Uncorked: Michele Orbolato

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Michele Orbolato head sommelier Thesleff Group Los Mochis and Sale e Pepe

Related tags Michele Orbolato Uncorked Sommelier Wine Thesleff Group Los Mochis Sale e Pepe

The head sommelier at Los Mochis and Sale e Pepe owner Thesleff Group on Semillon, Angelo Gaja and Patagonia-based producer Matias Riccitelli.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
It happened by coincidence. I went with one of my best friends to a big wine fair and I had the chance to taste plenty of different wines. One month later, I enrolled in sommelier school. 

Describe your wine list at Los Mochis 
Our emphasis lies on embracing indigenous grape varieties that authentically capture the essence of the region and its unique terroir, steering clear of the ordinary. Alongside these gems, we pay homage to the classics, ensuring a well-rounded representation of exceptional wines. From renowned wine regions to the farthest corners of the globe, our diverse selection encompasses both time-honoured favourites and innovative grape varieties on the rise. 

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
A notable incident occurred early in my career when I unfortunately dropped a very expensive bottle of Brunello di Montalcino Biondi Santi. 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists 
Some of my favourites include Noble Rot and Hide in London and Palais-Coburg in Vienna.

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 
Angelo Gaja. He successfully revived the Barbaresco appellation, showcasing dedication, ambition, and resilience.

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently? 
A recent discovery that left me pleasantly surprised is an ancient grape variety named Mouhtaro, rediscovered in Greece. Hailing from Mount Helikon in central Greece, this red grape variety is rich in aromas and intensity on the nose, offering a palate that is simultaneously rich and elegant. 

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Fruitiness, minerality, and balance.

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?
An old vines Chenin Blanc from Olifantsberg (a South Africa-based producer) is another standout for me. It complements our cuisine perfectly, displaying complexity, a lingering palate and refreshing notes.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
At Los Mochis, Semillon stands out. Its freshness, tropical nose, and lingering palate harmonise beautifully with our dishes, including our cod tempura with cabbage, yuzo aioli, jalapeno, and coriander.

Old World or New World?
Old World. 

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

Who is your favourite producer right now? 
Riccitelli from Patagonia, Argentina. Matias Riccitelli produces amazing varieties in a cool climate environment. Until a few years ago, this was unthinkable.

As a head sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?
A lot of our guests are curious about what orange wine is. 

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
I’d go for a 2009 Château Margaux. Great wine with power, elegance and balance.

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