Uncorked: Juan Luengo

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Juan Luengo restaurant manager and wine buyer Behind Hackney

Related tags Juan Luengo Uncorked Wine Behind Michelin

The restaurant manager at Hackney’s Behind on Bavarian winemaker Andi Weigand, Aline Beauné’s Aligote and getting his socks blown off by a bottle of well-aged Zibbibo.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
At the ripe age of 16, I went to visit some friends in Vitoria-Gasteiz (in Northern Spain) for the summer festivities, and to my surprise I found myself joining the locals into very badly pouring Txakolina over my shoulder into a glass that I was trying to hold with my other hand. I was blown away by the social dimension that wine has and have been trying to explore it ever since. 

Describe your wine list at Behind
To curate the wine list, we have worked with several brilliant producers, mainly small, family-owned vineyards that put the same level of passion and care into their wine as we do here with the food; we keep it seasonal, diverse, and fun.

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 
Of course! And whoever says they have not had any is lying. From dropping glasses on the only person wearing white, to breaking a glass, hospitality is a human industry and as humans we are bound to make mistakes. It is natural, how we handle them is what makes us better. 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists 
Nommad in Madrid, Rogues in Hackney Road and Delicatessen Cave in Paris.

Who do you most respect in the wine world?​ 
Victoria and Nahuel from Pequenos y Salvajes (in Spain’s Castile and León region). Grassroots young people reclaiming how to make wine through taking care of the soil in the most unexpected places.

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently? 
I recently had a beautiful bottle of aged Zibibbo, it blew my socks off. 

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Dry, mineral, and funky.

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment? 
Aline Beaune Aligote is everything you want without splashing out.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
Pizza and Beaujolais Nouveau. If you know, you know…

Old World or New World?
Despite what my fiancée thinks, Old World. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 
When they do not give you tasters of wines that they are pouring by the glass and QR code wine lists. 

Who is your favourite producer right now?  
Andi Weigand (a Germany-based winemaker). He is just cool, and he knows what he is doing. An old soul in young person’s body.

As a restaurant manager, what question do you most get asked by customers?  
Where are you from? I look Spanish, but I don’t sound Spanish. 

Which wine producing region or country is underrated at the moment
Tasmania, I believe it has the potential in the next decade to become a wine making region with wines with plenty of character that are unmistakably unique.

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

Related topics Fine Dining

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more

Generation Next