Robert Louis Stevenson famously wrote that wine is bottled poetry. In a series of interviews we have been meeting some of the team at our three Relais & Chateaux properties – Awasi Patagonia, Awasi Atacama and Awasi Iguazu – including with the master poet themselves, the sommelier!
Following our chat with Pablo Castro, the Awasi Patagonia sommelier about being Master of Wine at the end of the world, here we talk to Dana Macarena Córdoba, the Awasi Iguazu sommelier, about how she became a sommelier and what it’s like working in the rainforest of Northern Argentina.
How did you come to work in the world of wines?
“I started working in gastronomy at the Park Hyatt, Mendoza, in the asado restaurant, and there met two great sommeliers. I used to listen to them discussing wine, and their experiences and knowledge of the wine industry, in such a captivating way – each time it drew me in and made me want to be like them one day. So I started training and attending classes and also started helping out in the hotel bar, and that was how I came to work in wine.”
What is the thinking behind the selection of wines we offer at Awasi Iguazu?
“What we offer in terms of wines is based on providing our guests both with the opportunity to learn more about Malbec, Argentina’s signature wine, and the other wines that Argentina has to offer. We are proud to have such amazing Malbecs and to be able to offer it on our menu, given that it’s synonymous with red wine here and we as a country are justly famous for it the world over. Having said that, Argentina produces many lovely wines and we are keen to help our guests experience these – from the Pinot Noirs that are produced in Patagonia to the fresh Torrontés of northern Argentina.”
What’s your favourite wine that we offer?
“I think Cabernet Franc at the moment is a wine that is very interesting, almost surprising. I’m not sure if you could call it my favourite, but it’s definitely one that has caught my attention. It’s very versatile and currently features prominently in our pairings.”
Which wines do people most often ask for, and which ones do they find most surprising?
“Being in Argentina, many of our guests come in search of a good Malbec – these are our little jewels, I like to tell them. Guests are often surprised by Torrontés, a white Argentine grape variety producing fresh, smooth, aromatic wines – many of our guests haven’t heard of it and are pleasantly surprised when they try it. In other cases, I have had guests ask for it specifically as a reminder of a previous trip or special memory.”
What do you like most about working at Awasi Iguazu?
“What I like most about working at Awasi is being able to learn something new every day. The chefs and their team are constantly innovating, which creates a challenge for me to create new pairings, not purely for the sake of the pairings but so as to provide to our guests, in combination with the amazing food and the stunning location, the greatest gastronomic experience possible.”
“Awasi Iguazu has an amazing atmosphere; it’s so quiet and peaceful, surrounded by nature, and combined with such a great team it’s a brilliant place to be lucky enough to work. More than a team, it’s like a family, all working together.”
If you weren’t a sommelier, what would you be?
“If I wasn’t a sommelier, I’d love to be a crew member on a yacht. It would allow me to carry on working with guests, which I love, and would let me keep travelling – something I think is so important to keep expanding your mind.”