November the 16th, 2021
The Argentinian Sommelier on her way to the Best Somm' of Americas competition
After falling in love with wine and service Valeria decided to start studying in one of the best institute of Argentina (CAVE) to become a sommelier. After more than 10 years in the hospitality industry (Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Hotel Fierro,... ), she joined the Cluster Wines Select team, a distributor based in Buenos Aires, specialized in high-end boutique Argentinian wineries. At the same time, she also became a wine educator of CAVE and IAG (Instituto Argentino de Gastronomía). She is today a member of the board of Argentine Sommelier Association, contributes writing for the AAS Newsletter and for the blog of Wines of Argentina. She is also a mentor also for the great "Speed Rack" 2021 program.
In the years 2012 and 2017 Valeria was the runner-up in the Best Sommelier of Argentina Competition. In 2018 she was ranked 4th place in the Best Sommelier of America Contest ! It is in 2019 that Valeria became the Best Sommelier of Argentina. In 2022, Valeria will participate once more to the "Best Sommelier of the Americas" competition.
We have asked a few questions to Valeria, here are her answers...
Name : Valeria Gamper
Nationality : Argentine
Birth year : 1984
What region would you pick for a bottle of your vintage?
What's for your favorite varietal ? and why? I don´t have just one favorite grape. But as a white wine lover, I can say Riesling is one of my favorites. I love the purity, tensión and complexity the grape can deliver.
Any varietal you don’t get along well ? Viognier.
What do you drink when you don't have a glass of wine in your hand? Mate, the typical ¨tea-like¨ drink from Argentina. I can't find anything more comforting than a hot- steaming Mate.
Let's say you are alone, at home, what's your favorite casual food and wine pairing for dinner?
Now that I live in Spain, I really enjoy a potato omelet with a glass of rosé wine from Navarra. A food and wine match made in heaven!
What is your favorite wine region, not to drink, but to visit ? Salta, Argentina. The place is stunning! The food, the people, the colors of the landscapes, the old vines and wines... I think I don't have enough words to describe how beautiful, unique and breathtaking it is.
If you had to save one bottle from your cellar being on fire, which one would it be? Weinert Merlot 1999
Do you/Did you have a role model/a mentor in the wine/sommelier world? If so, who ?
Yes, Paz Levinson. She is one of the top sommeliers in the world and she stays really humble and generous. She is always willing to mentor and encourage others, and share her knowledge.
Best advice you ever received? To trust myself.
Imagine you have been cursed !! You are only able to drink 1 red wine and 1 white wine until your life end. What would it be?
I wouldn't mind drinking the rest of my life, Lopez Heredia Viña Tondonia Gran Reserva (or Reserva) Blanco and Noemía Malbec, from Patagonia Argentina.
What is your next step/objective in the wine/sommelier world? Any more competition that you are targeting ?
I am currently preparing for the ¨Best Sommelier of America Competition 2022¨. Also I have enrolled in the WSET Diploma program.
Champagne, Cava or Franciacorta? Champagne
In the city you currently live in, do you have a favorite wine shop for Champagne or other wine categories that you love to go to?
The city I live in is quite small and there are only one or two wine shops. But there are great online shops such as Vila Viniteca, with fantastic wine selection and delivery.
Is there a brand or an Estate that you were greatly surprised recently and that you would encourage sommeliers to taste ?
That´s a really difficult question but to name a few; Esmeralda Garcia, Luis Seabra Vinhos, Viñátigo.