Candlelight flickers. Pandora has read your mind and is playing Miles Davis. The appetizers smell divine. But something is missing…. Of course, where is the wine? Many would argue that no dining experience is complete without wine, but how do we dig through the millions of bottles, hundreds of wine regions, and what seems like an infinity of different grapes?
We’ve all heard the saying, “Write what you know.” Sounds logical, but kind of dull. How about writing about something we want to know more about. A little wine knowledge just lets us realize how much more there is to learn. With that in mind, Dishing has asked me to take over the column “Wining” and help us all expand our horizons.
I don’t have any formal wine training and am not a sommelier, but hopefully I can use that to my strengths. I aim to make wine fun and accessible, an important part of a meal or experience, without causing intimidation or condescension.
I have spent the last 15 years in the restaurant world, most recently at Fine Dining’s newest endeavor, Bin22. By combining a wine store with a small plate restaurant and wine bar, Bin22 encourages a variety of tasting combinations without a big commitment. Enjoy a small pour of wine to prime your palate while you shop for a wine to take home. Or try a tasting tour of French wines and see how they compare with different dishes.
I consider my job to act as a tour guide for a customer, whether it is explaining a wine, a menu, or our beautiful valley. Every diner wants to understand what they are ordering and why it will make their meal more enjoyable.
To me, enjoying wine has one golden rule: Drink what tastes good. Trust your palate, but don’t let your taste buds hide in their comfort zones, either. Try pushing your wine limits the same way we, in Jackson, push our physical limits. Think of trying different wines and food combinations like skiing a new part of the mountain with people who might be stronger and faster than you. The unfamiliar may feel a bit uncomfortable, but you don’t want to miss out on an experience.
I believe we should be able to enjoy wine without heavy rules set in stone; however, there is a reason people don’t kayak on Teton Pass, and if they do, hopefully they have very good health insurance. By following some basic guidelines and understanding different wine regions, we can learn how to experiment in cost-effective, delicious ways.
I hope this column can help open a dialogue, where I can hear feedback and questions and areas of interest from you as well. Send me comments or stop by Bin22 and chat in person. Let’s raise a glass to a new culinary adventure. Cin-Cin!
Dishing is excited to welcome Rona Ferguson to our team of columnists. Let her know if there are wines you want to learn more about!