Uncorked: Andres Torres

Born in Argentina and raised in Uruguay, Andres Torres is the first sommelier in Uruguay to pass the advanced level exam with honours at the Asociacion Uruguaya de Sommeliers Professionalieres – he also had to sell all of his furniture to pay for it. After qualifying in 2011, he travelled around China for six months visiting tea plantations before moving to Hong Kong and joining Elite Concepts as the sommelier for Spanish restaurant QMO. Torres started with Gaucho as sommelier in 2014 and then became its beverage manager earlier this year. He speaks to dbHK about having a weakness for Fernet Branca and playing Playstation on his days off.

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What vintage are you? 

1988. It was a good year for Champagne, Sauternes, Tuscany, Bordeaux and Tokaji. I’m quite lucky as it’s all across the board.

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

Three of them! Gala 1 from Luigi Bosca, Arerunguá which is in collaboration with the Carrau Family in Uruguay and Freixenet – one of the best wines I ever had – and Patricius Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2003 – it blew my mind.

What would you be as a wine?

I would be a blend of Malbec and Tannat. Expressive yet uncomplicated and full bodied with a lot of potential as I haven’t reached my peak yet.

Where are you happiest?

In vineyards in Argentina and Italy. There is similarity between Argentinians and Italians and also with our wines I think. I am very happy in Italy.

What’s your greatest vice?

Like most Argentinians, it’d be drinking Fernet Branca with Coke while playing Playstation!

Best advice you ever received?

Family comes first.

Most overused word?

“Chef”. I’ve been in kitchens almost my whole life. When I started,  there was only one chef, the boss. Nowadays everyone is a chef and there are more chefs than cooks in a restaurant kitchen.

Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?

I probably would have drunk them already if a disaster happened. But in case that I hadn’t, it would be Diznoco Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos 2002.

What’s the best and worst thing about the wine business?

The people are the best thing. People can also be the worst if they just think about work and are blinkered in their minds.

What’s on your wine bucket list?

I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had some of the best vintages from the best producers. The only wine I haven’t had is the wine that Jesus made from water.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Anyone that’s given me useful advice throughout my life so I can thank them.

Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)

97 points. Getting closer to being 100 points everyday as I share my life with my wife, Lorena in Hong Kong.

Which wine would you like served at your funeral?

Champagne, followed by dry Riesling and then aged Barolo and Tokaji Aszu.  These are the wines that I love and I would want the people I love to have them too.

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