One of five classmates to graduate with me from wine school in 2014, Ileana Osorio has sommed at Lo de Joaquin Alberdi and Trova. She now works at Trattoria Olivetti.
What was your last pairing recommendation?
My last pairing was at work, and fortunately the diners were up for listening and to be guided. I recommended a rosé Malbec from La guarda winery in San Juan province. Guardado Chic is incredible and went perfectly with an Italian dish from our menu Gnocchetti con ragú di mare, a pure semolina pasta with seafood bolognese. Sometimes it’s hard to leave the red/white rhythm, but it’s worth it to be surprised!
What did you drink last night?
A Laborum Tannat from Bodega El Porvenir de Cafayate. I love wine from Salta and I’ll drink some whenever I can.
What’s our favourite wine region in the world?
I think my region would be Australia, even though I’ve never been, not only would I enjoy their wines but also landscapes, coasts and climate. I remember when we studied its regions (and I have to admit it was hard for me to remember all those names), I’d picture myself in the south, in Coonawarra, with a glass of Cabernet in my hand and I promised myself that one day I’d do that. It’s a grape I love, as a varietal and in blends.
What do you love most about your job?
A lot of things but most of all when someone lets themselves be guided to try wine that they’d never have sampled if it weren’t for my recommendation; that they’re surprised, they come back and grow in knowledge and tell me what they tried or ask for a suggestion and I can tell that they are educating their palate. That’s personal satisfaction. Our profession is magical. Because it transforms moments, strengthening them, and that’s very gratifying.
Name a gem in your personal cellar.
I’ve got two that I love and treasure (albeit not for much longer). A botrytised Semillon by Diego Rosso (in my opinion, a great enologist) which he himself gave me and doesn’t even have a label because it wasn’t on sale at the time. And an Achaval Ferrer Cabernet Franc 2010.
The best thing that ever happened to you as a somm?
Not long ago, a diner left a comment on a questionnaire we give out at Olivetti, saying the wine least was excellent and one of the best they’d ever seen. It was from someone working in the world of wine, but I really liked the fact they could see all the work that goes into the restaurant via its wine list. Choosing labels is one of the most difficult tasks, finding balance and coherence on the list, choose varietals, prices, wineries, regions and that they are compatible with the food menu.
If you were a wine, you’d be…
A Cabernet Sauvignon. Because it’s a cépage with structure, that needs to be understood and known, is cultivated in almost all the world’s vitiviniculture zones but regardless shows off a different facet in each of them. It goes with lots of dishes but you can also enjoy it on its own. And above all, it has a personality that, according to whoever is enjoying it, can sense its ‘power’ or balance. It’s like a journey of discovery.