Wine director at The Vines of Mendoza since the project kicked off almost a decade ago, Mariana Onofri loves creating bonds via wine and is now producing her own white varietal and blend with Italian winemaker Giuseppe Franceschini.
What was your last pairing recommendation?
My last pairing was at Siete Fuegos. I recommended gnocchi in an iron box with prawns, bacon, tomato, lemon and basil with one of my white wines… Zenith Nadir. A blend of Chardonnay, Fiano and Sauvignon Blanc and fermented in oak, it has the strength to deal with the texture of the gnocchi and the bacon, while it’s also refreshing and empowers the flavour of the prawns and lemon.
What did you drink last night?
I drank one of the wines we make for one of our private vineyard owners at The Vines of Mendoza: De Moño Rojo Marsanne 2015. 100% recommended 🙂 .
What’s your favourite wine region in the world and why?
I LOVE Burgundy, its elegance but at the same time its powerful expression. But having said that… I cannot deny that MENDOZA is deep in my heart.
What do you love most about your job?
I love tasting wine with people from all over the world. Wine creates special bonds.
Name a gem in your personal cellar?
1985 Château Cheval Blanc, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a somm?
I can’t recall an specific event… but what I can say is that becoming a somm changed my life for the better. I have had the chance to undertake amazing wine trips, have incredible wines and meet great people. As a somm, you are the liaison between the producer and the customer and that brings you a huge richness, allowing you to find out the stories behind each wine and the emotions it provokes.
If you were a wine, you’d be…
I would be an assemblage. Assemblage, the French term for assembling, refers to the winemaker’s art of blending and describes wines made from different lots (which can come from different varieties, the same variety from different parts of the vineyard, in different types of barrels, or grapes picked at different times) and winemakers determine which lots are best suited for blending together complimenting or reinforcing each others’ strengths, and overcoming corresponding weaknesses. I think we humans are a blend of our own experiences and we are our own artists, reinforcing our strengths and overcoming our weaknesses.