Italian Wine Geek

Drink More Wine. Especially Italian

I’m a Sommelier?

Morelli Bianchello @TerroniYep.  I am finally experiencing how the other half lives.

After years on the “supply side” of the wine business, I have dipped my toes into the wonderful, gut-wrenching, nerve-wracking world of the Sommelier.  It’s been a few weeks now, standing in for a few of the sommeliers at Terroni in Los Angeles, and I have to say- this is much harder than I thought it would be!

Working with a list of over 700 wine labels, mostly obscure Italian varietals, in a restaurant run by a guy who would sooner lose a customer than have his kitchen cut their pizza, is no simple task.  I am shocked, SHOCKED by how many people come in and ask me for a glass of Cabernet.  Or a buttery Chardonnay, you say?  oh. no.Giorgia and Giuseppe

My favorite Sardo @Terroni.

Have a become so out of touch with the every-day consumer that I don’t know how very little I know?  Have I spent so much time around  the 2% of the population who drink Grignolino and Erbaluce and Nerello Mascalese like water that I am blind to the real-world-situation for Italian wine?  These are the trenches.  We are fighting for our lives out here!

Conti Elixir @Terroni

We have some work to do- and trust me, it’s not all self-serving.  The People Need Vino Italiano.  You think you like your Napa Cabernet… but you don’t even know how much you’re going to fall in love with this Aglianico from Basilicata.

I’m coming for you!

11 Comments

  1. Oliver McCrum

    July 3, 2013 at 11:12 am

    OK, that’s funny, Joanie.

  2. Go get them Joanie!

  3. Your blog always leaves me regretting that I can’t drink wine. Oh, the humanity!!! :^)

  4. Giorgos Hadjistylianou

    July 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Joanie, our job has never been easy, in fact no job is “easy”, however we love it!
    How about been in a country where you import Cornelissen, COS, Arianna Occhipinti, soon enough, i Vigneri, and a couple of others producers from the area, Pedralonga, Escoda-Sanahuja, Laureano Serres, not to mention have 6 producers from Santorini with vintages as back as 1989, and people ask you for “lolly pop” wines (no names mentioned). I just will never place these wines and what about if they tell you, some of them they will not come back if you don’t place them on your wine list.
    Well I don’t kiss azzzz. That’s their choice and if they don’t like our wine selection….. there are many restaurants in town to go to.
    NO OAK NO FRUIT BOMBS NO PARKER-IZATION!
    IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NATURAL, BIODINAMIC, ORGANIC WINES FOR US IT’S ALL ABOUT HUMANITY WINES (or as Salvo Foti of i Vigneri called them) for me these are wines that they reflect on the personality of the person that is produces them, each time I taste them and when I meet that person I see him/her…. each and every time
    Wish you the best! Life is not meant to be easy, otherwise it would’t be FUN

  5. Good luck with your (needed) revolution then… it’s gonna be a challenge! Bring them to the dark (italian) side! ;-)

  6. Good luck with your revolution then, bring them to the dark (italian) side ;-)

  7. Keep fighting the good fight – the people need to realise what they’re missing out on!!

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