Sommelier Geoff Kruth
The Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant | Sonoma
During our tasting at The Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant in Forestville, CA, Kruth taught us an interesting pairing lesson: When in doubt, serve champagne with soup. The Master Sommelier—one of less than 150 throughout the world—likes the contrast in textures and we happily agreed. The lovely, round bubbles of the Marc Hebrart Brut Champagne married surprisingly well with the lush, smooth Veloute of Celeriac we tasted. Kruth’s quick-minded ingenuity and ambitious wine pairings are what have earned him a place on the short list of today’s top young American wine professionals—as well as a spot amongst our Rising Stars. We were impressed by his extensive knowledge of winemakers, regions and grape varieties, not to mention the small fact that he is the director of operations for the non-profit Guild of Sommeliers. Another trick Kruth keeps up his sleeves: serving an aged sweet wine as a savory pairing.
On Wines by the Glass:
Don’t pour too many wines by the glass. Most restaurants pour more wine by the glass than they can turn in one or two nights. While it might look good on a list, it’s not fair to the wines or to the customer if what you’re pouring doesn’t show as it should.
On Suggesting Wines to Guests:
Suggest wines for your customer’s palate, not your own. While it is certainly a good idea to recommend wines that are consistent with your philosophy, the most important thing in recommending wines is to read the guests and understand where their palates are. It can be a good opportunity to push them a bit in a new direction, but always realize that their taste may not be yours.
On Wine Pairings:
Try your wine pairings—many pairings that sound good on paper may not actually work in reality. And some [pairings] you would not expect may provide surprising experiences.
On Wine Knowledge:
Know the provenance of your wines. Only purchase older wines when you are confident in their storage history.
On Vintage Wines:
Throw away the vintage chart. Most reviews of vintages are based on ripeness and early charm. Make your judgments on vintage quality over time. Keep in mind that sleeper vintages can be found at lower prices, and they often outshine the popular consensus.
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