Josep Roca is the self-professed ‘wine waiter’ of three-star Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca that he shares with chef siblings Joan and Jordi. He was named World’s Best Sommelier in July this year in the inaugural prize launched by World’s 50 Best Restaurants. He is the author of Tras las viñas. Un viaje al alma de los vinos (Behind the Vineyards. A Voyage to the Soul of Wines) published in 2016.
‘I was practically born into the world of wine because, from a very young age, I was the one in charge of filling bottles with wine from the barrels to be used on the menu of the day at my parents’ restaurant Can Roca. I’ve always been fascinated by the world of wine, the aromas coming from the barrels in the cellar of our mother’s kitchen. I’d go down that wooden staircase and it was a mysterious space, whose scents would lure me in…’
‘My earliest wine memory is one that I enjoyed aged 10, when I’d go fishing with my older brother Joan and our uncle to Cala Rostella, a bay close to Cala Montjoi – the name might ring a bell, because El Bulli restaurant used to be based there. It was a white made by our uncle’s family, from the area of Calonge in Baix Empordà, in Girona.’