A Matter of Taste: A Paris Sommelier on the Rise

Sommelier Gabriele Del Carlo of Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris uses his knowledge and instincts to recommend the right wine for every occasion.

Aug 16, 2012
Gabriele Del Carlo, Four Seasons George V Paris
Award-winning sommelier Gabriele Del Carlo of Le Cinq restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.
Photography Cédrik Mikael Mirande

Wines may improve with age, but at just 27 years old, Gabriele Del Carlo is already a luminary in Europe’s sommelier scene—bringing yet more accolades to the double-Michelin-starred Le Cinq restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris.

A native of Tuscany, Del Carlo first fell in love with wines as a waiter in his hometown of Lucca. He was working in Florence at Enoteca Pinchiorri—home to one of the world’s largest wine cellars—when in 2010 a fellow sommelier recommended him to the George V.

Since then, Del Carlo has been placing high in competitions—most recently winning the 45th edition of the Best Sommelier in Italy competition, held in Milan in November 2011. The three finalists each had three minutes to describe a series of wines, explaining the flavour and character, and suggest food pairings. “Communication is a sommelier’s most important skill,” Del Carlo says.

The George V possesses one of the world’s finest wine cellars, encompassing 50,000 bottles and 2,500 labels. It’s a tradition for the sommelier to test each bottle before serving, and Del Carlo can taste up to 60 wines in a day, deepening his knowledge of the collection. “I’m also constantly reading and researching, learning more about different grapes and regions,” he adds.

Del Carlo explains that some of the Hotel’s regular guests care more about wine than cuisine or food pairing, so he simply recommends a wine he knows they will like. For other clients, he suggests a wine to enhance their meal, based on their tastes. “But with the same dish, we have hundreds of options. I use my instincts to choose what’s best,” he says.

Four by Four Seasons

Designer Drive
Cruise through Paris in a limousine custom-designed and hand-built for Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. This collaboration between Rolls-Royce and Hermès features an exterior in tones of warm grey and an interior clad entirely in soft leather.

Floral Finery
Jeff Leatham, artistic director of the Hotel, creates lavish and innovative floral designs. Each week he receives a delivery of 12,000 blooms from Amsterdam, and every three weeks he introduces a new theme for the lobby and guest rooms.

Royal Treatment
Inspired by Marie Antoinette’s boudoir, the Spa offers a signature treatment infused with her favourite scent: orange blossom. Enjoy a steamed orange-blossom body scrub, followed by a massage with warm shea butter and a luxuriously milky facial fragranced with orange.

Garden Refreshment
Although a swimming pool is a rarity among Parisian hotels, the George V has one that is exquisitely beautiful. Nestled within the Spa, the pool and whirlpool surround you with trompe l’oeil murals portraying the gardens of Versailles.


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