Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wine in my life ...

I have had a passion in food and beverage since a teenager, a passion that had led to further studies in Hotel & Restaurant Management with focus on gastronomy which gave me the opportunity to work with very good chefs, sommeliers and managers over the years in various hotels of excellence as Food and Beverage Manager. Huge experience was gained in the field of food and wine matching, especially with Mediterranean and fusion cuisines with wine from all over the globe. I am a founder Member of the “Cyprus Sommelier Association” and Former “Officer of Training and Education”.

Now I manage the operations of the Villa Rentals of “Aphrodite Hills Holiday Rentals” but I can never let go of the “hotelier” in me. This is one of the motives for this blog but the true reason is to come closer to people with an interest in wine and be able to share comments, suggestions and ideas about food, beverages…or villas!

Constantly friends ask my opinion and recommendations with menus, wine lists and food and wine combinations. This is a passion that I wish to share. So please place your queries or any gastronomic experiences you wish to discuss.

The questions I get about wine.

Many people talk about wine with passion, mystique and desire. Others don’t see why the commotion. What is your opinion on this?

Even though I stand with the former, I will look into this question with as little bias as possible. The “Passionate” have their own “language” that is used to the others dismay. They use common terminology and metaphors that sound so meaningful to them but totally vague to others. This obviously creates a strong and immediate bond between these people, it is logical; they share the same passion and may communicate with little knowledge of each other’s actual language. To me this can similarly relate to art, music and dancing. They are also socialising and are consuming alcohol at a generally moderate pace that facilitates to loosen formalities and etiquette thus creating good ground for bonding. This is actually the problem. Barriers are put up! Yes barriers are put up from the people like myself that use their knowledge and “wine language” to communicate with “fellow wine lovers “ but leave out of the conversation other wine lovers with less academic knowledge and great passion to learn. What an injustice! Sommeliers owe it to society to become more “down to earth”, modest and simple. We should be passing the knowledge to ALL, allowing and encouraging people of varying wine experiences to freely express their individual opinion on the wine they are sampling.

Why do some people say “I don’t like wine”?
I don’t blame them! Some people have had very bad first, second and third experiences when provoking their initial experience with wine. Many have been lucky to have started tasting wine young and with wines that had been produced in good practice. This provides a sound base for future appreciation and allows the individual to benchmark against past experiences. However if an individual tries wine later in life after experiencing generally available beverages (alcoholic or not; juices, beers, spirits, coffee, artificial drinks) these will be the only form of comparison that will allow him or her to accept or reject a wine. Now if this wine is not even of a good wine making practice or served poorly then how can that person accept wine in general? In addition to this every person does prefer different tastes, simply because we are brought up on different experiences. For me the most important time is to introduce someone to his preferred wine, by discreetly probing into his or her gastronomic background.

How do you actually evaluate/appreciate wine? Is it difficult?
The how needs time and can be very easy to start with and then become very complex and challenging as one becomes more proficient, again very similar to any art. I am sure Vincent Van Gough’s paintings when he was three years old were almost as good as yours or mine.

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