In the wine cellar at Fazenda

London, England

In the wine cellar at Fazenda,  London, England

Andrea-Maria Mosbacher joined the Fazenda group in April 2023 for the opening of the London restaurant. The young, Austrian-born sommelier designed the wine list based on the group’s corporate values. Founded in Leeds in 2010, it focuses on showcasing the flavours of South America in the United Kingdom. Andrea opened its doors to us.

euro cave wine cooler drawing

A (pretty) safe bet

“People have always drunk French wine in the United Kingdom, which has started making its own wines too. But more importantly, they have long taken an interest in wines from around the world. The market is very dynamic. The English public is well-educated and already knowledgeable about the countries that we showcase – Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay”. Andrea has put her finger on why the restaurant is so successful and constantly packed. Her own robust, technical expertise in these particular wines, with a level 3 WSET award in wines (with plans for level 4) and a London career that began in an Argentinean restaurant, play their part too.

The perfect pairing

Patrons come to Fazenda for its decor and atmosphere, of course, but even more so for a style of cuisine which lends a modern twist to traditional pampa food, particularly ‘rodizio’, an all-you-can eat style of restaurant service featuring a variety of grilled meats. “I work closely with the chef to design the pairings, either for each dish or a bottle for the entire meal. The ultra-robust Malbec, a major grape variety in South America, especially Argentina, makes an incredible partner for red meats. But you can also drink lighter reds made from another typically Argentinean grape variety that has been revived over the past few years – Bonarda, which is similar to Gamay”. Whites are also given their rightful place. One of Andrea’s favourite pairings is a glass of Torrontès – Malbec’s iconic white counterpart – with some simple empanadas, the small baked or fried pastries filled with meat or vegetables.

A work in progress

When we chatted with Andrea, her wine list featured just under 190 listings. It has probably grown since then such is the passion for discovery displayed by the Austrian sommelier who studied wine at the University of Savoy Mont Blanc. “The wine world in South America is a booming marketplace, with increasingly sustainable techniques being used. The interest taken in regenerative winegrowing there is extremely strong. There are always new regions to be explored and exciting diversity. A cultivar like Malbec doesn’t produce the same wine in Argentina as it does in Chile. Brazilian wine is also improving rapidly due to the mountain vineyards or coastal Atlantic sites. I would so love to have more time to travel!”

Glasses that dance the tango

Argentina also has a special place in Andrea’s heart, as it does in the hearts of the English – the Falkland’s war was a long time ago. Argentinean wines feature on every restaurant wine list – at Fazenda they account for nearly half the listings. “I was lucky enough to travel to Argentina. One particularly moving memory was a visit to Catena Zapata, a winery founded at the turn of the 20th century. It covers six vineyards from north to south in the foothills of the Andes. It’s amazing”.

The art of storing wine

To store her precious bottles, Andrea has five, temperature-controlled EuroCave wine cabinets – one for sparkling wines, two for serving where the reds and whites are stored separately, and two for laying down. “They are absolutely beautiful, but more importantly, they’re very useful, particularly for the age-worthy wines which can be fantastic in South America. I have great memories of three wines at Catena Zapata – a 1994 Malbec, a 1999 Chardonnay and a 2007 Cabernet Franc”.

Article - Stéphane Méjanès

A former sports journalist, Stéphane Méjanès has covered every aspect of gourmet cuisine since 2012 for a range of magazines and websites. He is the author of a booklet on gourmet food reviews titled ‘Tailler une Plume’ (Éditions de l’Épure, 2019) as well as several chef’s books. He is also a lecturer at ESTHUA in Angers where he teaches Master’s Degree students on gourmet food reviews. Along with Guillaume Gomez and Tiptoque, he launched the ‘Chefs with Caregivers’ movement which earned him the 2021 La Liste Community Spirit Award. On a personal basis, he was awarded the Plume d’Or accolade for writing in 2019 and the Amunategui-Curnonsky Award in 2018.

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