Q. Tell us about your educational background and your work experience to date?
A: I enrolled in ITS back in 2010, started my journey as a Culinary Arts student, and then progressed my studies by gaining a Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management. I Had the opportunity to work abroad for two years, a year with the Marriott in England and another year in Edinburgh at the Pompadour by Galvin, a 3AA Rosette Restaurant within The Waldorf Astoria. Locally I have worked in various 5-star hotels gaining experience from established managers on the island. I have been at Root81 for the past year and a half, and I’m currently pursuing further studies in viticulture and vinification with the WSET Advanced at ITS.
Q. Why are you so passionate about being a sommelier?
A. Firstly, Wine is the only alcoholic beverage created by nature, with natural sugars and natural yeasts, albeit wine yeast will be added further on during the fermentation process. The oldest proof of wine fermentation dates back to 8000 years ago, when grape residue and wine remnants were discovered in clay jars in Georgia. There are different complexities and characteristics to wine with different geographical points, altitudes, terroirs, climate change, techniques used etc. No wine is the same and neither are the vintages. The art and knowledge involved in creating a wine and establishing a brand for me has been fascinating for a very long time. I am grateful I get to study further through WSET and put my passion into practice every service at Root81.
Q. Mention 5 words to describe yourself and your work ethic.
A. Passionate, committed, knowledge-driven, meticulous, cost-oriented.
Q. Can you mention Sommeliers, or industry professionals who have inspired you? What do you admire about them?
A. The first person I definitely owe alot to and has helped in putting me on this trajectory in my career is Damien Trinckquel, recently also voted as Best Sommelier in Edinburgh 2022. He was patient with me when I was just 22 years old, taking his time to explain and teach me the basics of wine; aromas, palate, pairing, terroirs and so on. I had the opportunity to taste wines that till this day I haven’t seen on the islands. Locally, I have to show gratitude to David Spiteri who was my General Manager at The Xara Palace. He saw potential in an immature 20 year old student that knew barely anything about the industry and planted the seed to instil a mentality inspired by passion. I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have so far without his influence.
A. At the moment, the wine that I am absolutely enjoying at Root81 is Nero Miniera, Carignano del Sulcis produced by Enrico Esu on the island of Sardinia. Apart from it being a wine that fits my style, it is a wine that there isn’t much circulation of on the island, and I love suggesting it to our clientele; to taste and experience something different. It is fragrant, bold, medium tannins, long legs, not extremely complex, tasting notes of dried fruits, plums, and hints of cherry. Ideal with gamey dishes like venison, bison, duck and wild boar.