Interview With A Sommelier – Antonio Palmarini
13th February 2024
The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by an army of talented Sommeliers, who help the consumer discover their next favourite bottle, understand the different regions and pair a delicious meal with the right Glass of Bubbly.
In this feature, I speak with a man from Italy, who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Antonio Palmarini, let’s find out about his life as a Sommelier.
Tell Us About Yourself
“Born and raised in Abruzzo, I moved to London in 2010 with moderate Italian wine knowledge but almost none about the rest of the entire wine world. So I jumped into the WSET, but not concluded, Diploma, got the WSET level 3 of Sake and Tea Champion with the UK Tea Academy where combined they brought me to work with mainly Japanese cuisine restaurants as Sushi Samba to the Omakase focussed MARU to where I enjoy now to be, at the boutique hotel Beaverbrook Townhouse.
During the above studies and experiences, I have achieved some awards: Top 23rd Sommelier by Harper’s Magazine in 2023, Top 21st and Top 31st Sommelier by Sommelier Edit in 2022 and 2023 to name a few of the most recent.
I’m very sales focused, adapting the wine, sake, and tea list I manage to market demand, leaving as aside as possible my personal likes. I put my guests’ likes as priority and pleasing them is absolutely paramount!”
Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?
“Honestly I don’t remember my first experience with sparkling wines, however, I can tell the most exciting sparkling wine I have tasted was an amazing Krug Vintage ’95 tasted in 2019 while I was working for Petrús of Gordon Ramsey. After tasting it I had teary eyes….nothing else to add on this…”
What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?
“It has definitely been a way to study something fun that is linked to the tradition of my family, of my region, of my country, while gaining knowledge and specializing in something within hospitality, a sector where I have been working since 2005.”
During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising & Interesting Thing You’ve Learnt?
“The sommelier job is full of surprises and is not closed to just wine. Sake surprised me a lot, for instance about the yeast selection which is often, if not always, a tabú in wine, where nobody wants to open up and keep it secret. Since 2020 I had an intense focus on Tea and surprisingly it is the drink that is more close to wine than any other beverage on earth considering the variety of flavours, styles and terroir.”
What Sparkling Wine Producing Countries or Regions Hold A Special Place In Your Heart?
“I would go with a classic, sometimes boring answer on that. Champagne! Despite Franciacorta, Trentodoc and some top Californians and Cava ‘bubbly’ being above expectations considering the quality and value for money, Champagne is, for me, the most consistent, always great quality sparkling wine region!
They have been able during the centuries, with its viticulture and winemaking strict regulations to standardise the quality and for me are second to none talking in overall production and yes, have a special place in my heart”
Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?
“I have enjoyed a glass of bubbly in many memorable places. Let’s say that I have been in many memorable places where I’ve often been accompanied with a glass of bubbly!
The last occasion I want to share is the most recent, I was in Diamond Creek, in the Diamond Mountains of Napa Valley in California this July. Napa Valley is the land of Cabernet as everyone knows but they welcomed me with a glass of, still not imported in the UK, Roederer Estate, L’Ermitage Brut 2017 from Anderson Valley. The heat of 39°C from the outside, the ice cold extremely good glass of fizz with a stunning view of one of the most remarkable vineyards of Napa was just the most memorable place to be (as seen in the picture).”
Thank you, Antonio, for sharing your words, knowledge and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!
Images belong to Antonio Palmarini. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission, to use them.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.