Monday, April 26, 2010

Wine & Friends

Last night I had the pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend of mine from the Guild (the Sommelier education program I attended). Though he lives only and hour south in the metro we find it difficult to connect with our busy schedules. He was able to break away from work and his significant other for the evening and join me at my house for wine and laughter.

When we get together we are total wine geeks; name dropping, over analyzing, big glass using wine geeks. My friend is by far the most well educated wine colleague I have. From every Cru in Burgundy to every great vintage from Champagne he is a walking wine encyclopedia. He spends a lot of time listening and tasting to perfect his mind and palate. I don't mean to toot my own horn but I am no slouch with wine information myself, but it's funny how quickly I realize I am not the smartest guy in the room. When I am with him I ask question after question, soil types, micro-climates, vintages, you name it, I just keep asking.

After a few bottles of wine and plenty of conversation we decided it was time to hit the hay. I laid in bed thinking how fun it is to pick the brain of someone who has a lot of information and how I am constantly approached by people with questions. I would never say it is a burden when people come up to me with questions about wine, but sometimes I just want to sit and enjoy myself. Two weeks ago I was at a benefit and there were two wine baskets being sold in a silent auction. I had a half a dozen people walk up to me looking for tastings notes and a lead on which basket was better value. Don't get me wrong, I love the attention, but that night I just wanted to drink my non-vintage Barefoot Shiraz and be content (dead serious).

But after last night I realized how much fun it is to be able to learn when you are really interested in something, especially when it's extra-curricular. This experience with my friend made me realize that I am so lucky to be able to share with the world my passion and interests. I love to entertain, I love wine and I love to educate people in an approachable, entertaining manner.

I am rejuvenated after my experience last night (although I am a little slow this morning). I realize that I have so much to share, and so much more to learn. I will be the first guy to tell you I don't know everything there is to know about wine. I know a lot and I have fun sharing that with people. So I am excited to educate and entertain the world all the while remembering I too enjoy the occasional brain picking. I guess Peter Parker's Uncle was right, with great power comes great responsibility.

Nicholas Barth
Certified Sommelier
Wine Director

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