The Secrets of a Sommelier
Wine is many things to many people: a luxury, a treat after a long day at work, a celebration on a special occasion. Wine can also be mysterious and sometimes even intimidating – especially the subtleties of wine etiquette.
This last week has seen the Creation sales force treated to a very special outing to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, just outside Gansbaai in the Overberg. Grootbos is an exclusive venue boasting beautifully appointed accommodation in a pristine Fynbos Reserve. It attracts visitors from across the globe with a reputation for offering bespoke experiences.
Upon arrival Eben Bezuidenhoud, Sommelier at Grootbos, invited the attendees to learn more about some of the finer points of wine service in a fun and interactive training session which was enjoyed by all. You can follow Eben on Facebook.
Etiquette when presenting and serving wine is important not only because of the tradition associated with it, but also because of the atmosphere and emotion that a seamless experience can produce. The training session started with a talk on the importance of understanding style and preference – wine is all about personal taste and it is part of our mandate as ambassadors of Creation to expertly assess and fulfil the needs of our clients. This requires a broad understanding of both local and international wine styles and the ability to interpret the relevant information and offer the best example from our broad range of premium estate wines.
Eben encouraged everyone to expand their frame of reference by tasting as many wines as possible from as many areas as possible and distilling this information into an easily accessible mental rubric that would allow us to best accommodate the tastes of our visitors. Once a preference has been established the presentation and serving of wine is central to its enjoyment: wine service should be effortless, unobtrusive and yet comprehensive.
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Wine Word of the Week: Balance
Every bottle of wine contains elements such as tannin, sugar, alcohol and acid. These structural components influence the weight, mouthfeel and style of the wine. When these various elements as well as the dominant flavour profiles come together harmoniously, the wine can be described as ‘balanced’. Balanced wines tend to be more age worthy and more food friendly as no one component overwhelms the rest.