Wine Insights #2
2 distinct paths to sommelier, a visit to America’s Greatest Winery, and a case for half bottles thanks to Grgich Hills Estate.
Welcome to Wine Insights. A quick read to create new paths for your wine learning. Each week, I highlight a wine book, blog, and bottle that are worth your time. All linked at the bottom of every post.
There are many paths towards wine expertise
Becoming A Sommelier by Rosie Schaap tells the tale of two different sommeliers
When you’re outside the wine industry, you often wonder:
“How do people get started in wine?”
The stories are simpler than you imagine. It starts with a pivotal wine moment.
For Amanda Smeltz, she discovered her passion for wine thanks to her wine mentor. She met Peter Donahue while working at a restaurant during college.
For Roger Dagorn, who grew up in wine and restaurants, he realized his wine destiny while meeting Joe Heitz.
Overall, this is a fantastic, quick read that offers a glimpse into the career paths and trajectories of two stars of the wine industry. Even more delightful is the personality interjected by Rosie Schaap. Rosie’s words jump off the page as you follow her shadowing Amanda and being served by Roger.
It’s far from an all-telling, all-knowing career framework or guide. But that’s not the point.
This little book shines a light on how you might model a wine career from two greats in their respective trade.
A Quick Visit To Ridge By Jon Bonné
Ridge is the great American winery. Monte Bello is hallowed ground.
While my twitter feed buzzed with Ridge articles this week (Decanter, The Financial Times and the San Francisco Chronicle), but I was stymied by paywalls.
To get that Ridge fix, I found an excerpt from The New California Wine by Jon Bonné where he described tasting the 1971 Monte Bello blind with Paul Draper, Ridge's founder.
This 5 minute read is a quick glimpse into the beauty of Ridge.
2017 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Tiny bottles get no respect. But they are a great option to buy outside your comfort zone.
My wife said, “I’m not drinking until Thanksgiving.”
The cold weather invites a nightly glass of red. And it’s hard for me to open a bottle and not finish it over 2 days. Guilt and glutton.
Enter the half bottle.
It was the perfect remedy for a Sunday night steak dinner. Because steak without win, well, I’d rather not.
But the magic of tiny bottles is that they age the wine faster.
The 375mL 2017 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon was not my typical buy, but it was on sale, 30 USD, so I was ready to gamble.
And the wine delivered. Already softening thanks to the smaller format, there were ripe black fruits along with those undertones of tobacco, oak, and spice that I love in Cabernet.
More half bottles, please.
P.S. - I cracked a half bottle of 2019 Ridge Geyserville last night. Delicious.
This Weeks’s Wine Book, Blog, and Bottle
Book: Becoming A Sommelier by Rosie Schaap
Blog: A Visit to Monte Bello by Jon Bonné
Bottle: 2017 Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (375mL)