Sabrina Manolio

2019 profile

Head sommelier – Margot

Italian wine is one of the world’s great joys and also one of its greatest headaches. It’s claimed that even most Italians don’t fully understand it, but one who does, luckily, is Sabrina Manolio at Covent Garden restaurant Margot.

Previously based at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Manolio is, naturally, equally well versed in French wines too. While it may be an Italian restaurant, Margot is not slavishly devoted to only offering up drops from her home country. Although Italian wines make up the bulk of the 350-bin list (about 45%), the rest are split between the Old and New Worlds, with an especially strong Champagne component. This is all excellent stuff to play with for someone like Manolio, whose mantra is that wine is central to any restaurant experience. There’s nothing sadder, in her opinion, than the refusing hand placed over a glass. “I would prefer to stay home rather than go to the restaurant and have tap water to complement my dish,” she says.

You get her point when she begins enthusing about matching Alsatian Gewürztraminer with pumpkin and ricotta ravioli or Isola e Olena’s Chardonnay with smoked eel and roasted pineapple. For Manolio there’s nothing better than finding a customer to share ‘the moment’ with, and that makes the back and forth between a sommelier and diner intrinsic to the evening. “The guest that you can laugh with and know you made their visit more special is great, and after a tough day at work you’re kind of satisfied and proud of what you have done,” she explains.

In part this is thanks to her love of passing on knowledge. If it hadn’t been for wine and the hospitality trade, she reckons she would have continued her studies and carved out a career as a teacher instead. “I love the idea of passing on what’s ‘mine’ to others.” In that vein she’s keen to take in everything she possibly can and not miss a thing, because, she says: “I would prefer to regret something I did rather than something I wished I could have done.”


Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Bollinger to use oak from own forests in Champagne

Bollinger is to use oak harvested from its own forest in the Côtes des Blancs to ferment the juice from this year’s vintage.

Daphne’s celebrates 55th anniversary with year of events

Founded in 1964 by theatre agent Daphne Rye, Chelsea-based Italian restaurant Daphne’s is marking 55 years with a series of special events, collaborations and one-off dishes.

Latour and LVMH owners pledge millions to Notre-Dame repairs

François Pinault and Bernard Arnault, two of France’s leading businessmen and owners of several top estates in Bordeaux and Burgundy, have pledged €300 million between them to fund repairs of Notre-Dame de Paris, while coopers have said they will source the best oak trees for new beams.

Jay Rayner warms to English sparkling

Guardian columnist Jay Rayner has changed his views on the British sparkling wine industry, after previously slamming the category for offering poor value for money.

St Leonards names new sommelier and beverage director

Chefs and restaurateurs Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke have appointed Albert Blaize as sommelier and beverage director for their two restaurants, St Leonards and Brunswick House, as well as the recently opened Orasay in Notting Hill.

Most Recent Stories

Bollinger to use oak from own forests in Champagne

Bollinger is to use oak harvested from its own forest in the Côtes des Blancs to ferment the juice from this year’s vintage.

Daphne’s celebrates 55th anniversary with year of events

Founded in 1964 by theatre agent Daphne Rye, Chelsea-based Italian restaurant Daphne’s is marking 55 years with a series of special events, collaborations and one-off dishes.

Latour and LVMH owners pledge millions to Notre-Dame repairs

François Pinault and Bernard Arnault, two of France’s leading businessmen and owners of several top estates in Bordeaux and Burgundy, have pledged €300 million between them to fund repairs of Notre-Dame de Paris, while coopers have said they will source the best oak trees for new beams.

Jay Rayner warms to English sparkling

Guardian columnist Jay Rayner has changed his views on the British sparkling wine industry, after previously slamming the category for offering poor value for money.

St Leonards names new sommelier and beverage director

Chefs and restaurateurs Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke have appointed Albert Blaize as sommelier and beverage director for their two restaurants, St Leonards and Brunswick House, as well as the recently opened Orasay in Notting Hill.