Tag: sommelier

Interview with Sommelière Isabelle Brunet

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“…every wine lover can and has to take care of his/her proper education and opinion”

Whether you know it or you don’t, but as a wine enthusiast you’ve probably had contact one way or the other with the renowned French sommelière Isabelle Brunet. Educated at the “school of life“, her way finally led her to Spain where she soon started working for and with Ferran Adrià at his famous restaurant “El Bulli”. But she didn’t stop there and kept going with new promising projects. Today, you can meet her at Monvínic, a place 100% dedicated to the experience offered by a glass of good wine in Barcelona.

1. On your website (www.isabellebrunet.com) you call yourself “not qualified sommelière”. What do you mean by that? 

When I say “sans diplôme” in French…I refer to the school of life! My adolescent years are marked by my parents in a homble village in the South of Chinon. First, Christophe, my brother and sommelier qualified in La Loire infected me with wine. In 1994 in London, Christophe started to travel the world and they offered me his position. It was known already that London was and still is the platform for the wines of the world. This is how I attended all the tastings and travels offered to me during the following 5 years. All with a nice environment of sommeliers & vignerons. Before I came to Spain, I travelled around visiting vineyards as a present to myself.

2. You’re from France but have been living in Spain for quite a while now. Champagne or cava?

Neither. It depends on which Champagne or Cava we’re talking about.

One can’t generalise, let’s try not to compare an industrial Champagne produced by a commercial brand with an artisanal Cava elaborated in a fresher region than usual with low yields and a long ageing on the lees.

Some of my favourites don’t even come from the official DO Cava. I prefer sparklings with a wine character, with a bit of positive oxidation.

How can I know – as a beginner – if a sparkling is good or not? Having in mind points of guides and critics, DOs,…

I want to use this opportunity to say that every wine lover can and has to take care of his/her proper education and opinion. At the beginning, guides with their evaluations can be helpful to get to know names, regions and types. It may seem hard but all depends on our effort and concentration we apply.

With my humble experience of 20 years, I’ve learnt to give my opinion without grading the wine immediately. Rather enjoy the moment and live the emotion transmitted by the wine. That’s also what I tell my team of sommeliers and the customers frequenting Monvínic.

How can I find the Cava of my taste?

Tasting a lot until you find a vigneron style you like and start to know your own taste. Also, we won’t stay with the same cava always. The diversity of styles and tastes are is enlightening.

How do I know if the Sommelier understands my needs?

First of all, if s/he has listened more than s/he’s talked.

If s/he looked to find a humble and constructive dialogue.

Then, how the sommelier manages the information and my preferences.

If the recommendations come from a place of heart and not a commercial place based on trends or his/her tastes.

Do you have a favourite food pairing with a sparkling? Want to share it with us?

With only a few euros you can get a 20-year-old Champagne paired with fresh pasta al dente and white truffles.

Also, a Sumoll Espumoso Brut Nature with a 3-year-old “Papada” on the grill.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Isabelle!

 

 

Choose wine like an expert

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There is no doubt that having knowledge of wine has become an indispensable requirement in any type of social gathering. From intimate dinners in restaurants to family gatherings around the table, we have all felt the social pressure to know how to choose the right wine for the occasion. Faced with this situation, many people are forced to simulate their wisdom in this matter; Especially when we face the menu list in a restaurant.

Therefore Uvinum want to give you valuable advice on choosing wine as an expert: choose the most economical bottle of the menu. It is not a cheap attitude, but a suggestion endorsed by industry professionals such as food critic Jay Rainer, or authors Madeline Puckett and Justin Hammack.

Why opt for the cheapest option? These experts provide the following arguments to support their suggestion:

  1. Do not fall into snobbery

The high prices of some bottles are only a consequence of snobbery. They are denominations of origin and the varieties that have gained fame, reason why the demand increases and their prices increase. However, these appellations of origin or grapes are usually neither the most exciting nor the most innovative. By contrast, wines from lesser-known regions have a great potential yet to be discovered.

       2. Think global, consume local

This also happens with foreign products, to which we usually attribute a certain prestige for the simple fact of being from another country. The costs of transport and distribution tend to increase the prices of these wines, which we usually attribute to the quality of the product. For their part, local wines are usually the most economical options, and their quality is usually similar or even higher than the foreign ones.

       3. Accept recommendations

Finally, it is always advisable to be recommended a wine by a good sommelier. This way you can discover wines that you have never heard of before. In case you do not trust the recommendation of the sommelier or waiter of the place or restaurant, you can always look for information on specialized websites like Uvinum before ordering a bottle.

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Farnese Sangiovese Terre di Chieti 2015

 

 

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Farnese Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2015

Smell the wine and improve your memory!

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Research conducted in Las Vegas concludes that the sommeliers and wine tasters have some areas of the brain more developed than other people. The study suggests that these areas are directly related to memory, thus reducing the vulnerability of these people to diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The key to this discovery lies in smell and scent. Because of their profession, these wine experts have a greater developed sense of smell. The work over the years affects the acute development of this sense as well as certain areas of the brain that other people do not usually exercise. Thus, the study concludes that to exercise the sense of smell promotes the development of brain memory and preventing Alzheimer’s.

