Francesco Tessa head sommelier Angler fish restaurant London
Tell us about when you first became interested in wine…
My father had a few hectares of vines, and when I was a child I saw him making wine at home, but I was not at all interested because of the strong smell of the juice! It wasn’t until 2008 that a client of the restaurant where I worked as a waiter ordered a bottle of Guado al Tasso Antinori Tuscan Red 1998 and offered me a taste. A different world opened up to me.
Tell us about your restaurant wine list
Angler, as the name suggests, is a restaurant focused on fish and seafood, so there is a strong demand for white wines. It has an extensive list with a focus on French/Old World wines. There is also an intriguing selection in the New World. My approach is to celebrate the continued additions from all corners of the wine world.
During your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
I added the wrong wine. I had to excuse myself, change all the glasses and offer the guests a new bottle.
Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Le Taillevent in Paris, Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence and Noble Rot in London.
Who do you respect the most in the world of wine?
Jancis Robinson. His books have helped me grow professionally.
What is the most interesting wine you have ever encountered?
Josko Gravner Ribolla Gialla from Friuli, Italy. Wonderfully complex, it is a sublime example of the art of winemaking.
What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Mineral, woody, fruity.
What’s the best wine on your list right now, and why?
Kalogeri Malagouzia Papagiannakos from Attiki, Greece. It’s a very versatile pairing for Angler’s menu and is capable of satisfying any palate.
What is your ultimate food and drink pairing?
A grilled langoustine tail with truffle cream and truffles, paired with Savennières Coulée de Serrant by Nicolas Joly.
Old World or New World?
If I have to choose, it’s Old World. It all started there.
What does your pet hate about wine service at other restaurants?
Wines served at the wrong temperature.
Who is your favorite producer right now and why?
Clemens Busch in the Moselle. I consider it a truly pure and distinctive expression of German Riesling. I admire their philosophy and natural approach.
As a sommelier, what is the question that customers ask you the most?
How long does it take to become a sommelier? My answer is a few years, but it depends because there are many factors to consider.
Which wine region/country is currently underestimated and why?
Galicia, in particular Ribera Sacra DOP. The region offers a great diversity of grape varieties and wine styles.
It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why?
Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de la Lalande, Pauillac, Bordeaux, 1996. This is truly a masterpiece.