Meet Your Somm: Marina Petersen
Qualifying as a CMS certified somm earlier this year, Marina Petersen recently left legit Buenos Aires speakeasy 878 for pastures new. She’s part of the team at Uco Restaurant, at the Fierro Hotel.
What was your last pairing recommendation?
At the restaurant we serve a Bouillabaisse (with market seafood and fish, saffron shrimp bisque and Mediterranean vegetables) that I love to recommend with a Pinot Noir. Normally, people would expect to pair this kind of food with an oaky white wine but because of the soup’s temperature, I think it goes better with a Pinot Noir. At the moment, we are serving the Miras Jovem Pinot Noir 2014 by the glass.
What did you drink last night?
I had a glass of A Lisa 2012. It’s amazing how, even though people don’t think so, wonderful Malbecs can be made in Río Negro. Also, we had a shot of Christallino (a Williams pear spirit that’s also from Río Negro). We need to believe more in the present AND future of Patagonia. I’m obsessed with this fact at the moment. Sorry about that.
What’s your favourite wine region in the world?
I like a lot of wine from all around the world, but my dreams are always in Alsace. I’m not sure why. I guess I like their anthropic way of making things and everything happens there: there are laws but they’re bent, there’s acidity but good alcohol levels (for the Old World), they’re French but they feel German (or viceversa). It’s all about the duality, chaos and harmony between the parts. I think they’ve made an amazing combination of things possible, which keeps them evolving and improving dialectically.
What do you love most about your job?
The best thing about my job is knowing that without my recommendation the person would’ve had a totally different experience. I don’t create anything but a sensation, and I always try to make that image of the moment as amazing as it can get. With wines is not like with food: food has an extra something because you feel it was “made for you”. I try to replicate that feeling in people, making them think that the wine was made for them. When that happens, I feel grateful.
What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a somm?
Well, luckily I’ve had lots of wonderful moments, but I have to say that this year I had the opportunity on three occasions (and during the course of a week) to taste wine with Josep Roca. It was a mixture of things that I can classify as, on one hand, learning and on the other, getting told all the things you’ve already knew.
Not only his tasting skills, but his humility and passion. It’s weird when you get someone of his calibre to tell you things you’ve been thinking fro some time already. I’ve always felt a little borderline in the sommelier world (because, essentially, I’m a punk and that comes with a price, hahaha), but over time I got to know some people that made it go away. Lots of people that can transmit the passion for this job as I was expecting things to happen to me. Over the course of this year, I was having one of those moments in which I wasn’t sure how to continue with my professional career and meeting Josep made it crystal clear: I want to serve wine and I want to make an experience much better than what it would’ve been without my intervention.
If you were a wine, what would you be?
Difficult question. I would say I’m a Riesling from Mosel, a mixture of acidity and terroir (of every home I’ve had in my whole life), with a lot of potential for the future and a lot of things happening at the moment. I’m nothing without all the experiences I’ve had, without all the places I’ve been to, without everything I’ve been before and everything I plan to be in the future. Also, I think that I’m a little pretentious in my simple life: I like to think of myself as someone that has a variety of angles and I think this gets better over the years. But the acidity will still be there, always.