Lorenzo Abussi – Head Sommelier at RÜYA London
How long have you been at the restaurant?
At Ruya London since the opening in June 2018 and with the company I was part of the opening team also for the Dubai branch
What attracted you to become a sommelier?
I became a sommelier back in 2000 following the dream to open my own wine bar which I opened two years later.
I drove the business for two more years before moving to work as a professional sommelier in a Michelin Star restaurant in Milan.
That was my first experience as a sommelier.
Where did you do your training?
I’ve got my Diploma in Rome at the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS) then all my WSET Diploma while I was in Dubai, working for Ruya.
What would you say were the essential skills required to be a sommelier?
Curiosity and passion are, for sure, two of the essential skills required to be a sommelier.
Curiosity to discover, taste and try as many wines and styles and understand the different cultures. Passion is a good engine for your day to day motivation.
What wines complement your personal favourite three course meal and why?
My favourite wine ever is this Italian Metodo Classico called ‘Giulio Ferrari – Riserva del Fondatore’ From Cantine Ferrari.
Is an amazing Blanc de Blancs aged who seats on the lees for ten years before been released. The complexity and the elegance of that wine, doesn’t have equal.
Is so complex and at the same time so easy to drink, who’s able to be amazing for your starter and take you over all your meal.
What are your thoughts on the “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish” age-old debate?
There is obviously a technical reason behind the debate, however, I’m more of the opinion that is better have the best wine with the best meal, regardless the colour.
How does the choice of the right wines complement the different food courses served?
What’s the best part of your job?
The People! I cannot count the people that I have met in all my career, from all over the world. Nothing that I could have done seating on a desk.
And the worst?
Sometimes the long hours, are the downside of my job, but hey, is my job in the end.
What is the unusual wine that you have ever tasted and why?
I remember one of the most unusual was a sparkling Japanese wine. That was a good effort from the producer, however they had still a long way to go.
What is the most money that you’ve ever seen spent on a single bottle?
A table of two, in my previous restaurant in London; a nice Russian couple spent £6,000 for a bottle of ‘La Tache’ DRC.
How many wines do you have?
At the moment we are listing 400 wines in our Wine List from all the Countries, particularity of our list is the great selection of Turkish wines. Few boutique wineries and little gem that we have selected for our guests.
How often do you find that customers complain about wine being corked and – in your opinion – how often do you think that they are right?
To be honest this is happening less and less, since the producer are doing a very good job selecting the high quality closure and corks. In a restaurant, serving a corked wine shouldn’t happen since the service team is in charge.