Uncorked: Fernando Cubas

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Fernando Cubas head sommelier Theo Randall at the InterContinental restaurant

Related tags Fernando Cubas Intercontinental hotels group Sommelier London Theo randall Italian cuisine Uncorked

The head sommelier at Theo Randall at the InterContinental on his Italy-focused list, Trentino-based producer Elisabetta Foradori and his love of Sicilian wines.

Drinks Q&A Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine...

It was not love at first sight, despite the fact that I studied hospitality and I took some wine studies there. I only became interested in wine by necessity, my first job in England was as a junior sommelier at the legendary Chewton Glen Hotel in Hampshire. At that time Alan Holmes was the head sommelier who took the cellar initially built by Gerard Bassett. I suppose I was in the right place at the right time.

Tell us about your wine list at Theo Randall at the InterContinental

Our list is composed of mainly Italian wines with over 300 hundred bins representing the different regions of Italy. I am currently working on a new wine list that will promote some additional products focused on sustainable and low intervention wines. We will also expand our Coravin offer for our premium products. In addition to our wine list, we also feature a monthly regional menu with wine pairings that I use as a testing ground for some new and exciting winemakers.

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 

Early on in my hospitality career I worked for Marriot hotels and I had a visit to the home of Bill Marriot himself. During dinner, I opened a bottle of Champagne and guess who I sprayed with it... 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists

Le Cinq in Paris and Sexy Fish in London because I like the design. The third is Chewton Glen, but the list would have to be as it was when I worked there. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 

There are quite a few people in the wine world that I admire but - and I am a bit biased - I have great respect for the late Gerard Basset’s career

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve ever come across? 

I was hosting a private tasting and I was not familiar with the old vintages of American wines, I had a wine epiphany with 1979 Heitz Cellar Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (tasted in 2016)

What are the three most overused tasting notes?

Dry, fruity and mineral. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?

Nicola Bergaglio 'Ciapon' Gavi Di Gavi DOCG 2019. It's a single vineyard wine that has been vinified as a Burgundian Chardonnay. It takes the humble Cortese grape to another level. 

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 

I have many but what about some street food – spicy wings (think KFC) and a sophisticated off-dry Champagne like Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec. Please don't judge me!

Old World or New World?

I have a lot of love for both. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 

Turning the bottle upside down when finished in an ice bucket

Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why?

Elisabetta Foradori (a producer from Trentino) for many reasons; her biodynamic approach, the harmony in her wines, her treatment of the Manzoni Bianco grape, and her feminine touch.

As a head sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?  

What’s the best wine? 

Which wine-producing region or country is currently underrated at the moment and why?

Sicily is one of them, the region has a rich story, a diversity of microclimate, over 60 varietals, and a number of different types of soil. The region has the potential to produce remarkable wines.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 

I will probably go classic with the Niepoort in Lalique 1863 Decanter with Clawson Stilton Gold cheese…. Well, it is my last meal!

Related topics Fine Dining

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more