Enjoy the chance to appreciate Cayman’s sommeliers’ top wines of the moment.
Erno Virag has been working at Ragazzi since he first came to Cayman eleven years ago, first as a waiter and then manager of the restaurant. Having helped his grandfather cultivate his own grapes and make wine (for home consumption only) in his native Hungary, Erno (Ernie to his friends) studied hospitality at university, gaining sommelier qualifications, and then worked in restaurants in Hungary and then on to Israel.
He got his first taste of the Caribbean working on cruise ships as the captain waiter, traveling all over the world before arriving in Cayman in 1999. Erno says his favourite white wines are usually Sauvignon Blanc or perhaps the Furmint grape, native to Hungary which forms the basis of the highly prized Tokaji dessert wine from the country.
On the red side, he enjoys the Portugieser found primarily in lower Austria, Hungary and cultivated areas of Germany, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Liron Lantos is in charge of wines as Ragazzi’s wine steward, an Hungarian Israeli who was born just 20 miles or so from the village of Tokaji. Liron’s family garden was also planted with vines (again, making wines just for home consumption, quite a tradition in the region). Not sure exactly of his career as a young man, Liron did a stint in the Hungarian police service when he left school. Serving as a waiter at the same time to supplement his income meant Liron had a taste of what he really enjoyed – the hospitality industry, and in particular, his passion for wine.
Liron moved to Israel and working his way through the ranks to eventually serving at one of Israel’s top restaurants, the Red Sea Star, an underwater restaurant in the famous Eilat resort. From there he moved to Cayman in 2003 to the Hyatt hotel. After the 2004 hurricane decimated the Hyatt, Liron moved to Bacchus restaurant where he says he learnt a tremendous amount from its sommelier Martin. He has enjoyed working at Ragazzi for two years and says he loves “all wines!”.