This week we turned the spotlight on Silvio Praino, Wine Manager at Divino Enoteca, the enchanting Italian restaurant and wine bar, and part of Tony Crolla’s family run Vittoria Group. We asked him about Divino’s extensive wine menu and his top tips for wine tasting.
How long have you been at Divino Enoteca and what experience did you bring to the table?
I’ve been living in Edinburgh for over thirty years and I’ve worked at Divino Enoteca for two and half years. The experience I brought was age and experience. Over the years I’ve got to know many people and I’ve learned how to understand and respond to their differing tastes.
Do you have any formal training in wine tasting?
In my day, you learned on the job rather than gaining certificates. Since I was 15 I’ve travelled and lived in Switzerland, Germany, Australia and Scotland. Along the way I’ve acquired knowledge of wine and worked with some great people.
How would you describe the wine menu at Divino?
It’s extensive. We have something to suit everyone’s taste – from easy to drink, ‘entry level’ wine to more serious wines for the more sophisticated palate. In total we offer 32 wines by the glass and around 300 by the bottle, and we aim to make the best wine in the world accessible to all by offering it by the glass. For example, we stock wine from the 1950s which people may not necessarily have had a chance to sample before. There are many people who buy bottles of wine solely as an investment – however I believe wine should be shared and enjoyed so that’s what we do!
What is your favourite wine and why?
It has to be a Barolo from north west Italy. In many ways it reminds me of people – when they are young they can have an aggressive edge to them, but as they age they mature and mellow. I like the way it develops over time from something quite masculine to something much softer.
Divino won an award for its selection of wine. Tell us about this accolade and what it meant to you.
We won this award for the diversity of wines we offer. We spend a lot of time choosing the wines, and it’s a real team effort so it was great to be recognised for the time and effort we put into our wine lists.
Divino is the only restaurant and wine bar in the whole of Scotland to boast an Enomatic. Tell us more about this unique wine dispenser.
The Enomatic gives everyone a chance to taste a great wine without committing to a full bottle. You can enjoy 25ml, 125ml or 175ml samples so it’s a great way of broadening people’s tastes. The Enomatic is incredibly high-tech – it accurately measures the correct amount of gas needed to replace the oxygen in each opened bottle, leaving the wine perfectly preserved.
What are your top tips for wine tasting?
Keep it simple – I tend to steer away from unnecessarily over-complicated vocabulary. Essentially, when tasting a white wine you’re looking for floral notes and freshness, and for red wines you’re looking for oaky flavours, tobacco and red berries. Wine tasting can be quite subjective but ultimately you’re looking for a long, full length, balanced taste that lasts.
If you were to describe your character as a wine, how would you describe yourself?
It would have to be a Barolo – it has character and strength, and it has an edge but it is soft.