Introducing our Resident Wino, wine master, Derek Lewis of Taggia inside Kimpton’s FireSky Resort & Spa in Scottsdale. Growing up, Derek had a mother who was a great cook and a father who was a wine collector, the combination of which fueled his passion to enter the wining and dining business in 1997 – where he’s been ever since. This month, Derek’s spills it on keeping your bottles in balance.
It’s a New Year… Many of us will drink to that, and already have. We could also raise a glass to what’s actually in the glass – wine. One of the many great things about wine is that there are many occasions to enjoy it. While some of us have known this, some are now discovering it. Oenophiles are toasting everything from just a good day at work to their most important lifetime achievements; meanwhile, neophytes are learning that running to the store every time they want a glass of wine is tedious and time consuming.
To ensure all are prepared to fete any given feat, it’s best to keep a balance of bottles on hand. Just as it is essential for health and wellness, balance behooves the collections of longtime and budding connoisseurs alike. While personal taste drives most purchases, the following five suggestions help ensure a fit foundation for both countertop and cellar-kept collections.
Sparkling Wine: Whether it is dry Brut from California or a fruity Prosecco from Italy, bubbly has become synonymous with celebration. It doesn’t have to be crazy expensive unless you really like your bubbles. In fact, often times something more “middle of the road” means you will be more likely to pop it than hold onto it – and it won’t wound you if you opt to use it for mimosas with a late weekend breakfast. You can also go the half-bottle route as well and serve it as an aperitif.
Easy Drinking White: It’s good to have a nice crisp, clean white on hand because it’s great with or without food, lending well to relishing a sunset on the patio or coupling with salads and appetizers. These wines are light and refreshing, and won’t overpower your palate. A traditional varietal that fits
this bill is Pinot Grigio. Other fun options are Torrontés from Argentina, a Gavi di Gavi from Italy or a Vinho Verde from Portugal.
Pinot Noir: Pinot noir is one of the most versatile red wines out there. Generally fruity and not as tannic as some of the other red varietals, it plays well with others and does fine on its own. Pinot Noirs are usually a little bit lower in alcohol than other reds, too, making it a great mid-week selection. The region where a Pinot Noir is grown has a dramatic influence on the wine’s flavor profiles; so it’s a matter of preference to go with the style you enjoy or try something new.
Exotic Red: The cliché “variety is the spice of life” became a cliché for a reason, and it especially holds true in the wine world. On the whole, consumers’ wine knowledge has increased dramatically in recent years, as has the availability of diverse wines from around the world. Experimenting with new regions and varietals can be great when you are entertaining and want to treat company to a new experience. For example, check out new varietals from Greece and South Africa, or simply look for your favorite grapes that are grown around the globe.
That Special Bottle: It’s always a pleasure to savor that special bottle you’ve been saving for a momentous occasion. That special bottle doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive, but it should hold special meaning for you. Maybe the wine came from a vineyard you toured, was a featured selection at wine-makers dinner you attended, or was served at a restaurant you visited with friends. Wine has a way of bringing back the feelings associated with positive memories, and that special bottle will do that for you be it weeks, months or years later.
Visit Taggia for their daily happy hour with $5 glasses of wine (try before you buy) and half-priced appetizers.
Taggia | 4925 North Scottsdale Road | Scottsdale, AZ 85251 | 480.424.6095