Colombian transplant Camilo Arevalo has built up such a rapport with customers, they even ask him what they should pair with chicken soup. The Medellín-born head somm at Buenos Aires’ Casa Cruz says he almost cried with joy when he was accepted at Escuela Argentina de Vinos and has passed through the ranks waiting tables to working at San Telmo’s El Baqueano.
What was your last pairing recommendation?
When I make a recommendation, I inquire whether the customer is looking for the ideal wine or what they want to drink at that moment, according to tastes, what they will eat or what they’re hoping to find. When they ask ‘what would you recommend?’ I always ask ‘what style would you like? What would you like to drink?’
What did you drink last night?
I like to check out the wines I’ve got open, to see that the wine is correct and in a good state to serve by the glass. So yesterday I tried Sonvida Malbec 2013 by Alejandro Vigil, as it’s the sommelier’s recommendation for February in Casa Cruz and we offer it by the glass so diners can try it.
What’s your favourite wine region in the world?
Ever since I fell in love with wine culture, I’ve always loved wines with history that represent their terroir in each glass. And that’s why one of the regions I’m most passionate about is Tokaj-Hegyalja in Hungary, where they make such unusual wines, both dry and Tojaki sweet wine made from the Furmint grape.
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to solve a client’s needs while offering them a great experience, which, by the end of service, they say ‘thank you for everything’.
Name a gem in your cellar.
I’m very honoured to be the guardian of the cellar at Casa Cruz. I love being able to go in it and say with pride that it’s one of the best caves in Buenos Aires as we keep it updated with what we consider to be the best of the best bodegas in Argentina.
What’s the best thing that ever happened to you as a somm?
I love the fact that I have more and more clients who trust me for recommendations and service, people who have become my friends and who write to me to ask for pairing suggestions, such as what to pair with chicken soup, haha. (I’ll never forget that one.)
If you were a wine, you’d be:
I’d be one one of those grapes that are “stubborn yet never give up.” I’d be a Pinot Noir from a cool region, which gives fresh, frank and delicate attributes but always shows off its origin; just like the good Colombian that I am. 🙂