Interview With A Sommelier – Marco Nardi

31st May 2023

Sommelier Marco Nardi

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 Marco Nardi. Now let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“My name is Marco Nardi, I am Italian from Milan, currently the Head Sommelier at Caracterè Restaurant in Notting Hill London since March 2022. I did my hospitality school in Merano (Alto-Adige) and then worked in Aosta Valley and Switzerland at the prestigious Palace Hotel in Gstaad. It was there that my passion for wine started. Since 2014 I have lived in the UK where I have worked in one of the most respected hotels of the country, Chewton Glen Hotel, under the mentorship of Francesco Gabriele, who has truly taught me how to be a Sommelier. After Chewton I decided to dedicate a few years of my career to experiencing the role of Restaurant manager and Restaurant General Manager, a role that I have covered at the Michelin Star Restaurant L’ Ortolan in Reading, before deciding to come back to wine, with a 360 degree knowledge of restaurant operation.”

What Inspired You To Become A Sommelier?

“I was 16 when I left for Gstaad for the summer season, there I have been exposed to wines that I am now familiar with, but that at the time I had no idea of. One night a customer decided to order this magic bottle, it was a Bianco Breg vintage 1998 by Josko Gravner, tasting it was magic and it triggered something inside me. The same night after service I started researching Josko on the internet and a little time later I was buying my first book “Coltivare il vino” about him. From then onwards I have focused more and more on biodynamic and natural wine, and embark in this mission of bringing them to the table of the best restaurants and showing people the beauty of what they are in their diversity.”

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

“The most surprising thing I have learned in my career, is possibly that, in order to be good at what we do as a Sommelier, you cannot limit yourself to learn about the wines, but you need to believe in it deeply, because that is what is going to ensure that you will be able to change the customer’s habit towards what you deem as more suitable for the restaurant and for food pairings, rather than let them choose always the same 5-6 styles of wine from the same producer just because you find it easier and less stressful to follow the hype of the market.”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“While working at Chewton Glen we had one of the largest English sparkling collections in UK and in Europe, so then I recommended English sparkling on a day to day basis against other more famous styles of sparkling wine like Champagne and Prosecco. Producers that I particularly enjoyed suggesting were Gusbourne from Kent and Hattingley Valley from Hampshire. I find English sparkling wine incredibly versatile, especially when it comes to food and wine pairings.”

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

“Having worked in my career with both Champagne and Prosecco, I always default to Champagne when it comes to food pairings. The freshness and softness of a N.V. Classic Cuveé, especially if based on the Pinot Noir grape, and let’s not forget about the Blanc de Noir style, my personal favourite, where Pinot Noir shows all its structure and a bouquet of aromas, supported by a silky texture, yet with an incredibly profound and long finish. Just something memorable.”

What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?

“To an aspiring sommelier I would like to say, don’t follow what the others say like it’s the only version available of the story, be eager to learn, explore and try, until you find what truly inspires you to be a Sommelier, like for me it is the world of Biodynamic and Natural wine, and the heroes behind those labels.”

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

“I will definitely choose a traditional method of sparkling wine made in Veneto, from an ancient variety called “Durella”, produced by the winery Zambon Vulcano, the wine is called Vulcano 36, which corresponds to the number of months that it spends in a bottle for the second fermentation, Pas Dosè, and just a beauty.”

Thank you, Marco, 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 Marco Nardi. 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.