The Professional Judith Scarlione

The resident sommelier of The Claridges, New Delhi talks to us about wine and travel
Judith Scarlione
Judith Scarlione

OT Could you tell us a bit about your journey as the resident sommelier for the Claridges

Judith Scarione Well, the journey has been amazing. I joined two years ago. It turned out that just as I was considering settling down in India, at about the same time the Claridges was looking for someone with exactly my profile. Here, they are open to trying new things and that kind of flexibility is a huge blessing for a sommelier.

OT What are some of the changes youve made since youve come here

Judith Scarione I havent implemented huge changes because it is a landmark property, but we have imported five exclusive organic wines from France. In India, they were already available, but at exorbitant prices. Weve introduced them at more reasonable rates.

OT What do you think about Indian wine

Judith Scarione In India, winemaking is very young. Sula Vineyards is a pioneer, and well never be grateful enough to them. But now, we are seeing more boutique wineries. I am very curious to see where the industry is heading, but we probably wont see the best wines coming from Indianot in my lifetime. In places like Burgundy, winemaking is centuries old and you cant take history away.

OT Indians prefer sweet wine. So how do you deal with their palate

Judith Scarione To some extent, it is true that Indians prefer sweet wine but thats because theyve just started drinking it. So I dont want to speak for the Indian palate. I want to have many flavours available for any different taste thats out there.

OT Do you like India

Judith Scarione I love India and it has been very good to me. Its a place that keeps you grounded. Here, you are surrounded by great diversity.

OT How did your passion for wines come about

Judith Scarione I have always been obsessed with food and flavours and I eat anything if it is well made. Its the same with wine. I discovered wine when I was 26. Someone poured me a glass and I was like, whoa. I havent looked back since.

OT Why wine Why not, say beer or whisky

Judith Scarione A colleague sommelier once said to me that the beauty of wine is that no two wines are ever the same. So, its an extremely humbling field. Some people think that I know everything about wine. I think I know nothing and am just starting to figure things out.

OT Whats your favourite place youve travelled to in India

Judith Scarione I loved everything My favorite city would be Cochin. I also love the whole of Kerala, the Western Ghats and Kashmir. Its so diverse. However, I havent been to Pondicherry yet. I hear its amazing.

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