by Treve Ring | With twenty five years in the industry, and most of that deep in wine education (including strenuous tasting homework), Robert Stelmachuk is ideally situated to oversee and orchestrate the wine programs at Cibo Trattoria and the adjoining Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar.
He’s learned and worked at some of the best restaurants in Vancouver over the years, among them Le Crocodile, Market by Jean Georges, and Chambar. A graduate of the ISG & WSET diploma programs, as well as the Grand Prix du Sopexa, Stelmachuk is currently pursuing his Master Sommelier designation with the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS).
Known for its deep and wide-ranging, Italy-centric wine program (not to mention kick ass cocktails courtesy of Lauren Mote and team), Uva is one of the few wine bars in town that are worthy of the name. I recently chatted up the ever-enthusiastic Stelmachuk about what he has LISTED there and next door at Cibo.
How many wines on your list? 265.
How is your list organized? Italy first by region (North to South) then all other wines by varietal including a fun category called Adventure Whites and Adventure Reds at the end of each respectively.
What one wine are you most excited about right now on your list? I’m having a lot of fun right now with Tenuta Rubino ‘Oltreme’ from Puglia! It’s made from a native grape called Susumaniello. This is a brilliant adventure red that offers so much love. Loaded with rustic, velvety plum, pomegranate and blueberry. Baked earth, worn saddle leather and a mineral core balanced by beautiful acidity. We have actually been pouring it by the glass and it was featured on one of our 4 Wine Flights as well.
What’s the top selling wine on your list? No shock here, but our by-the-glass pinot grigio is killing it! Schreckbichl Colterenzio ‘Lumo’ Pinot Grigio from Trentino Alto Adige.
What’s the newest arrival to your list? A brilliant sauvignon blanc from Piedmont, of all places: Tenute dei Vallarino ‘Pèpero’ Sauvignon Blanc. Very rare to see this grape from this region. It is about to be another by-the-glass pour.
The one product you will never list? I don’t like to say never but if there is enough demand for it, I’ll make the guests happy. Not crazy for White Zinfandel, I guess.
Money/availability is no option. What one wine would you list? Paul Jaboulet Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’ 1961.
Your fave food/beverage pairing currently in your restaurant? For Cibo Trattoria: Wynns Coonawarra ‘The Siding’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Australia with Grilled Pork Chop with Brussel sprouts, chilli, anchovy, garlic, and warm olive sauce. For Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar: Herdade do Rocim ‘Mariana’ – a brilliant white blend of Antão Vas and Arinto from Portugal with Ox Tongue Salad, marinated olives, and salsa verde.
Your insider top food/wine pairing tip? If you are ever conflicted, sacrifice the food choice and pick the wine you want. You’ll spend more time with your wine than you will with your food. Past that, match intensity of food and wine and you’ll always win.
Favourite wine list in Vancouver, other than your own? Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca – it’s a list I have learned so much from and it has everything you could ever want.