Starting out as a sommelier’s assistant at Chile’s Hotel Tinto Boutique, Matias Kaempfer fell for the job hook line and sinker and signed up at Escuela de Sommeliers de Chile. After undertaking a work placement at Santiago’s prestigious Boragó, he also oversaw wine matters at Restaurante 040 when it opened in 2015; he’s currently leading a new project about Chilean wine culture, La Ruta de la Vid Chile.
What was your last pairing recommendation?
The dish was cannelloni filled with wagyu, covered with a candied potato, so I recommended Villard Tanagra Syrah 2012 from Casablanca Valley. It’s a structured wine with a lot of fruit, complex with very well-integrated oak and has a consistent relationship between the nose and the mouth. At the same time, it cleans your palate after receiving the greasiness of the dish; that’s what makes it a perfect wine pairing.
What did you drink last night?
Last night, I drank Bodegas Re VIGNO 2008, a 100 percent Carignan wine, from D.O. Maule Valley. To classify a wine as VIGNO, you need 30-year-old bush vines that come from Secano Interior in Maule and it must be made from at least 65 percent Carignan.
What’s your favourite wine region in the world?
I really like Bordeaux, because I love the grape varieties that grow there and because here in Chile, those same varieties have found a great terroir to grow in, which allows us to make amazing Bordeaux-style blends.
What do you love most about your work?
I love being able to teach people how to make the most of every dish and every wine, while experimenting and trying new things. The most important thing for me is teaching people and transmitting all the knowledge I possibly can.
Name a gem in your personal cellar.
I have a Viñedos Chadwick Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 from Aconcagua Valley that I’ve been saving for a special occasion.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a somm?
Meeting new people from the industry who have taught me so many things such as gastronomy, wine and life experiences, and I hope they know that I do what I do because I’m passionate about it.
If you were a wine, you’d be…
I would be an assemblage that represents Chile from north to south. As a wine, I would love to be able to show the terroir characteristics from each Chilean valley; such as Itata’s Pinot Noir from Chile’s extreme south, passing through Colchagua’s Carménère and finishing with Elqui’s Syrah from the north. As I always say: “Wine lets you get to know new places and new friends; the same as travelling.”