Tips for the Sommelier by Boston Rising Star Sommelier Lauren C. Daddona of L'Espalier

March 2015

There’s so much satisfaction to be found in wine! I try to always be aware that many people simply enjoy it as a tasty beverage, but for those who seek more, I have plenty of tips for maximizing the experience.

Taste everything! No one likes a snob. There’s learning to be found in both the cheap mini bottles that they serve on airplanes as well as the more quality and luxury examples. It's very useful tohave knowledge of the spectrum of wine that exists.

When a tasting menu with pairings is offered, order it! The chef's favorite dishes are showcased here and the sommelier selects a wine to enhance each course. It’s a great way to discover wines that you may never have otherwise tried, and it is a great opportunity to experience food and wine pairing magic.

One of the easiest ways to begin educating oneself about wine is to learn about the region of the wine while you are enjoying it. Buy Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson's The World Atlas of Wine and locate your wine on a map. Imagine what it's like there! Is it a very hot place or very cold? Is it rainy or dry? What’s the cuisine like? What would they eat with the exact wine that you’re drinking? If you were planning a trip there, what would you see and do? I like to associate wine with travel. It can be a great mental vacation! Of course, if you are able to take a real vacation and visit wine regions, all the better; you’ll learn a great deal in a short period of time.

Wine service is about people as much as it is about wine. When I approach a table, I aim to understand the dynamic as quickly as possible: Are they formal and want to keep to themselves; are they friendly and want to engage; are they adventurous and looking for a new experience; or are they happy ordering the reliable favorite? The aim is to get the wine into the glass that the guest will love the most. Our list is kept as diverse as possible in order to ensure this!