Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who chose the wine?

I must confess I know nothing about wine; however, when I choose the wine for an event, more often than not, it gets rave reviews. What’s my secret? Som-me-lier! Before I started in this industry, that word inspired fear in me. Perhaps because I couldn’t pronounce it or perhaps because I felt that anyone who knew a lot about wines was an s-n-o-b.

Well, I’ve come a long way, because today, I am on first name basis with one of DC’s best sommeliers. I can no longer choose wines for an event without first consulting him. He has introduced me to a world of possibilities and has taken me out of my Chardonnay/Pinot Grigio/Merlot/Pinot Noir comfort zone, but has left me humble enough that I never say: “I am NOT drinking any f---ing Merlot!!” Although I may occasionally, because I just loved Sideways so much.

Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips from my sommelier that translate well to at-home entertaining (the stuff I think about now as I prepare for next week’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy Backyard Party). Here, they are:
  1. The size and shape of the wine glass does matter. The Riedel Wine Glass Guide is a great starting point for the novice hostess. 
  2. Chill the red wine a half-hour before serving it and remove the white wine from the refrigerator a half-hour before. If wine is too warm or too cold, it loses its flavor and complexities (if you care about complexities), and 
  3. Always serve dessert, wine that is, and make sure it’s sweeter than the dessert to ensure a sweet ending.
Finally, when working with a sommelier, respect their choices, but taste everything and only buy and/or serve the wines you’ve enjoyed.

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