Jan 31 2011
It has been two years this month since I decided to dive into the world of wine. And when I say dive, I mean I truly threw myself into wine’s world. I was one week into 21 years old when I moved to San Francisco to begin sommelier classes, and I was, to say the very least, inexperienced. My elder classmates, of whom the youngest was 25, tossed around words such as “tannin,” and names of fruit I had never even heard of. My few years of drinking Yellow Tail out of the bottle in my elementary school’s playground at night didn’t quite prepare me for this class’ challenge, but was up for it.
It all started when I scored a position as server at a restaurant owned by a very well known Italian chef. I had previously spent some time working in the industry, but chef Gaetano brought love and appreciation for food and wine to life for me. He made both feel like an art; like a painter with a color palate, or a poet with words. Every recipe was so intricate and complex, each ingredient enhancing the other, as do aromas and flavors in wine. As a 20-year old tossed onto the floor with servers ten years my elder, I was forced to learn food and wine. Obviously, the wine list was both figuratively and literally Italian to me. Montepulcianos and Montalcinos, Barbarescos and Barolos…needless to say I spent plenty of time in that wine closet with my forefinger ferociously scratching my head in confusion. I was fed up with having to bother coworkers to help me in the wine closet, or with a table that was looking for wine to pair with dinner. So, I did a little research on wine education, and discovered that where entire schools and programs dedicated to wine knowledge. About a month of planning and $2000 later, I was officially in wine school.
Those four months in San Francisco changed my life. Not only did I finally have some idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life, I had discovered another form of art. Wine, I have learned, is beautiful. The colors of wine in the glass, the people who drink it, the lands in which the grapes are grown, the way a bottle dresses up a table, the way it makes food dance in your mouth, the people who produce it, the different labels and artwork on the bottles, even the color of wine on our teeth; beautiful. As Maggie wrote for us previously, wine is a story in a glass, telling us of characters and their affairs with their grapes in far away lands. It eases our mind and soul, it enriches our meals, and it makes us shut up and pay attention when it has romantic tale to tell.
To the art of wine- cheers!