Cut in Beverly Hills has one of the best female sommeliers in the business, Dana Farner. And so does Wolfgang Puck’s newish London branch at the luxe hotel 45 Park Lane. She’s Vanessa Cinti, an Italian who worked with Puck at Spago in Bachelor Gulch, Colo.
Cinti grew up in her parent’s restaurant near Torino, but her parents encouraged her to do something else with her life. She went to university in Urbino where she studied sociology. After university, she started traveling “and the passion came up again,” she says simply, as if there was nothing to be done. “And here I am now, working for Wolfgang Puck.”
London was a big change for Cinti. “At the beginning, it was hard because it was completely new territory for me. And I didn’t know how guests would react to my list for Cut. Now, as I understand my guests more, the list is changing and evolving.” It surprised her to find that Cabernet from the United States and Bordeaux are her two biggest sellers. “It’s cold outside and most people ask for a nice full-bodied wine.”
And what about your beloved Nebbiolo? I couldn’t help asking.
“That's my wine. That's my land. That's my heart. I do have, of course, a nice selection of Barolo and Barbaresco. And I love them with the meat.”
I was curious, though, as to which California Cabernets Londoners were drinking. “They love Duckhorn Vineyard, Stags Leap Wine Cellars wines, and if you want to go a little higher in price they like Silver Oak all the way up to Harlan Estate.”
And when I asked her what Cabernet had caught her fancy lately, she cited the 2007 O'Shaughnessy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain vineyard in Napa Valley. “I have been there. The view from the vineyard is spectacular and the wines are even more spectacular, elegant and full of fruit with well-integrated tannins. I'm so happy to have this wine on my list!”
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: Vanessa Cinti, Head Sommelier. Courtesy of Vanessa Cinti.