|Brian Huynh of Gemma in Dallas - photo by Brad Murano|
When everyone at the table had decided, Brian came back over. There were five of us, each with something a little different. One at our table had steak tartare, one had sweetbreads, two had pappardelle with rabbit sauce and one had barramundi. What wine would go well with all of these? Brian asked me what I liked. I told him I had a penchant for white wines from Europe. I liked cold, steely, minerally wines. He suggested a white burgundy, but also asked me if he could suggest something a little outside of the box. The way he did it was so subtle. It was a classic example of one in the service industry offering some well needed hospitality advice. “I have this red wine, Nebbiolo, from Santa Ynez, Clendenen Family, a 2010. I think you might like it.” We’d already resolved that I indeed liked Nebbiolo. But here was a red wine, and New World at that. “Let’s give it a shot,” I said. And so he went and fetched the bottle.
|2010 Clendenen Family Vineyards 'Bricco Buon Natale' Nebbiolo|
What struck me was how well the sommelier inserted the wine into our evening. He wasn’t heavy handed, didn’t have any ego invested in the decision. He merely wanted to share with us something he thought we’d like. And not something I was thinking about. It was a wonderful experience which gave me hope for the role and the future of the sommelier trade. Especially when the beverage service was done with tact and in the spirit of professionalism that is taught by the Court of Master Sommeliers. And Brian can play a pretty mean violin, as well!
exemplary wine list.
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