Who will be Argentina’s next top somm?

(En castellano abajo.) Every three years, the Argentine Sommeliers’ Association (AAS) holds its best somm contest¬† to fine the country’s¬† best nose and palate. And there’s plenty of inspiration: Paz Levinson has not only taken the Argentina and Americas titles, she also ranked fourth in the world in 2016.¬†

Sommelier Camila Lapido.


Regardless, Paz ‚Äď and other former Argentina winners ‚Äď cannot compete, opening up the field to the next generation in a bid to create additional local references. Competitors include Mart√≠n Bruno, Tegui’s former wine guru, Rest√≥’s Camilo Lea√Īo Ferreira and Clusters Wine distributor’s Valeria Gamper¬† among others. Here, competitor Camila Lapido from Alo’s Bistro in La Horqueta, San Isidro, who work at Virtus in Paris with Paz, tells me about her career and prep work. En espa√Īol abajo.¬†

What triggered you to become a sommelier?
After many years in service, I started to understand what it meant to maximise a restaurant experience, besides great food ‚Äď and it was beverages. I started to pay attention to the tiny details on each bottle, origins and methods, and that allowed me to get to know almost the whole world and its customs, and the infinite possibilities with regard to combining food and drinks. The cellar where I worked at the time, Sucre, made me understand the beginnings of the world of wine.

What does being a sommelier mean to you?
The instructed person who accompanies you when it comes to choosing the adequate accompaniment for each situation. I believe that we are story-tellers, but that there is also technical knowledge behind each decision, that we have to simplify with our words, ensuring a wine dazzles even the greatest of connoisseurs. There are a lot of new regions in Argentina (and the world!) and part of our role is being up to date so we can present it all at the table.

And, we’re the right arm of thekitchen! Without doubt, that closes everything to create a great symphony!

What was your last pairing?

The last one to really surprise us was at one of the first courses¬† at a dinner we did, Alo’s and Friends, with Chila. Beef tartare with oysters together with¬†Finca Su√°rez¬†Zero Dosage 100% Pinot Noir, delicately crazy on both sides!

How are you preparing for the contest?
Studying a lot, everything related to wine and gastronomy in general that you can think of. The most essential part is to have a list of priorities and place them between wine and geography with other subjects such as spirits, waters, coffee, tea, cigars… I’m training for the service side, blind tasting a lot and practising service techniques. It’s a lot of ground to cover but from day one it’s been very enriching.

Which wine region in the world, would you love to visit? 
If I could get a direct ticket right now, I’d go to Georgia. That part of the world fascinates me and to see [wine’s] origins and such well-maintained customs hat have stood the test of time fascinates me. But it’s hard to pick one, I’d choose 10! Austria and Germany are two places I also love!

En castellano

Cómo arrancaste con la carrera de sommelier?

Despu√©s de varios a√Īos de servicio, empec√© a entender cual era la clave para maximizar la experiencia en el restaurante, ademas de una buena cocina y eran las bebidas. Comenc√© a prestarle atenci√≥n a los peque√Īos detalles de cada botella, or√≠genes y m√©todos y eso me hizo conocer casi todo el mundo en sus costumbres y en las infinitas posibilidades que hay para combinar alimentos y bebidas. Principalmente la cava del restaurant donde yo trabajaba en ese momento, Sucre, me hizo entender los comienzos del mundo del vino.

Qué te representa la profesíon?

Camila:¬†Aquella persona instruida que te acompa√Īa a elegir el complemento adecuado para cada situaci√≥n. Coincido en que somos contadores de historias, pero me gusta pensar que tambi√©n hay un conocimiento t√©cnico detr√°s de cada elecci√≥n, que debemos simplificar en palabras haciendo del vino un producto q puede deslumbrar hasta a los m√°s conocedores. Hoy en d√≠a contamos con muchas regiones nuevas en Argentina (Y en el mundo!) y es parte de nuestro rol estar actualizados para llevar todo eso a la mesa.

Cu√°l fue tu √ļltimo maridaje?

Un √ļltimo acuerdo que mas nos sorprendi√≥ fue uno de los primeros pasos del pasado en Alo’s and Friends con Chila. Un tratar de lomo con ostras junto al espumante Zero Dosage de Finca Su√°rez 100% Pinot Noir, una locura de delicadeza de ambas partes!

Qué región del mundo visitarías?
Al día de hoy creo q si pudiera sacar un pasaje directo, iría a Georgia. Me fascina ese lado del mundo y conocer orígenes y costumbres tan bien mantenidas en el tiempo me parece alucinante. De todas maneras muy difícil elegir solo Una, diría 10! Austria y Alemania son dos lugares que me encantan!

Argentina’s best sommelier contest takes place at La Usina del Arte on 30 October 2017. #CMA2017

Ph: courtesy of Camila Lapido

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