Sommelier Roberto Colombi
Cielo | Boca Raton
Being a sommelier is a lifestyle; itís something we do everyday with a smile, and we donít just do it for the money. We love whatís behind it, what wine means to the people — whether its conversation or just getting drunk.
Learning about Wine:
My goal is to improve myself by tasting every single day, and by knowing regions, climates, soil type, and history. Once you start to get this knowledge you start to build more experience, and that is best thing for your tasting skills (and blind tasting skills).
Mise en Place:
First thing in the morning, the sommelier should clean and dust everything. Next, you should taste the wine that was open the day before. It is also important to check the sediment in the vintage port (by pouring it into a decanter and pouring it back into the bottle). Then get the glassware ready for service, and make sure it is all clean.
Use the Right Glassware:
Different wines get different glasses, and this is for a good reason. You should not use an open glass for Pinot Noir because it is too delicate a wine. You should not use a balloon glass either because there will be too much exposure of oxygen. A big Bordeaux, on the other hand, needs an open glass to receive more oxygen so it becomes softer and more elegant. This rule is not just for wine; it applies to Cognac, Armagnac and grappa as well. If you use a balloon glass for these spirits the alcohol does not get released into the air and it goes straight to your nose when you smell it (this is bad!). You need to serve these in a tulip glass — this helps the spirit become more elegant and fruity.
You must use the right decanter for the right wine. You cannot decant a Pinot Noir — it is too delicate. Big wines, like Sangiovese, Bordeaux or Barolo, need to be decanted. For old vintages of Bordeaux, you must be very careful and use a duck decanter so that the wine stays together. This kind of decanter will not cause too much stress to the wine or make it lose its aromas. Tempranillo and Garnacha also need to be decanted in most cases.
Know Your Customer:
You must understand the needs of your customer. 90% of my customers trust me and would like me to choose the wine for them. To better do this, I try to get to know them through a few simple questions that can help me understand what they want to taste in a wine. I ask them if there is something they really donít like. I also ask if they have any preference of country or grape. If they say they donít like Chardonnay because of the oak, I might have them try a Chardonnay that has no oakÖand they will probably love it! And if they say they like a certain type of grape, I might give them something similar but completely unknown. This is a chance to stun them!
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