Title: Wine director, general manager and certified sommelier for Rollers Wine & Spirits and Wine & Cheese, If You Please?
Q: Best wine (or wines) under $20:
Any wine you like for $19.99 or less!
A few of my favorites these days are:
- Chateau Famaey Malbec, Cahors, France 2011
- Jean-Paul Daumen’s Principaute Dórange Rhone, France 2013
- Château Revelette’s Aix en Provence Rose, France 2015
- Botani Sparkling Muscat by Jorge Ordonez & Co.
Q: Favorite wine for daytime drinking:
A: Day drinking should certainly be a somewhat regular and civilized thing. I think often times, maybe because we’re in the South, or maybe because an over-achiever overdid it, it is frowned upon. I think there is no better a way to get through lunch with your mother-in-law, or therapy with a friend, than daytime drinking. There's nothing more freeing than playing "European" for the day, so let your armpit hair grow out, eat lunch in sunglasses, and have a bottle, or even two! Because of its low alcohol content, a nice dry Riesling from Alsace, Germany, or Australia can help you keep things under control, if you have a serious fear of day drinking getting out of hand. A couple of my favorites are: Chateau Tanunda dry Riesling out of Barossa, Australia, is a delightful pick, or Joseph Cattin Riesling from Alsace, France.
Q: A good wine to enjoy with a salad:
A: Pairing a wine with salad can often be tricky, not because of what's in the salad, but because of what's in the dressing. So if you happen to be whipping something up at home, try using the same wine you’re drinking, (whether white, rosé or red) in your dressing, and viola! You shouldn't have to feel torn between tossing your salad and tossing back your wine.
Q: Favorite wines for sangria:
A: I took our wine staff to a warehouse tasting in Charleston and tried the Vina Cartin Albariño from Rias Biaxas ($14.99) and we all gushed over what a great value wine it was, and what a fantastic white sangria it would make.
Q: Favorite region at the moment:
A: I am a big believer in having your cake and eating it, too. With that being said, I cannot pick one. Here are my sure-fire winners:
- Most any white burgundy, this is Chardonnay from France.
- There is a reason “rosé” rhymes with “play,” and Provence rosés are my favorite.
- The relationships my staff and I have with winemakers and vineyard owners from Oregon, Napa Valley and Sonoma cannot be surpassed. These people, many who are farmers, are the salt of the earth, and their wines, often the juice at my table. I still don’t think consumers understand that most of these wineries are not only organically or sustainably farmed, but also family owned and operated for generations.
Q: How did you get to where you are?
A: I hate to sound cliché, but persistence, hard work and going above the call of duty make all the difference — but it can’t make that difference if you aren’t enabled in a positive sense and supported by your boss or employer. My mother gave me confidence and taught me to believe in myself and to take pride in doing any job with a great attitude, and my dad taught me to be a little bit of a workaholic, so that was probably a good combo. Having some really great mentors and bosses along the way, like Kelsey, Marilyn Crawford, Chris Locascio, Bee Schleve, Adam Ghali, Heather Fenton and Chris Widnell, who all supported and pushed me and believed in my talents, I would be nowhere without these people. In addition, I never had any clue what I was going to be “great at in life.” I found out along the way, and after being everything from a housekeeper to a wallpaper hanger, a personal trainer, a special event manager, and a restaurant manager, and I even taught pre-school for a year.
Q: Best wine-shopping advice:
A: Shop small, keep it local, and buy from an educated source. Ladies, please put the same care and selection into choosing wines as you do everything else you put in your mouth or on your skin. Support wineries and estates that are organic, biodynamic and practice sustainable farming, and you will end up with a lot fewer headaches that can come from cheap, chemically manipulated wines that are often found in big-box stores and large grocers. Ask yourself, "When I am buying wine, does my wine advice come from someone who has a personal relationship for years with the winemaker or producer? Do they truly study wine, visit the wine regions, know how the wine is made, and taste wine on a daily basis?” At Wine & Cheese, If You Please? and Rollers, we put the six wine buyers on our wine team through weekly wine education, tasting classes and enrichment trips, while each of us are studying with the Court of Master Sommeliers. We strive every day to be the best "retail sommeliers" we can be, and are enjoying the journey every step of the way.