Meet Angelo Altobelli, Head Sommelier at Belmond Cadogan Hotel
LWC interviews Angelo Altobelli, the wine judge at the 2020 London Wine Competition which is going to be held on Mar 24, 2020, in London.
Angelo Altobelli possesses the Certified level by the Court of Master Sommelier. Currently, he works as a Head Sommelier at Belmond Cadogan Hotel, London since Feb 2019. Before that, he has worked at HIDE, The Social Company (Jason Atherton Restaurants), and Fenchurch Restaurant.
Angelo Altobelli is a part of the 2020 London Wine Competition judging team. He will be judging wines at this event on March 24, 2020, in London with his fellow wine judges on the team. Below is a small interview session with the LWC judge Angelo Altobelli.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from Italy and I moved to London 9 years ago to study medicine, but I ended up falling in love with the world of wine.
What do you see as the most important skills a sommelier can have?
A Sommelier has to have the skills to understand the guest's preferences in terms of wine and be able to recommend something that fits their palate and be able to take them on a journey around the world.
What’s a Wine trend that you’re currently excited about?
I’m very excited about the new younger generation of wine markers producing amazing wine, even natural/orange wines. One more trend is smaller champagne houses and grower champagne; I think they are producing amazing wine at a great price
How has the role of the sommelier evolved?
I think the sommelier role has evolved in a way that nowadays, guests trust us more; in a way that, some time ago most people thought that a sommelier would only recommend expensive wines or bigger names; but the new generations has evolved more on lesser names and lesser-known appellation, like more German and Austrian varietals, more Spanish wines and regional French wines...the list can go on and on.
What you look for when you plan to buy wine for your business? (If applicable)
Most important is the value of what is inside the bottle and how much I’d pay for it; expensive is not only the solutions, I have tasted wines that are expensive and not that good, I work very closely with all my suppliers to find this category of great value wines, especially lesser-known regions and vintages that are declared as “Bad Vintages” but still what is inside the bottle is just amazing!
What is most challenging about what you do?
Definitely long hours, as we all know hospitality is based on long shifts, most of the time starting at 10 am and finishing at 11 pm. It is very hard to fit the studying (a good sommelier is always thirsty for knowledge) and most important fitting a good privet life too.
Have you noticed any change in the preferences of wine consumers?
Yes, most recently, guests are more adventures, willing to try new wines and stay away from more and more from the classics like Burgundy and Bordeaux.
Which regions and varietals should we be on the lookout for over the coming year or two?
Definitely to lookout for barrel-aged Arinto from Lisboa (Bucelas for example); the freshness of the non-fortified Palomino from Andalucía; the power and finesse of the Nerello Mascalese and Nero d’Avola from Sicily, Spatburgunder from Baden, Zweigelt from Burgenland; the richness of the Nebbiolo from Heathcote and the white wines coming from Savoy made with Altesse.
If you could only buy one bottle to drink in December, what would it be?
This is hard to say because I really love champagne, but if I have to choose, I’d go for 1996 Barbaresco Santo Stefano from Bruno Giacosa.
Check out more interviews on London Wine Competition.