Interview With A Sommelier – Valerio Vallani

15th February 2023

Interview With A Sommelier - Valerio Vallani

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 article, I speak with a man who has helped many people to discover the vast world of Wines and Sparkling Wines, his name is Valerio Vallani, and let’s find out a bit about his life as a Sommelier.

Tell Us About Yourself

“I’m Valerio, from Verona, the city of Romeo and Juliet and also home to lots of quality Italian wines. I’ve been working abroad since 2016 and now I work as Head Sommelier at The Angel Inn, Stoke-by-Nayland, a gastronomic destination in Suffolk. We recently won Sunday Times Best Hotel 2023 for the East of England, as well as a top score of 9/10 for food and wine in The Times Travel Guide 2023. The Angel Inn has a great wine list and some stunning wines.”

What Inspired You To Become a Sommelier?

“I have been always surrounded by vineyards and I started to drink wines from 18 years old. While my friends were enjoying cocktails and beers. I’ve always been passionate about wine.”

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

“It is very obvious to say: You come to understand that you will never stop learning. Wine is a living thing and I have never studied anything like that before!”

How Often Do You Find Yourself Recommending English Sparkling Wine?

“Always! English sparkling wine is very much a part of our wine offer. I support English wines and I often incorporate English sparkling and white wines in our pairing menu.”

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

“I love Prosecco and I think is a great wine for starting to approach sparkling wines. Its flavours are easy to recognize and it’s enjoyable to drink by itself. And now comes the “but”.

Prosecco doesn’t reach the complexity of Champagne. Champagne is very versatile with food and gives a wider spectrum of flavours to play with when you need to create a wine pairing.”

What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Sommeliers?

“Be curious! Not just about wine or food, but be open to learning about new cultures, about history, geography, and traditions. When you walk stop to smell a flower, taste food that you don’t usually eat, try as many wines as you can and be able to communicate all of it, and share your passion. To be a sommelier is not just to be able to pick out violet or cherry flavours from a glass or memorize wine region names. It means being able to take your customers, your friends, on a journey through the amazing world of wine.”

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

“I would pick a traditional recipe from Veneto, creamed codfish with polenta. It’s a simple, tasty meal complemented with a sparkling wine from Verona, Durello. Durello is a “Methode Champenoise” made with the indigenous Durella grape, grown on the volcanic soil of Lessinia mountain. A very gastronomic wine! Try it!”

Thank you, Valerio, 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 Valerio Vallani. 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.