Manuel Otero, the sommelier of the delicious Bido restaurant, reveals the secrets of his evocative work. His proposal is to leave traditional pairings to one side to focus on proposals as heterodox as they are successful
Wine is a world rich in rituals. A universe that sometimes needs to escape from orthodoxy. From the commonplaces. And it is surely at the table, at lunch or dinner, where those voices that flee from traditional pairings are most appreciated.
That invite to explore, to discover. To delve into the infinite paths that populate the territory of wine.
Manuel Otero Vila is one of those voices. A very authoritative one, in fact. He has been for years the sommelier of that seductive restaurant that is Bido, in A Coruña.
Juan Crujeiras‘ latest project travels steadily towards the Michelin star. As he did in his day with the well-remembered A Estación de Cambre.
The professional marriage between the prestigious chef and 0 has remained unchanged for 20 years. Those who work with both say that they express themselves in the same language. That they understand each other almost without the need to speak to each other.
This communion between the chef and the sommelier has allowed Bido to add a plus of originality to its tasting menus. Exceptional for its gastronomic proposals, no doubt, but also for its sensitivity to surprise when it comes to proposing wines.
To propose a certain heterodoxy without falling into exoticism.
Manuel Otero doesn’t hesitate to move away from traditional pairings when making his proposals. «We make groundbreaking pairings, yes, but with a lot of sense. And the reaction of our customers reaffirms us», he argues.
The Bido sommelier believes that it’s necessary to escape from clichés. Stereotypes that feed off each other and that consecrate as traditional pairings proposals that, in fact, can be much more diverse.
«Like the one that says you can’t eat a T-bone steak with an albariño. This is a mistake. On the contrary, it’s an ideal combination because the acidity and fruity aromas offered by a Pazo Baión, for example, are very good for it», he says.
And he explains as examples that in his restaurant they serve oxtail with a white wine, Gran a Gran with a foie and Pazo Baión with a torrija at dessert time. «We make pairings that break with the clichés, but people love to try, to discover. We try to surprise them and make them enjoy it».
Manuel Otero is a torrent of passion and knowledge. Of curiosity for his work and vocation to transmit. My ideal day is when the customer tells me: «You bring me the wine».
In this sense, he believes that consumers are becoming more and more sensitive to the need for advice. Also to move away from traditional pairings and enjoy the story with which the sommelier accompanies Bido’s suggestions.
This professional trained at the Instituto Galego do Viño says that this greater sensitivity and knowledge is reflected in the growing inclination to taste several references during lunch or dinner.
“We serve more and more wine by the glass because the client wants to taste, to let us advise him and explore new nuances and flavors”.
Regarding Galician wines, Manuel Otero values the work done by winemakers over the last few years. And he qualifies that, in his opinion, albariños have the potential to evolve and not remain only as young wines.
«The acidity of the albariño grape allows them to acquire a lot of personality and become long wines, with structure», he concludes.
An idea, for example, in which prestigious figures such as winemaker José Hidalgo also agree. And that has in Pazo Baión surely its greatest exponent within the DO Rías Baixas.
Elaborations such as Vides de Fontán, an albariño with 3 years of aging, are a good proof of this route suggested by Bido’s sommelier.
Otero also applauds in the same line the design work done to present Pazo Baión. «It’s a bottle that dresses your table. It’s a success because it shows the care and attention to detail behind these wines».
To conclude, he gives us some tips that every wine lover should keep in mind to extract the full potential of those bottles that are encouraged to enjoy at home.
The first, temperature. «To taste, the wine should be between 13 and 16 degrees. If it is too cold, many nuances are lost».
About the best time to taste it, he has no doubts. «The best time is in the morning. The best tastings are done early, around 10:30. At that time, the senses involved are wide awake».
As an epilogue, he insists that wine should be tasted in short sips. «I like the wine to talk to me. Discover the nuances, the type of grape…»
Thank you very much Manuel! It has been a real pleasure to share this talk with you.
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