Perks Of The Job

Long time retail vet, Michael Butler, joins us as our guest blogger today…

Our staff tastes as a group at least once a week, usually when new vintages come in to the shop via container ship into the Port of Oakland. It is one of the highlights of the week for me to taste all of the interesting things we import.

The life of the professional taster is tough; for starters, one must spit the wine into a bucket to avoid becoming so inebriated that everything seems perfect and lovely. You must keep a critical eye out for specific flavors and what dishes will pair well with the wine so that you can advise your clients accordingly.

Sometimes (often, actually) it can be particularly challenging to have to spit a delicious, perfectly chilled white from the container after a long thirst-inducing day of selling wine. Such a thing happened recently when we tasted a batch of new arrivals that included the 2010 Muscadet from André-Michel Brégeon and the 2010 Saint-Péray Blanc from Auguste Clape. The wines could not have been more different yet both were absolutely delicious. The Muscadet was crisp and stony and mouth watering—a perfect companion to oysters, or any kind of seafood really. The Saint-Péray was deep and full-bodied with classic bees-waxy and fruity (quince, apricot) qualities. It would pair well with a richer dish such as grilled halibut or a roast chicken or guinea hen with—why not?—chanterelle or morel mushrooms.

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