2 minutes with wine expert and TV presenter Joe Fattorini – who is not a cider fan

23rd Jul 19 | Lifestyle

The globe-trotting drinks expert shares his likes and dislikes with Sam Wylie-Harris.


Even if you’ve never met Joe Fattorini, chances are you’ve enjoyed one of his wine recommendations.

Having clocked up 30 years of experience in the trade, from sommelier, to retailer, to writer, to ambassador for Celebrity Cruises, wine consultant to the US PGA Tour, to International Wine Challenge (IWC) Personality of the Year, to starring on The Wine Show with actors Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys, Fattorini certainly knows how to blaze a path through the world’s greatest wine emporiums.

Indeed, Fattorini is currently filming Series 3 of The Wine Show (due to be aired in late 2019) and this is what happened when we grilled him on his drinking habits…

Your desert island drink would be… White Bordeaux. I’m guessing it’s quite hot, and there will be a lot of seafood and shellfish. I don’t know why Bordeaux makes so much red to be honest. For the wines I can actually afford, the best value is in their classy whites. Also, it’ll be a taste of civilisation when I’m wearing a loincloth.

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Soft drink: It has to be diet or full fat… Diet, every time. This is the question I ask when someone wants a wine recommendation. Diet-preferers like me tend to want bigger, more full-bodied wines. Full-fat drinkers have a more sensitive palate and are put off by the metallic taste of sweeteners. They go for lighter wines with less tannin.

If you’re drinking tea it has to be… Strong Yorkshire tea with milk most days. But on high days and holidays, I have a small canteen of Ceylon loose tea from Fortnum & Mason and a special steeping device that sits over your cup so you don’t need a pot. This morning was one of those high days. It ruins it to add milk.

Still, sparkling or tap… I drink a lot of filtered tap water. I used to live in the Yorkshire Dales and no water has ever come close to the stuff we had from the tap there. I genuinely get quite excited about a glass of tap water when I go to visit my parents. I loved the zesty character of San Pellegrino, and then discovered it’s the red stars on the label that convince your brain that it’s zestier than other sparkling waters.

Ice is important or not… Not really. Although I do like those funny globes of ice you get in fancy cocktails.

When it comes to making a cocktail for friends, you always serve…
I should come up with a name for it. It’s made of Paso Primero vermouth and ginger beer with a slice of oven-caramelised orange. You can do the oranges in batches and keep them like biscuits in a Kilner jar. It looks disappointingly like a glass of Coke, but tastes fabulously grown-up. A sort of long-Negroni. Paso Primero vermouth is less sweet and more herbal and is a real wine lovers’ style.

The booze you cannot stand… I’ll be honest, I really struggle with cider. I’ve no idea why.

The beer you love the most is… Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. Everyone knows their Landlord – it’s a much stronger IPA. And it’s Madonna’s favourite beer apparently. But my mother’s family come from Keighley where Timothy Taylor is brewed, and I’ve drunk in The Boltmakers Arms that the beer is named after. You can enjoy more Boltmaker than Landlord before you fall over. There’s a very good curry house opposite. Ideal for when you’ve had a couple of pints.

The drink you first got drunk on was… Château Latour 1945, Pauillac, Bordeaux (the 1959 vintage currently retails for a whopping £3, 200, Berry Bros & Co). I was seven. True story. My grandfather’s fault.

If money was no option, you would drink … Something different every day. I’ll be honest, it is possible to have too many great wines. They’re often big and demanding. Some days I want the ruler who serves them to come with a good value bottle of vermentino. I will expect Sherry at least once a week.

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