Uncorked: Ola Bober

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Ola Bober head of wine at Clapham restaurant Ploussard

Related tags Ola Bober Ploussard Wine Uncorked

The head of wine at Clapham’s Ploussard on Jura, Les Caves de Pyrene founder Eric Nairoo and crying inside when people request oaky wines.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine?
In 2016, knowing only that there’s white, red and rose I walked into Terroirs (a now closed restaurant and wine bar in Covent Garden) and fell in love with it immediately. I was really lucky to work with a large, passionate team - everyone behind the bar and on the floor shared a love for wine and helped me to learn. Constantly growing and changing the wine list, as well as hosting tastings, gave me multiple chances to meet winemakers. This provided everything I needed to get passionate about wines. 

Describe the wine list at Ploussard 
Our wine list is mostly focused on Jura and Jura-style wines. It’s constantly changing and evolving, by following the seasons and our changing menu. Both owners of Ploussard, Matt (Harris) and Tommy (Kempton) are bringing a lot of their ideas and influence the wine list as much as I do, so we’re serving wines that we truly love. 

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 
We once had a table of five that ordered a bottle of light red. All four bottles we had in stock were corked - we all couldn’t believe it. Another infamous story, and I will never mention which restaurant or what wine, but I remember a colleague accidentally picking up a priceless bottle for a staff blind tasting. 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Brawn, Planque and Duck Soup (all in London).

Who do you most respect in the wine world?
The wine world is absolutely massive, and there’s so many people that deserve to be mentioned! I must say that Eric Nairoo (the founder of wine supplier Les Caves de Pyrene and Terroirs) is that one person I’ll be forever grateful for his patience and generosity. His approach to wine itself, winemaking, hospitality and people he’s working with is admirable. 

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently?
Fuori di Riccio, Agricola Alepa made by Paola Riccio (in Campania, Southern Italy). Pallagrello Bianco, skin contact with oxidative notes; there’s so much going on both on the nose and palette. This wine is definitely worth trying, and it’s well priced too.

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Juicy, funky and oaky. I always cry inside when guests are asking for oaky wines. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment?
Segna de Cor, Roc des Anges (from the Pyrénées-Orientales department of Southern France). A classic blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carrignan, smooth, velvety, crowd pleaser for autumn and winter. 

What is your ultimate food and drink match?
Comte and Jura Savagnin. 24 month-old Comte is my absolute favourite; ideally paired with oxidative Savagnin but I’d have it with a Chardonnay too. 

Old World or New World?
Old World. My heart, palate and stomach belong to the old continent. New World wines are amazing and I have few favourite picks but currently I’m dedicated to the European scene. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants?
Wine being delivered to the table already opened, even if first presented at the table. Luckily it doesn’t happen often.

Who is your favourite producer right now? 
If I must pick one, now it is Domaine Ratapoil, Raphael Monnier. Such a beautiful expression of Jura. Last bottle I tried was Plein-Poing Savagnin and I just can’t get over it but I’ll always have a lot of love for Va Donc! 

As a sommelier, what question do you most get asked by customers?
What is orange wine? Is it made from oranges?

Which wine producing region or country is underrated at the moment?
Slovenia, Hungary and Georgia deserve so much more attention. There’s not much of those wines being imported to the UK at the moment, but that is slowly changing. 

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why?
Salvo Foti, I Vigneri - Vigna di Milo Carricante from Sicily. For me it’s like drinking Sicilian summer.

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