Q. Where are you currently working and in what capacity?
A. I work as a Sommelier at Compagnie Des Vins Surnaturels, as well a Wine Educator with City Wine Tours.
Q. What brought you to the wine industry?
A. Being born and raised in Moldova, I was exposed to the culture of wine since an early age. My family owns a small vineyard, and I was a part of the vineyard maintenance and winemaking since I can remember. Virtually everyone makes and consumes wine back home; it's not a luxury, it's a grocery. After I moved to United States, I got my first restaurant job. I realized how diverse the world of wine is, and was amazed by it. I picked up a copy of the Wine Bible and it snowballed from there.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you have received that you would like to share?
A. Konstantin Lazarakis MW once said that "As soon as you start working with wine as a profession, you don't have a right to have favorite wines. You have to treat them all objectively." While I do enjoy certain styles and varietals more than the others, I think it is important for a Sommelier to be objective, and suggest the wine that the guest will enjoy the most.
Q. What are you tasting?
A. I recently tasted, for the first time, Chambers Rare Rutherglen Muscat. It is a fortified dessert wine from Victoria, Australia. In Australia they call these type of wines - "Stickies". The wine was aged in a Solera system (some of the wines in the blend are a 100 years old!). It was incredibly rich and complex, with aromas of toffee, fig syrup, honey, chocolate and gun powder. I had it with a piece of chocolate chip cookie dough. It was one of the best food and wine pairings I've ever had!
Q. What inspires you?
A. I find the sense of camaraderie in the Sommelier community in New York truly inspirational. It is like being a part of a big family. We do like to challenge each other, but it is a friendly kind of competition, the one that keeps you on your toes.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?
A. After a long day of tasting wine, I sometimes enjoy a cold Miller High Life and meat skewers from the food cart, next to my apartment in Chinatown.