... And Konstantinos, the great sommelier. Let's have a little chat with this extremely friendly guy, a passionate, invested dreamer.
Because in Athens, friends ring your bell at any time, any day, it is better to anticipate and have a bottle on hand. Passing through the famous and sublime “Mr Vertigo” boutique, we met Konstantinos whose passion for wines lights up his face. We wanted to know his story.
Dear Konstantinos, tell us more about yourself…
Well… I studied philosophy in Germany, in Mosel exactly, and because my friends were studying about wines there, I also decided to go in the vineyards and learn about wines, about local varieties. After five years spent in Germany, I had to come back to Greece, in order to go to the army, it was three years ago.
First philosophy, now sommelier, what is the link between these two worlds ?
Wines immediately became a passion so I wanted to know everything about wines. I had the chance to meet Leonidas Koutsopoulos, one of the best chef in my opinion, in Greece. He’s in Masterchef, he’s definitely one of the most famous Greek chef nowadays. I started to create wine lists in his restaurant, to taste a lot of different wines, to meet a lot of people, all kind of people. Then, I met Giannis Siganos from Mr Vertigo. I think he instantly noticed the passion in my eyes. He asked me to work with him and I accepted. It’s different from what I was doing first, far from gastronomy, far from creating pairings between food and wines, which I love doing. But, as soon as I discovered the wines that we have here, especially the ones from France, from Spain, I really enjoyed being here. But I’m still thinking about pairings and I have decided to make one on my own way, so I’m going to do pairing with wines and… books.
Oh ! That’s a pretty nice idea !
It is ! Very interesting. For example, if you read a book of Albert Camus, whom I love, when he writes about Algeria, about the sea, you can read his books and the same time you can pick up a wine with saltiness, minerality… So, I’m working on this now, on a magazine. It should be ready by September. It’s almost done, that’s why I can freely talk to you about it. I already have the interviews, the writting of my thoughts. I want to type the texts with an old typewriting so every magazine will be written by me. The pictures will be taken by Polaroid, I want it to be personalized.
So, back to Mr Vertigo now. How many different wines do you have here, thousands of them, right ?
Yes, thousands of different wines from everywhere. Our first goal is to have bio wines. If you have a look at the labels, you will notice that most of them are organics. This is the philosophy of Mr Vertigo and of the owner, Mr Siganos. We also try to support the local wine producers, the local varieties here in Greece. Some of them come from Crete, some from different unknown areas of the country. We want to promote them. But, of course, we also have a very big portfolio of French wines, most of them are also biodynamic.
Which French wine do Greek people appreciate the most ? What do people like mostly ?
It’s not that easy to answer straight. I think… I would say… Pataille, from Burgundy. The white ones. In Burgundy, there are at least two varieties, the most popular one is Chardonnay, everyone knows about it and the other one is Aligoté. From Pataille, we have these two varieties, 100% Aligoté, 100% Chardonnay, we love it here probably because of its high level of acidity. The minerality is amazing. I also recommend the Marcel Deiss’ wines, from Alsace, especially the crus. He is, from my own opinion, one of the most important wine makers.
How many other stores does Mr Sotanos own ?
There is another store in Thessaloniki, “Mobi Dick or the whale”. He also has The Light House of Mr Vertigo in Chania, in Crete, a wine studio also in Crete and this one, obviously, in Kolonaki. It is his first store, opened in 2014.
Mr Vertigo, Place Filikis Eterias, Kolonaki, Athens.