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No Clones…only Jedis!

Folks,

It has been hectic the past couple of weeks, so apologies for no entries. Between wine competitions, reading about wine, talking about wine, teaching about wine, being taught about wine, it has left little time for writing about wine. I feel that a respite is in order. To do taxes…

Let’s hope you all get a refund.

If you don’t want to do taxes, and you are interested in reading about wine, I found a recent interview podcast http://www.guildsomm.com/tc/user_blogs1/b/guild_podcasts/archive/2012/04/11/new-podcast-food-and-wine-pairing-with-three-top-sommeliers.aspx focusing on food and wine pairing on the Guild of Sommeliers to be compelling. Two recurrings themes in this process were matching the weight of the wine to the weight of the dish, and the likes and dislikes of the guest. I think the second theme is paramount. For many in the restaurant industry, we tend to forget the most important piece of the puzzle. Although we are tasked with guiding the guest through the dining experience, we must remind ourselves we aren’t dining. They are. It requires a dialogue with the table, and the ability to listen is as important as the skills gleaned with reading books, talking vino, tasting thousands of wines and building a beverage program.

Hence this blog title. A great somm has the Jedi touch. They can talk about clonal selections ’til you are blue in the face, but this approach works for less than 1% of the population. Kind of works like this….

Guest-’I’m going to have the short rib with cippollinis and a fig reduction. What’s the wine to pair with it?’

Somm-’I think that the Fonterutoli Siepi would work great with the dish. Sangiovese and Merlot, equal parts. Rich red and black fruits with tobacco leaf and lush tannins go very well with the braised meat and enough acidity to balance the sweet notes in the fig reduction. By the way….

‘Did you know that Carlo Ferrini has worked with the property for years, and was the technical director for the Chianti Classico Consorzio for over 20 years, and spearheaded the Chianti Classico 2000 movement? Haven’t heard of it? Well, there were thousands of clonal selections in Tuscany, notably in Chianti Classico, and the group spent 16 years researching clones to come up with the best material in the area. This was performed in conjunction with soil analysis and management, rootstock, and vine training methods. They further isolated strains based on their ability or inability to withstand viral infection and produce yields capable of high quality with manual or mechanical harvesting, After isolating 239 clones from Sangiovese, Colorino, Canaiolo, they picked 24 Sangiovese, 8 Colorino, and 2 Canaiolo cultivars that were free of disease. After exhaustive study, they finally chose 7 clones of Sangiovese, and 1 clone of Colorino. These were given the title of ‘Chianti Classico 2000′ clones. The Sangiovese in the Siepi has the 2000 pedigree! Here, I have the full report on my IPad. Look at these phenolic readings on this chart…they are off the charts! Awesome, right?’

Guest-’Yeah…sounds great…my entree already arrived.’

The ability to sense whether or not the diner wants all that info is the mark of a great somm. Fo’ shizzle. Yoda, bitches.

Cheers,

William

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