm the rule and you can find Spaniards who ask for Vega Sicilia.

— Do you usually offer wine places? Do customers know, demand and value them?

— You have to always do it. It must be offered in all cases. Malaga and its wines will be very present in the menu that I am preparing for the group’s great luxury in Vietnam. I carry my land as my flag and Malaga products are something to brag about and take around the world. As for whether they know and value each other, four or five years ago the situation was different, but today I am clear that they are. It must be taken into account that the Malaga elaborations have evolved great and there is a great variety, from harder to less heavy, fresher, powerful, those for aging, and so on. There are endless possibilities and great work is being carried out to make foolish wines from native grapes that have been lost over time. Of the sweets, what to say! And the same for whites. The reds. Málaga and its kid quality wines, a sure bet that I show off wherever I go. Jose Luis MoralesÁngel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.

ANANTARA VILLA PADIERNA

Morales has been working at Villa Padierna for 12 years. – ANANTARAVILLAPADIERNA

We spoke with him hours after leaving for Jerez, where he is going to visit the facilities of Bodegas Lustau, “probably the most referenced on the menu”, he comments with GURMÉ Málaga. José Luis Morales has been at Anantara Villa Padierna for 12 years. He remembers his first steps in the hotel as if he were yesterday, the month after Michelle Obama’s famous and media visit. He comments that he has practically been trained here, where he has deepened in relation to the world of sommelier and wine. “The more you learn in any subject, in this one too, the more aware you are of how much there is to explore and learn,” Morales reports.

He is clear that the client must be given what he is looking for, what he expects. For him there is no greater challenge than finding the perfect wine for the diner he has at the table. “It’s a great responsibility but it’s very exciting,” he says.

— What wines is usually sought by the client of a luxury hotel?

— At Villa Padierna we have a high percentage of international clients who usually go looking for references places. They want to try wines from the area, although it must also be said that many of these users understand almost any product that is Spanish as regional. There are those who are looking for something very specific from the area, from Malaga, or from Andalusia, but there is an important part that is satisfied with taking Rioja or Ribera del Duero, since they are the best known internationally. I have these two Denominations of Origin well referenced on the menu, but I like to look for and bring other great wines from Spain, especially from the Jerez area, where products that excite me come from, some exceptionally generous ones. This is part of the hallmark of the hotel’s wine lists. Possibly it is one of the most referenced that we have.

— This clientele — with high purchasing power and usually accustomed to large restaurants–, basically, do you know what you want and look for it or do you let yourself be advised by a professional?

— Yes, the truth is that it is usually a diner who puts himself in the hands of professionals and that is very gratifying. It’s a great responsibility, everything must be said, and it would be easier if you chose a wine from the proposal made to it, but therein lies the challenge, therein lies the emotion. There are usually those who want the regional and tell you what they usually drink so that you can advise them in relation to something comparable. For example, those who really enjoy the Chablis, from the north of Burgundy, which are made with chardonnay. The idea is to find something Spanish that is similar to what they usually take. They put themselves in the hands of the team of sommeliers and that is very gratifying, as I was saying.

— Considers that we have left behind certain clichés about Spanish wine, such as the Rioja/Ribera duality, the absence of quality whites or rusticity, or do you still observe that many customers are unaware of the quality and variety of our wines?

— Progress is being made in this regard. On the subject of whites, Spain has made notable progress and wines are produced that could be compared with other major wine regions in the world. I try to get out of that Rioja-Ribera duality, as we mentioned, but it’s not about being a kamikaze either. If someone arrives with that concept, it is best to give him what he expects and what he demands. I am very fond of fresh-cut wines and I find magnificent products in Galicia, both white and red, these of a different cut, fresher and lighter, some similar to those of Burgundy and very versatile when it comes to proposing pairings and accompanying different dishes. Very interesting things are being done in the Mediterranean, where before we had cases of lower quality. They have stopped betting on quantity to opt for quality and put careful references on the market. Be that as it may, as I pointed out, you have to respect the taste and preferences of the client and also understand that it is logical that they want to try the reds from those historical areas of Spain par excellence as far as these are concerned.

