In vino veritas: interview with Ilario Perrot

In the spring of 2001 Ilario Perrot is just 13 years old but already has very clear ideas.

He divides himself between lessons at the second year of Hotel management School and football practices with his team.

Sometimes though he skips games at the weekend.

Yes, because Ilario prefers to work at the restaurant of one of his kitchen professors in Cavour, a town in the province of Turin where he was born and raised.

The partner of his professor cultivates a great passion for wine and research in the oenological field and possesses an extraordinary canteen. He knows many producers with whom he entertains an honest friendship and a tight relationship based on esteem. Often he takes Ilario along with him to meet them.

And so the young and curious Ilario, today chief sommelier at LUME, becomes bewitched by the wine world. At the beginning what impressed him are not the aromas and tastes but the extraordinary gift of wine to create a happy and relaxed bonding among people who open up and share their personal stories.

“Do you know how you say in vino veritas, – says Ilario, when you drink you open up easily and you say things you would not often tell. I was fascinated by those relationships so sincere and harmonious between two people that would look at each other in the eyes and open up, with a glass of wine in their hands. There was also a lot of desire to have fun, the wine world is a happy and vivacious world”

Once high school was over Ilario gets through the selections to get into the agrarian faculty to follow the viticulture and oenology courses at the University in Turin. After one year he realizes that the approach to wine at University was very scientific and related to the production, aspects which he wasn’t interested in.

What really interests Ilario is the added value that a canteen can give to a restaurant.

Ilario works at  “La Ciau Tornavento”, an iconic restaurant in the Langhe that becomes one of his professional references : more than 65.000 bottles from 450 producers. A total of 1800 etiquettes from all over the world, one of the top canteens in Europe.

“What has made this restaurant unique – says Ilario – is not the culinary proposal but the choice of betting on the wines from the territory famous for its wine production. The possibility of doing tastings or dinners directly in the canteen, to listen to stories of the bottles and to get inspired and knowing from a professional and passionate explanation about the food pairings. A winning choice”.

Perrot continues: “Wine is never an expense: it is always an investment for a business. Having a great canteen creates interest and brings the wine lovers to return. In years there is always more interest in the wine world specially for Italian wines that unfortunately we don’t seem to be able to evaluate in their regional peculiarities. Wine is a strong hook that we need to exploit”.

What Ilario loves about LUME is the elegance, a characteristic that he has in common with the restaurant: his ambition is to leave his footprint and create a strong wine list, dealing at his best the human and professional relationships with producers, understanding the clients preferences and moreover to choose wines that can exalt Chef Luigi Taglienti’s dishes.

“I realize that it is a job that needs time and attention without fretting and with respect of the past choices. There are many variables to consider when creating a wine list. Three years spent at the Mandarin Oriental, between Milan and London, made me understand the profound importance of the client. You need to show him attention and respect but also create a personal relationship with him”

In his free time there is his family, his girlfriend, the new house he bought last year, tennis, reading history and moreover traveling to learn about new cultures.

Milan is now his home, the place where he has grown professionally also besides his friend Alberto Tasinato with whom he worked with at Berton before Mandarin Oriental, and is the city where he sees his future.

His aspiration? Not to create his own restaurant but growing professionally working on himself to create a unique style. His signature. “In Milan I created a small circle of friends and fond clients that besides the chef’s dishes come to LUME also for the wine list: this is my greatest satisfaction”.