Villa d'Este Sommelier Interview

The Verandah Restaurant Courtesy Villa d’Este

Sommelier Paolo Vaninetti oversees the wines served at The Verandah Restaurant, the Grill Room and even the bottle of champagne opened with great flair at the Canova Bar. It doesn’t matter, the sommelier at Villa d’Este knows his wines.

Villa d'Este Sommelier Interview

The Canova Bar Courtesy Villa d’Este

 Sommelier Paolo was kind enough to share some of his personal experiences and background.


Q  What is the oldest wine you have ever opened?

 A  An  1896 or 98 Madeira.


 Q  What is the most expensive wine you have ever opened?

 A  Chateau Lafite Rothchild 1945 from the “Special wine List” of the Palace.


Villa d'Este Sommelier Interview

Courtesy Chateau Latour


 Q  What is the greatest wine you have ever opened?

A   Chateau Latour 1961.


Courtesy Gaja

 Q  What is the most fascinating wine tasting/pairing that you have overseen?

 A  By Angelo Gaja in the tasting room, with his best Barbaresco and the most important wines imported by himself.


Q  Who is your favorite vintner?

 A  Angelo Gaja.

Villa d'Este Sommelier Interview

Barbaresco Vineyards Courtesy Gaja

Q  What makes a great wine in your opinion?

 A  Harmony – Finesse – Pleasure of sharing it with good friends.


 Q  How do you keep up with knowledge about new wines?

 A  Books – Magazines – Sommelier Association Publishing. The web.


 Q Who is the most famous person/event you have poured wine for and the occasion?

 A  This is Villa d’Este. there are too many wonderful people to mention!


 Q  If you could plan a wine tasting and cost was no object, what wines would you serve?

 A  An old selection of  Brunello Riserva Biondi Santi with Mr Franco Biondi Santi.


 Q  If you were planning a dream dinner party, what food would you serve and what wine would be paired with the food?

 A  Veal Ossobuco with Saffron Risotto and a Valtellina wine :  Sassella Rocce Rosse

Riserva 1997.


Q  On a more personal note, when did you have your first glass of wine?

 A  First year of hotel school.


Q  Do you remember the name of it?

 A  Grumello Riserva Valtellina Superiore – Pellizzatti.


 Q  When did you decide that you wanted to be a sommelier?

 A  During my first season at the Badrutt’s Palace  Hotel  in St Moritz ( Switzerland ) at the age of 20.


 Q  What is the most interesting aspect of your job that you  could you share with us?

 A  To see our guests happy when tasting good Italian wines at my suggestion.



 Thank you for taking the time to share your “story.”



– The Gourmet Review


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