Wine Tips from Sommelier Jesse Rodriguez of Addison—San Diego, CA

July 2009

1. Never serve white wines too cold.
Sometimes guests feel that the colder the white wine, the better. Not true! When a wine is served too cold, it can mask the flavors, which become muted with too much cold temperature. So, the next time you think about chilling that delicious bottle of 2005 White Burgundy, it is quite possible that it could show better if it is served only slightly chilled.

2. Try decanting all wines.
Not only is decanting great for removing sediment, but it also wakes up wines. This allows you to enjoy the wine at its finest from the beginning versus towards the end of the bottle when there is only a splash left.

3. Do not be afraid to ask your guests about price.
I wish we could read minds. I’m sure that if I could, I would hear “Please make me look good, but don’t break the bank. It’s my first date.” When speaking with guests and finding out what they feel good about spending, always remember that you want them to come back. By trying to sell the more expensive wine, you’re placing your guests in an awkward situation—as well as taking the chance that they won’t return. Suggest a moderately priced wine, as you can always go up or down from there.

4. Offer something different.
We all fall into our comfort zone, like sitting in a certain pew at church, or shopping at the same store. However, when our guests go out to dine and have a sommelier available, it’s up to us to introduce them to something different. For instance, if a guest mentions that he/she enjoys the more traditional hyper-ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, feel free to drop them a little taste of Brunello. Chances are they will enjoy it and begin to trust your services and judgment.

5. Follow what you like.
Because a certain person says that a wine is 96 points does not necessarily mean that you’ll like it. Do not hesitate to buy wines that do not have a rating. Find a grape, a region, or a style of wine that you like and explore what it has to offer. You know what you like best!