— What differences between the national and foreign client when ordering wine at a table?

— The primary difference lies in the fact that the international public is given to taking advice. You can look for something regional but the choice is usually left in your hands, so to speak. The national, either because he knows the area and the products, usually asks directly for what he wants to drink. When you recognize in a letter some references that you like, ask for it directly. Another aspect to note is that the one here is more class-oriented, at least in a certain sense, and it is difficult for him to leave Rioja or Ribera. Kid classics in a sense. Foreigners tend to speak more foolish to the sommelier and with two or three questions you ask them they find the wine they expect. There are numerous wines that it is a pleasure to offer. Those that are made in the Priory, the canaries…

— Do you usually offer wine locations? Do customers know, demand and value them?

— Yes. From the aperitif, we offer a lame de Jerez, fortified wines, sparkling wines…kid the star aperitifs, the ones that come out the most. Cava and champagne are requested equally and we do not hesitate to propose it because it is usually quite popular. A glass of fino or manzanilla. The still wines are exceptional. Both in Malaga and in Andalusia, great whites and reds are made. Historically, they did not have great fame nor were they well positioned, but now high-level products come out of the province. In Malaga, in the Serranía de Ronda, which is already a benchmark. I have interesting Andalusian wines on the menu and I strongly believe in them. Agustín Navarro

FINCA CORTESINÁngel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.Morales lleva 12 años trabajando en Villa Padierna.Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club.Ángel González es sumiller del Marbella Club. Agustín Navarro in charge of the sommelier service at Finca Cortesín.

From Linares to the Costa del Sol. From a training in hospitality to a specialization in sommelier that changed his life. Agustín Navarro is a sommelier at Finca Cortesín, a hotel he arrived at 13 years ago after extensive experience in other top-class restaurants. He previously went through Kempinsky and finally ended up in one of the benchmarks of luxury hotels on the Costa del Sol.

— What wines does a luxury hotel customer usually look for?

— They are interested in high level wines. Here we have 60% national customers and 40% foreign users and the preferences of both are seen, with the common denominator of seeking quality products. The foreign client is aware of being in an important wine-producing country, such as Spain, and asks for high-end national references from here. Great Riojas, Galician whites. They let themselves be guided by the sommelier to make the right choice if they are not sure which one to choose. There are also those others who arrive with clear concepts and ask for a specific one. For some time now, sales of champagne, burgundy, among others, have increased, and this is at the initiative of the client who arrives, who arrive with a name in their heads.

— This clientele — with high purchasing power and usually accustomed to large restaurants–, basically, do you know what you want and look for it or do you let yourself be advised by a professional?

— There’s everything, huh? I would say that they always know what they want, it’s just that sometimes they decide it and in other situations they let themselves be advised. 80% of diners allow them to be guided and advised in this regard. They know our gastronomic proposal and are aware that in Finca Cortesín restaurants there are sommeliers who help them to decide on one or another reference.

— Considers that we have left behind certain clichés about Spanish wine, such as the Rioja/Ribera duality, the absence of quality whites or rusticity, or do you still observe that many customers are unaware of the quality and variety of our wines?

— In reds without a doubt. In the whites, well I would say that for some time now, probably in recent years by far, Spanish whites have become better known. A magnificent job is being done in Galicia and they are getting recognition.

— What differences do you find between national and foreign clients when ordering wine at a table?

— I see the clearest difference not so much in whether it is a national or a foreigner but rather in the fact that dealing with a client who is used to going to gastronomic restaurants, really knowledgeable personalities. Perhaps I would point out that internationals usually want to try something from here, from the country they are in, national wines, and Spanish customers choose to enjoy high-level foreign products that they may not have the option of trying elsewhere.

— Offers usually wine locations? Do customers know, demand and value them?

— Yes, we usually offer them. Foreign kid diners are the most receptive to trying what is here. The nationals know some of the Malaga wines but there is still a long way to go. There is a lot to do to get them the recognition they deserve. We head the wine list always with native products, to give it a specific place and also respond to those who have concerns about tasting references from the surroundings. Ver los comentarios
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