Salvatore Castano

How long have you been at the restaurant?

1 year.

What attracted you to become a sommelier?

I was working as a Chef de Rang in Italy and became interested in wines because there are so many ways to produce wines, lots of different grapes, producers from all around the world therefore I want to understand what makes them different between each other’s. 

Where did you do your training?

I started in Italy, where I did a 2 years study and received the Diploma AIS (Italian Sommelier Association), and I started the Court of Master Sommelier once I arrived here in London. 

What would you say were the essential skills required to be a sommelier?

Passion, interest, dedication.

What wines complement your personal favourite three course meal and why?

It depends on what I am having, there are so many different preparations and so many different wines, therefore I have a lot of fun pairing wines with the food.

What are your thoughts on the “Red wine with red meat, white wine with white meat and fish” age-old debate?

Everyone has a different taste, so I’ll try to make everyone happy suggesting even white wines that can go well with meat or red wines that can go well with fish.

How does the choice of the right wines complement the different food courses served?

I think it’s very important to have the right wine with the right course, this will improve your meal experience for 100%.

What’s the best part of your job?

Talking to the guest about their taste in wine and then find the perfect wines that suit them.

And the worst?

There is no worst part, this is the best job in the world. 
What is the unusual wine that you have ever tasted and why?

I went to the tasting in London and I ended up trying an organic wine, which wasn’t the best experience, that’s why I am not a big fan of these kind of wines, but of course not every producer is the same.

What is the most money that you’ve ever seen spent on a single bottle?

£7,500, Petrus 1971.

How many wines do you have?

About 900 references.

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?

We try every single bottle that goes to the table, in this case we ensure that there is not a problem at all.