This research conducted by Dr. Sarah Banks, a neuropsychologist at the Mental Health Center of Cleveland, tried to answer the mystery of why experts wine tasters can perceive aromas and flavors that other people cannot. The study was to conduct scans of brain activity of 13 non-experts and 13 sommeliers when exposed to various flavors of wine and fruit. While the study found that wine experts are able to detect odors and sensations indistinguishable to the others, the greatest discovery was locating the parts of the brain exercised by the professional sommeliers. Areas between which it is precisely those susceptible to memory diseases.

“This is good news for sommeliers; as they may have some degree of protection against Alzheimer’s, “said Dr. Banks in a recent interview with US network CBS. Although it is only a guess for now, the neuropsychologist says that in this way the wine could guide her towards a breakthrough on the development of memory; as well as prevention and treatment of diseases that affect it.

So it is definitely worth taking the time to smell every glass of wine before drinking it, both to enjoy a pleasant sensory experience and to improve our memory.

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Pruno 2015:  a red wine from Ribera del Duero based on the best cabernet sauvignon and tinta fina from 2015 and has an alcoholic strength of 14%.

 

 

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Viña Ardanza Reserva 2007 is a red wine made by La Rioja Alta from the region of Rioja made of tempranillo and garnacha of 2007 and has an alcoholic content of 13.5%.

 

Want to be a sommelier? Don’t miss these online courses!

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If you are in other countries, you want to practice English and learn to be a sommelier or maybe get more knowledge about the world of wine, we recommend some classroom and online courses, where you can become a wine connoisseur in an easy, quick and comfortable way. You can already take note!

The National wine school. They perform several Professional Certification Programs in the world of wine. Always online, the available training is varied, with sommelier certifications. For example, the Master Sommelier was born in 1969, and contains several programs with four levels of examinations.

International Sommelier Guild. It is one of the most interesting and complete, offering a specialized degree in wine selling, wine distribution, managing, etc. Just sign up and follow their guidelines.

Master Sommelier. With this Master, you will obtain specific expertise in restaurant managing, account managing of a wine brand, wine director for a retailer, restaurant or hotel.

Sommelier courses. The University of California announces a new sommelier course within the Specialized Studies Program at the UC Irvine Extension. It comes from the wine boom in this country, the region and around the world, and helps understanding how the wines are called, becoming familiar with the most famous grapes in the world, how to read a wine list with confidence and experience, understanding the labels of domestic wines, etc.

Sommelier Society of America Courses. Headquartered in New York City, this program will prepare you to get a sommelier certificate, and is performed for along 21 weeks.

Sommelier courses. The United States Sommelier Association announces a range of several days courses to get certificates, do internships, etc. with which you will discover novelties about the passion for the world of wine.

 

 TAGS:Fragolino Rosso BottegaFragolino Rosso Bottega

Fragolino Rosso Bottega is a sparkling wine with DO Veneto from the Bottega cellar. A wine sparkling rated with 3,3 points on 5 according to Uvinum’s users.

 

 

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Castello Banfi Rosa Regale 2013 is a sparkling wine of the Piedmont DO produced with brachetto from the 2013 vintage and with an alcoholic strength of 7º.

 

 

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Leo Malbec 2011 is a red wine San Rafael is made with malbec of 2011 and with an alcohol content of 14.70º.

Who Tastes the Wine?

https://www.uvinum.co.uk/blog/assets/uploads/sites/3/2010/07/692968-268852.jpgOrdering wine in a restaurant apparently not only creates confusion for the diner (which region? varietal? price? does it go with fish?), but also the sommelier. There’s already been some discussion as to which person at the table should receive the wine list, but now a new debate is emerging thanks to Eric Asimov’s recent article in the New York Times. The question now is, do you want the sommelier to taste your wine before you? (Or at all?)

 

On the pro side we have strong points made by blogger Alder Yarrow and many sommeliers, that this is one of the original purposes of the sommelier, and the reason they traditionally wore tastevins around their necks- to ensure the wine they were serving was a)not poisoned (thankfully not usually a problem these days), and b)not flawed (very much still an issue). They argue that part of a sommelier’s job is to ensure a pleasant experience, one which does not include a mouthful of corked wine. 

However, there is also a vocal contingent of mostly wine savvy consumers, who believe they are just as equipped as a sommelier to decide if the wine is in good shape or not, or take offense to the idea that the restaurant is essentially helping themselves to what the customer has paid for, akin to a server taking a bite of their food. 

Flawed wine remains a problem, and the reality is not all consumers are educated or confident enough to make that call. Furthermore, different diners have different ideas about what constitutes a great dining experience. Some enjoy the ceremony of the corking, decanting, and tasting of a fine wine on a big night out, others like Alder declare…“I’m SO OVER the theater of wine. A certain amount of ceremony is fine, but for pete’s sake, let’s just drink the stuff.”

I think the safest answer is for the sommelier to simply to ask the customer if he or she would like them to taste the wine. And you- who do you want to taste your wine?