Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.
Ronald Kamiyama's career in wine is a storied one. From his early days discovering the world of wine while working at chef Daniel Boulud's restaurants in New York and Miami, he went on to work with influential sommelier Jeff Porter at Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca, a spot renowned for its impressive Italian wine collection, before moving to Singapore, where he looked after the drinks operations at Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza at Marina Bay Sands. A stint as sommelier and maitre d' at Tokyo's acclaimed L'Effervescence followed, before the Cicheti Group drew him back to Singapore. As sommelier and managing partner, he has developed the wine programmes for the Group's various outlets, which include Cicheti, Bar Cicheti, Wild Child and the latest addition to the stable of venues, highly anticipated Italian trattoria Forma.
An early (in your career) wine that made you go ‘Wow! (I want to be a somm)’
I was fortunate to work with amazing people at the beginning of my career who inspired me to want to be a sommelier. Although there are many to choose from, one wine that will always make me think of these moments is Coche-Dury, Les Perrieres, Meursault, Burgundy. That lingering taste lasted for some time. To this day, I get goosebumps thinking about it.
Most memorable pour
1937 Michel Lafarge, Clos des Chênes, Volnay. We were blinded by this, at his house, eating home-cooked poulet roti (French roast chicken).
Tipple for a Tuesday
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Perfect for a Tuesday afternoon. Currently, I would recommend Tiberio’s or Cirelli’s—both excellent options.
Sun, sea and ...
Any white wine that has loads of fresh minerals, mouth-watering salinity, and lingering acid. I’m thinking chenin blanc, savagnin, cortese, Greco di Tufo, riesling, Chablis, and the like.
Wine of the moment
Champagne has always been the wine of any moment, but Coteaux Champenois made with petit meslier or pinot meunier is becoming more and more impressive. Currently, I’m recommending Bonnet-Ponson and Nowack.
What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)
Wines that I can’t afford to buy. For educational purposes, of course.
What you love to recommend to guests
I love it when guests let me pick the wine and have them guess what it is. We have so much fun doing that. Trust the sommelier. We manifest this in each Cicheti concept with menu options such as Sommelier Selection bottles or Sommakase wine flights, where we pick the wines to go with their meal. Currently, I’d recommend something native from a region they wouldn’t expect like Shoukoushi from Okayama, Japan.
Best from your by-the-glass list
I’m not sure what “best” means, but the one that impresses people more due to its uniqueness and diversity of flavour, would be our Cantina Giardino, Il Mio Fiasco, Coda di Volpe. There are so many things to share with our guests about this wine.
A special something
Back vintage Schioppettino from Ronchi di Cialla in Friuli, Italy—truly special.
Bottle to bring to a dinner party
A Jeroboam-size bottle of Cornelissen Susucaru or any Cru Beaujolais will do—you need to make sure there is plenty to go around.
What’s in your cellar?
It’s empty. I am a wine drinker, not a wine collector.
The same wine that made me go “Wow!”, just so that all those special moments come back to me.
If not wine, then what?
Tea. There’s so much similarity between the two.