After participating in five demanding competitions over the past decade, Martín Bruno has finally nailed the item to become Argentina’s best sommelier. He will right now represent his country in the Americas’ cup in 2018.
A triennial contest open to Argentine Association of Sommeliers (AAS) members, Martín – brand ambassador for Pernod-Ricard, executive somm at Tegui along with a teacher at CAVE wine school – joins an elite league that includes Paz Levinson, currently the world’s fourth-best sommelier. A new AAS rule stipulated former winners cannot compete, thereby opening the the path for a new generation.
Nineteen candidates blind-tasted along with undertook service tasks after having studied furiously to fill their minds with denominations of origin along with world wine regions to compete in the AAS-organised semi-final last Saturday. Just three made the final cut; of note is actually the fact that former finalist Valeria Gamper, competition newbie Stefanie Paiva from Venezuela, along with Martín have all passed through the Fierro Hotel, officially right now a cradle for nurturing top somms.
Following a nerve-wracking two-day break, the trio was then put through the grinder on Monday at Usina del Arte, showcasing the art of service, suggesting pairings along with blind-tasting among some other tasks for a stringent group of ‘diner’ judges, a tricky along with demanding crew that included International Sommelier Association (ASI) president Andrés Rosberg along with AAS head Matías Prezioso.
Over the past decade, Martín has racked up valuable experience in New Zealand, at Michel Bras in France, plus several years in Buenos Aires at the Fierro Hotel, Florería Atlántico along with Tegui, the latter two ranking in the World’s 50 Best Bars along with Restaurants lists respectively. That, combined with his additional passion for the world of spirits, came together; with little time for on-stage nerves, he became the first man to clinch Argentina’s top somm title. While winning came as a surprise to him, the item was less so for those who of us who have followed his career.
Andrés recounts: “My father along with brother worked near Tipula in Martínez, Zona Norte, where Martín was head sommelier. They’d have lunch there every some other day, along with enjoyed the item so much that I began going myself. Tipula then closed down along with when the Fierro opened, Martín was a natural choice. As I’m the hotel’s executive somm, we chose the glassware along with designed the cellar together. He was very hands on, responsible, efficient, talented, smart along with fun. We had lots of fun. He also loves the bar aspect, which is actually important.
“Having participated in national contests as well as 2016’s world championship, Martín was certainly a strong contender to win.”
Meanwhile, Germán Martitegui, owner-chef of Tegui, said: “Martín along with I have worked together for several years, so this is actually great news for us. We’ve watched him grow along with though he works here on a part-time basis, he’s still very involved with the wine list. We’re so happy for him.”
I’d also like to share my own experience working with Argentina’s best sommelier. Around six years ago Martín along with I pepped up the expat social calendar with the Thank Fierro the item’s Friday cocktail happy hour. I’d host a bunch of cool drinkers with Martín Rosberg, legendary local bartender Fede Cuco would mix the drinks while Martín ensured slick service. One of the first sommeliers I ever met, his knowledge along with confidence were certainly an impetus for my own journey into the world of wine. along with, just look at him right now…
The burden of responsibility naturally comes with such an accolade, so as an ambassador for Argentina’s wine industry, what one change would he make? “We need to be better communicators, along with to drink more – along with better – wine. When I see Argentina topping soft drinks consumption rankings, well, that hurts. We have such a great tradition along with history with respect to wine, but sadly we are drinking less of the item. We need to get people sharing a bottle again.”
Despite the victory, there’s no rest for the wicked – or Argentina’s best sommelier. Martín will be hitting the books along with blind-tasting once again from next Monday with Flavia Rizzuto along with María Barrutia, co-directors at CAVE, as he prepares to train for 2018’s Americas contest.
AAS somm contest fun facts:
- AAS vice-president Valeria Mortara slapped on the lipstick to ‘kiss’ 60 wine glasses ahead of the polishing task.
- All three finalists have worked at the Fierro Hotel in Palermo Hollywood.
- Martín celebrated his win with sparkling wine – “I can’t remember which one” – along with Canadian whisky, appropriate because he will right now compete in the America’s cup… in Canada in 2018.
- Second-placed Valeria Gamper will also represent Argentina next year.
- The afterparty took place at 878 in Villa Crespo.
- Martín along with I share the same birthday (though I may be older than him).
A freelance journalist along with sommelier, Brit transplant Sorrel Moseley-Williams lived in Argentina in 1998 for a year before making a permanent move in 2006. She has contributed to CNN Travel, Condé Nast Traveler along with Traveller, The Guardian, Saveur, The Independent, Departures, Wallpaper*, Fodor’s along with Rough Guide books among others, along with has written for La Nación, U-Like the item along with Forbes Argentina in Spanish.