When handed the wine list at your favorite restaurant, it potentially can be the most distressing moment of the meal; the feeling combines doubt and dread making cowards of us all. One person stands between us and humiliation, one who can smooth the way for success, whether on a first date, in closing a deal, at a family gathering, or in a meeting with the boss. That person is the sommelier. A sommelier can be your best friend as he or she guides you on the best choices for your favorite meal
During my recent visit at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO, I spoke with Josh Cafasso, one of the sommeliers from this luxury resort, and he gave us some insightful tips that will surely help in putting you at ease when selecting wine. Enjoy!
What are your top 5 bar essentials?
1. Fresh fruit, all fresh squeezed juices for cocktails
2. Solid cubed ice
3. A classic cocktail recipe book
4. Boston Shaker
5. Stir spoon (bent at the bottom to fit glass when stirring
What inspired you to become a sommelier?
The level of expertise, professionalism and brotherhood that the industry offers.
What is the weirdest request you've had from a patron
I recently had a patron request a mid-80’s Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau doesn’t have a very long shelf life and it doesn’t get better with age. It is a wine made within a few months of harvest and is meant to be consumed immediately.
Do you have a favorite unexpected pairing?
Crispy Coconut Prawns with Roasted Jalapenos & Mango Lime Salsa Paired With: Kim Crawford, Sauvignon Blanc, Marlboro New Zealand 2011
What's the most underrated wine on your list?
I would pick Domaine Du Salvard, Cheverny, Loire Valley France because it is an undiscovered high quality wine with a great price. Here is some additional background on the wine from KLWins.com: Domaine du Salvard has been a working domaine since 1898, through five hardworking generations of the Delaille family. Today, all forty-two hectares of vineyards are farmed by the capable brother team of Emmanuel and Thierry Delaille, with help from their father Gilbert. To our delight, they have carried on the traditions established by their ancestors, producing a true, classic Cheverny that is both simple and elegant. Unlike others in the appellation who still vinify the widely-planted and forgettable Romorantin varietal, the Delaille brothers have focused their attention on growing fresh, lively Sauvignon Blanc, deeply rooted in the sand, clay, and limestone plains of northeastern Touraine. Finally achieving A.O.C. status in 1993, Cheverny was widely regarded as one of the best V.D.Q.S. (Vin de Qualité Superieur) of the Loire. However, some argue that this A.O.C.-in-waiting designation was a political maneuver by the I.N.A.O. to keep Cheverny’s delicious, sprightly Sauvignon Blanc out of competition with the other more famous appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. This domaine’s wine is one of the greatest values for Sauvignon Blanc perfection.
What is your favorite summer wine varietal?
Sauvignon Blanc. Some of my favorites include:
• As mentioned above, Kim Crawford, Marlboro, New Zealand
• Cloudy Bay, Marlboro New Zealand
• Chateau Carbonnieaux, Graves, Bordeaux France
• And as stated above Domaine du Salvard, Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
What is the first thing someone learning about wine should know?
Classic Regions and why only specific varietals are produced there
Do you think any rules should be adhered to when pairing?
#1 never overpower the food
#2 acidity is great with all pairings unless the course has high acid already
#3 regional wine with regional food #4 embrace your creativity
What are your three best tips, tricks or techniques for wine lovers?
Cabernet Sauvignon served at 55-60 degrees White Burgundy served at room temperature Utilize the versatility of Riesling with food pairings
Who would you most like to work within your professional capacity?
Doug Krenik MS. Over the past 20 years, Doug has been associated with almost every aspect of the wine business; importing his own wines, working for local distributors in both sales and education, and directing the wine program of the prestigious Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, for six years. He completed the rigorous Court of Master Sommeliers Diploma Exam in February 2006 and is one of only 169 Master Sommeliers worldwide. Doug is also a Certified Wine Educator (CWE) through the Society of Wine Educators. Doug has been a mentor to me throughout my wine career; in fact he was the first master I met when I checked in to take my first test in Aspen in 2008.
What’s the best-value region today?
Southern Italy Josh started his career in Hospitality while working at restaurants in Colorado and Massachusetts and pursuing his degree in Business Administration from Western State Colorado University in Gunnison, CO. Josh realized that he enjoyed being in the restaurant atmosphere and valued the opportunity to meet new guests and work with great teams. Upon returning from Massachusetts, Josh began his career at the Broadmoor Hotel in the Penrose Room and was a part of the first and only five star, five diamond restaurant in Colorado. Josh recognized and appreciated the level of expertise and professionalism of the Sommeliers he learned from such as Tim Baldwin and Michael Buckelew thus enabling him to find his niche in the business by combining his interest and passion for wine and sharing the excitement with the guests he meets each night. Josh enjoys an ongoing education of wine, spirits and food and most of all spending time with his fiancée, Simone, and son, Jehan Paul.