Wine Cliff Notes with Sommelier - John Slover
Series | How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi
After my excursion to the Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting at the Waldorf a few weeks ago, I was influenced to seek out a bit more wine knowledge to share with fans of JSQ.
As part of the series on "How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi", knowing at least a little about wine is having "that certain something special".
Thankfully I have a good friend, John Slover, who is a wine expert, also known as a sommelier. We had a quick chat about what I thought were some wine etiquette essentials and he obliged me with a wine opening demonstration. It's a performance he has perfected after almost 20 years in the wine business working at places such as Blue Hill, Cru, Le Bernardin, and Daniel.
Luckily for us, this private wine consulter who manages some pretty impressive wine collections, shared his knowledge with JSQ pro bono.
See Interview below:
INTERVIEW WITH WINE EXPERT, JOHN SLOVER
JSQ: If u are clueless about vineyards, grapes and regions, is it ok to buy a bottle based on the looks of the label?
JS: Well there are no rules, but how about maybe learn something and make an informed decision, or build a relationship with someone in a wine store and ask them for recommendations. You don't taste the label, although licking it to be sexy can be fun.
JSQ: How reliable is the person working in the wine store ?
JS: It depends on the store and the worker. I would suggest to anyone if they want to learn about wine (and you learn by drinking and tasting) to find a good wine store (Chambers street wines, Astor wines, Crush wines and spirits in manhattan, Heights chateau in brooklyn heights, and there are many more), find a worker, and tell them you want a case of wine split between white and red, name your price range, take the case home and drink it over the course of a few weeks. Take some notes as you taste and drink - you don't have to go crazy and write a novel, just what you like and don't like, and if you can articulate why you like or don't like, and when you're done with the case go back, find the same worker and share your notes and let them pick out another case, always naming your price range. After a round or 2 of this, you'll know whether the worker is a good person to have a wine relationship with.
JSQ: How important is it to store my wine on its side at my home? It's not laying down at the store.
JS: very important!
JSQ: Would u ever mix coca cola with red wine?
JS: Next question. (he actually said something else)
JSQ: Which kind of red wine makes the best sangria?
JS: Something cheap and fruity, like $4 a bottle or less
JSQ: Do u have a favorite brand of wine glasses to recomend? High end/ Low end
JSQ: Are there any tricks to not getting purple teeth?
JS: Nope - stainability is genetic. Keep a tooth brush handy. Or drink white wine
JSQ: I find the world of wine and the world of fashion very similar in that a select group of people actually fully understand it -those that work in it or those that spend the time getting to know it. There are some steadfast rules in fashion to help the less daring always get it right. For instance a black cocktail dress is always chic. Pearls are always sophisticated and black pumps with a slender heel will always be stylish.
For normal people just trying to to by a decent bottle of wine or choose a glass with dinner. What are 3 tips to make this process more successful?
1 - try and get a simple understanding of what you like and don't like so you can give them simple information (full bodied or light bodied? fruity or not so fruity? etc)
2 - ask for help and trust your sommelier or bartender
3 - name your price range, and don't be ashamed if its low. Sommeliers out there would prefer direct communication about that
JSQ: Also like fashion, there are some ridiculous prices. Or are they ridiculous? In fashion some items are prices far beyond the value of the product. Much of the price inflation is about the status of the brand. Does wine pricing work in a similar way ?
JS:yes, status, brand, but also in wine rarity is a big factor that drives prices up. Maybe thats the same in fashion too.
JSQ: How about this wine you are using in the demonstration - It's huge! This is not a normal bottle of wine.
JS: Yes, it's large. It's called a Magnum which is = 1.5 liters. This wine is from Piedmont, Italy. Piedmont reds, particularly ones made from barbera are good pizza wines, and it turned out to be pretty good with chinese food too!!
JSQ: Thanks for entertaining my questions and adding to our "je ne sais quoi" Looking forward to licking more labels with you soon.