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Cynthia Betancourt

Azul
Mandarin Oriental
500 Brickell Key Drive
Miami, FL 33131
(305) 913-8254

Biography & Interview Ľ


Sommelier Cynthia Betancourt

Azul | Miami

Wine Tips

Know your vintages:
Many of us in the industry have had the opportunity to taste some exceptional vintages, but have yet to try as much as the critics have. There is a multitude of coverage out there, but often times the opinions are (naturally) based on preferences, or biased towards someone the critic has taken a liking to. Iíve been using The Great Vintage Book by Michael Broadbent — itís a source for quick to-the-point reviews, and it can be brutally honest. Keep in mind there are many average vintages that are drinking fabulously. Which leads me to the next tip…

Ratings shouldnít dominate how you structure your wine list:
are some ”off“ vintages in which great producers have made beautiful wines. A good vintage is often overshadowed by an exceptional one. The wines from the good vintage can be a great values — not to mention an opportunity to try wines from the greatest chateaux and domains.

Half bottles:
I particularly enjoy this part of the wine list as both a diner and a buyer. Half bottles give you flexibility — you can start off with a white for your first couple of courses and then move on to another bottle. Offering a wide selection of half bottles will allow your customers to try something they are not to familiar with. And it can increase your wine sales for single diners, especially during the sleepy summer months and lunch time.

Comparative Tastings:
I particularly enjoy this part of the wine list as both a diner and a buyer. Half bottles give you flexibility Ė you can start off with a white for your first couple of courses and then move on to another bottle. Offering a wide selection of half bottles will allow your customers to try something they are not to familiar with. And it can increase your wine sales for single diners, especially during the sleepy summer months and lunch time.

Travel like a journalist when visiting wine country:
Take notes about your experience — about the journey, the winemakers you met, and your surroundings. Try to get a copy on the menu along with the wines you had with your dinner or lunch. Take samples of the soil or observe how the morning fog subsides. All of this will eventually come into place when you are speaking about the wine country you just visited. They all are unique!

Canít Travel? Have them come to you:
Sometimes a little thing called “work” can get in they way of your wine travels. Many winemakers make yearly visits to cities and restaurants — this is a great opportunity to meet them, to get to know them on a personal basis, and to taste their wine. Ask questions!

 

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  • Our Rising Stars and Why They Shine

  •    Published: February 2008

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