David Stevens-Castro, Sommelier, Hiltons Salt Grill – Surfers Paradise
David Stevens - Castro
Sommelier - Hilton Surfer Paradise

NAME: David Stevens - Castro

POSITION: Sommelier - Hilton Surfer Paradise

MOST MEMORABLE WINE:

FAVOURITE MOMENT:

BEST VARIETAL/REGION:

LOVING RIGHT NOW:

FAVOURITE RED VARIETY: Pinot Noir

FAVOURITE WHITE VARIETY: 2008 Domaine Blain Gagnard, Batard Montrachet Grand Cru

MEMBERS' TIP-OFF: Dy Farr Chardonnay

He falls in love with wines very easily. In fact, Chilean-born David Stevens-Castro effervesces with enthusiasm when it comes to a conversation about wine. With a degree as an Agricultural Scientist, his specialisation is wine – he grew up with a family very much involved in the industry – and currently works as a sommelier at Salt Grill Restaurant at the Hilton in Surfers Paradise, Australia.

David still remembers the most exciting wine he opened with his Code38. It was during a busy service on a Saturday night when a 2006 Penfolds Grange was requested. “The wine showed power yet elegance,” he tell me. The beauty of working as a sommelier, he goes on to say, is that you are required to taste the condition of the wines before pouring them for the client. “For me”, he says, “this is probably the most exciting part of my job, especially since it happens on a daily basis.”

His most recent love affair was with a wine from Queensland’s Granite Belt, the 2012 Ravenscroft Verdelho. “All I could think while I was drinking it”, he tells me, “was that I’d like a bag full of fresh prawns, some aioli, and to be lying on the beach.”

And yet his current favourite variety is Pinot Noir, though he admits this seems to change about every three months – “it was Tempranillo in the past… and before that it was Syrah.”

That said, he nominates 2006 Almavivas his favourite red – precisely the wine responsible for incurring his most memorable wine experience. “I arrived in Chile for holidays at the time of the big earthquake”, he recalls. “It was a mad couple of days after the catastrophic experience, everyone was in shock. My partner knew about it before I did, because it happened while I was mid-air. When I picked her up from the airport a few days later, I took her for lunch at one of my favourite places in Santiago, Liguria Bar-Restaurant. Afterwards, we went back to our place and cracked the 2006 Almaviva. It was singing a song that wine.”

David’s favourite white, on the other hand, is a 2008 Domaine Blain Gagnard, Batard Montrachet Grand Cru – while his three favourite wine regions are, in this order, Champagne, Alsace and Hawkes Bay.

For other Code38 members David could not, however, recommend more highly the wines by Gary and Nick Farr, with his pick being By Farr Chardonnay. “I love the producers”, he tells me, “(who) have a worldwide reputation as high-end artisan makers of top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Saignee they make is exciting too!”

He suggests some creamy seafood pasta as an accompaniment. This wine may be found in top restaurants and wine shops all over Australia.

As for the Code38 – it’s the fact you can use it with just one hand that David admires. “Also the blade is terrific, super strong stuff!”


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