Enjoy the chance to appreciate Cayman’s sommeliers’ top wines of the moment.
Luciano De Riso is the sommelier at Agua restaurant and lounge. Luciano has been a certified sommelier since early 2008, and says he got an early start in the industry helping out with the family tradition wine making in his native Italy (he is from Matera in the south of the country, about three hours south of Rome), then working and broadening his knowledge between Italy, England and Bermuda before settling in Cayman first at Ragazzi and then at Seven Prime Steakhouse at The Ritz-Carlton. He then moved to Toronto for a year before returning to take up the challenge of creating something unique and new at Agua.
“Needless to say I am very passionate about everything that is to do with wine because I love to drink, first and foremost!” he says.
With regard to his wine choices, Luciano says he has chosen wines that compliment the cuisine style at Agua and that are off the beaten path. “I try and help people appreciate wines outside the box,” he says.
Luciano’s top whites:
Vermentino Belguardo Mazzei Tuscany Italy
This is a white varietal solely found in Italy, producing a floral and perfumed wine showing notes of green apple and citrus peel, with a tamed acidity that makes it a perfect aperitif or a great seafood companion.
Albarinho Pazo de Senorans Spain
Leading the pack of the unknown varietal, this indigenous grape of the Rias-baixas area of northern Spain is becoming a favourite thanks to the crispy acidity, the green fruit flavours and the apricot peach notes on a lingering finish that calls for one more sip. It’s definitely the best pairing option for raw seafood and salads.
Sauvignon Blanc Mulderbosch South Africa
Famous for some of the best scenery on the world for wine tourism, South Africa makes wonderful wines as well. This crispy and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc presents the grassy flavor and minerality of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and rich tropical notes of the California counterpart. A great diversion amongst the lover of this varietal.
Luciano’s top reds:
Sagrantino Di Montefalco Tenuta Alzatura Umbria Italy
Out of the beautiful scenery of central Italy comes this undiscovered pearl made of the Sagrantino grape, a rich and deeply coloured red wine with notes of roasted chestnut, dark berries, a very persistent finish layered with mocha and cassis note. A great find.
Purple Angels Montes Chile
This is a classic example of a new world wine, dark and concentrated with a core of crushed berries and ripe plum. The right amount of new oak gives it balance and structure, long finish with bitter chocolate nuances. Carmenere grape at is best.
Pinot Noir Gloria Ferrer Carneros USA
The red wine to pair with almost any food, a great example of the classic varietal of Pinot noir. Carneros is been deemed the Burgundy of California rightly so. The right amount of fresh lively fruit, mostly red berries, and the earthy and wood perfume make this wine a perfect pairing for any dish.