By Banks Jesser
I have worked in the food and beverage industry in various capacities for the better part of 27 years, including serving as a sommelier and as a wine distributor. I was first introduced to the grand world of wine in 2000 while working at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. To say I was a nervous wreck is an understatement. Looking back, it stemmed from my own lack of knowledge associated with wine. The wine world can be a very complex subject with astronomical numbers of different grape varieties and wine regions around the world. I now know I was trying to make the learning experience more complicated than it really needed to be.
I am a firm believer in the power of reading and researching to learn as much about wine as possible. I have traveled to various vineyards to expand my understanding of all aspects of wine from growing grapes to the bottling process. The only other way to learn about wine is to taste it, taste it some more, and then taste it even more. The only way to decide if you enjoy a style of wine is to experiment with different bottles from around the world. Tasting is often best when enjoyed in the company of others, discussing the nuances of wine—the fruits you smell, the weight of the wine in your mouth, the beginning, the middle, and the finish. Don’t take yourself too seriously, either. After all, it’s just juice. Also, I learned very quickly to spit out the wine while tasting instead of swallowing each sip!
The beauty of wine is, everyone smells and tastes something completely different. You don’t need to be a Master Sommelier to determine whether you like a particular style. That being said, if you want to get serious I highly recommend befriending a Master Somm, or Master of Wine, as they can be very beneficial to the learning experience.
I get asked all the time, “What is your favorite wine?” My answer is usually, “I like it all!” The truth is, during the hotter months and into fall, we drink a lot of whites. My wife, Courtney, loves chardonnay, but she is willing to try any number of other white varietals, like Vermentino from Italy, Alvarinho from Portugal, Grenache Blanc from Spain, or Viognier from France. In the cooler months, from fall into winter, we drink more reds, like Tempranillo and Grenache from Spain, Carmenere from Chile, and red blends from around the world. Below are some of our seasonal picks—we hope you enjoy!
Domaine Paul Buisse Touraine Sauvignon 2016, Loire, France
100% Sauvignon Blanc, 12.4% ABV - Exotic fruit forward, balanced acidity and a seamless finish. Ideal for appetizers, salads, or seafood.
Tons de Duorum White 2016, Portugal
30% Viosinho, 25% Rabigato, 20% Verdelho, 20% Arinto, 5% Moscatel, 12.5% ABV - Intense aromas of tropical and citrus fruits with a floral finish. Enjoy with sushi, ceviche or grilled poultry.
Tilia Malbec/Syrah 2016, Argentina
55% Malbec/45% Syrah, 13.5% ABV - Aromas of black cherry, blueberries, with a hint of coffee and vanilla on the long finish. Pair with heavier beef dishes, or dishes with spice.