Interview With A Sommelier – Leonardo Barlondi

18th September 2023

Interview With A Sommelier Leonardo Barlondi

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 who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Leonardo Barlondi, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“Hi I’m Leonardo from Florence (Italy); I left Italy in 2007 and worked in several different cities/countries like Copenhagen, Barcelona, Antigua and Barbuda, Los Angeles and then London when I arrived in 2014, where I started to work as Commis Sommelier at Maze by Gordon Ramsay, now I’m the Head Sommelier at The Grill by Tom Booton.”

What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?

“Wine was part of an everyday meal back home, and also the influence of the nearby Chianti and the whole Tuscan wines had a big impact on me. Saying this, in Italy, there are not as many opportunities as in London to become a sommelier, so Maze by Gordon Ramsay gave me the opportunity to start this career in an amazing sommelier team.”

During Your Time As A Sommelier, What’s The Most Surprising Thing You’ve Learnt?

“The world of wine puts your ego down by telling you that humility is the key to improving your knowledge and skills.”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“Sometimes; I’ve worked to have a page on the wine list for just English Sparkling, and sometimes I meet more open-minded guests, that are willing to try new things, but being at The Dorchester most of the guests prefer to stay classic and drink Champagne.”

In Your Professional Opinion, Out Of Champagne And Prosecco, Which Do You Think Does A Better Job With Complementing A Meal?

“Most of the time Champagne does a better job, because of the complexity, the persistence, and the different styles including the off-dry and sweet to match desserts.”

What Advice Would You Give Inspiring Sommeliers?

“Like many jobs – do it with passion, make it like a hobby so you will enjoy while doing it. You will have the opportunity to travel to different countries visiting beautiful places, take part in harvests and transmit your experiences from the land to the guests.”

If You Sat Down For A Quiet Dinner, What Dish And Sparkling Wine Would You Choose To Enjoy Together?

“Although I love Champagne, I always like to try new things and I believe that English Sparkling has great potential, White truffle tajarin with Solera N.1 by Danbury Ridge.”

Thank you, Leonardo Barlondi, 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 The Dorchester. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.