Our Sommelier of the Month for July 2020 from Canada is Peter Van de Reep, wine director and bar manager of Upstairs @ Campagnolo and Campagnolo Restaurant. Peter has very kindly answered a selection of questions which are below along with her response.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your industry background.
Peter Van de Reep is the wine director and bar manager of Upstairs @ Campagnolo and Campagnolo Restaurant. Peter started with the company in 2012 at Campagnolo Roma after working in the coffee industry and completing studies in Geology at the University of British Columbia. He is a certified sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and is writing his advanced examination later this year. In January 2020, Peter won the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers Top Sommelier of British Columbia competition. He is easily plied with amaro, Champagne and Riesling.
Tell us about your restaurant. What is your must-eat dish on the menu and which wine do you recommend with it?
Upstairs @ Campagnolo is a bar in East Vancouver where good things to eat and drink can be had. It was opened in 2014. The bar has been the recipient of multiple Vancouver Magazine Restaurant awards and has been featured in Bon Appetit, Wine & Spirits, Ricardo and Scout Magazine among many others. The bar has been awarded in the top three bars of Vancouver by Vancouver Magazine for the past three years.
We are perhaps best known for the Dirty Burger, a classic cheeseburger using locally raised 45 day dry aged beef. It currently pairs very well with a glass of Natte Valleij Cinsault 2017 from South Africa.
What are your favorite food and wine combos? What do you find to be the hardest/easiest to match up?
Champagne and French Fries are hard to beat. Dry aged ribeye steaks and mature Barolo. The classic Chateau Chalon and Comte cheese pairing is always riveting (and I don’t get to drink it nearly often enough). I had a Roquefort cheesecake once that screamed for Auslese Riesling – true perfection.
The hardest I find are particularly spicy foods, or food that has a large amount of spices. It’s easy to fall back on Kabinett Riesling or some of the Riesling produced in British Columbia but not everyone enjoys that beautiful balance of freshness and sugar that helps with spice. Muscat, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Gris and Alvarinho can all be useful here too though.
Salads are also tough to pair with due to the level of acidity in the dressings. I often prefer sparkling wines in these cases. The carbonation helps with cleansing the palate of the dressing and the wine might have a bit of dosage that can balance the acidity of the dish.
Red meat is easy. Any full red often suffices. You just have to be careful with the sauces on the dish. Peppercorns? Look to the Northern Rhone. Sauce Bordelaise? Well, that obviously requires Bordeaux… maybe a Pomerol. Just salt and pepper? You’ll find me going with Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello or Chianti Classico.
Any tips for decanter newbies?
Decanters are very useful tools. Don’t be afraid to use one! Handle them with care and make sure to rinse and clean them as soon as you’re done with them.
Can you recommend one red and one white that you find to be crowd pleasers?
I’ve had great success with Verdicchio di Matellica from Collestefano in Marche, Italy. I think I’ve poured every vintage since 2014. Like Pinot Grigio? Like Sauvignon Blanc? Like Riesling? You won’t be disappointed with this herbaceous, bright, fresh and nuanced white. Outstanding.
For red, I love to pour Orofino Wild Ferment Syrah 2018, from the nearby to Vancouver Similkameen Valley. It’s a fuller bodied red made with great attention to detail. I feel like this wine shows the future of red wine in British Columbia.
Do you have a favorite RIEDEL glass or decanter, and what reaction do you get from customers when you serve their wines in the different varietal specific glasses?
The Eve decanter is a mindblowing piece of glass. The engineering and precision in the piece makes it a prime example of functional art. For glassware, the RIEDEL Performance Pinot Noir Glasses are stellar.
Guests seem to be more accustomed to different glasses now for wine. The expressiveness of aromas in a Pinot Noir/Nebbiolo glass is particularly loved by our guests drinking Barolo.
In your opinion, how do RIEDEL glasses and/or decanters enhance the wine drinking experience? Which is your favorite glass/product?
Quality glassware for all of my drinking needs has been a key requirement for me since I started drinking. My first glassware purchase ever was a RIEDEL VSOP Cognac glass when I was 20! The elegance and delicacy of Riedel glassware allows you, as the drinker, to get closer to the true essence of the wine. The aromas and flavor can be delivered so much more effectively. It’s very hard to narrow the products down. For glassware, the RIEDEL Performance Pinot Noir, although the RIEDEL Superleggero series are insanely beautiful. I also love the new Drink Specific Neat and Nick & Nora glasses for the cocktail bar. They are the best new cocktail specific glasses I’ve seen.
Any big trends that you have been noticing in the wine industry?
Though often debated, Natural Wine is here to stay. Consumers are much more interested in what is really in their wine. They also seem to be much more open to trying new varieties and origins for wine. Years ago, Gaglioppo, Schiava and Friulian skin fermented orange wines would have been hard sells. Though still not the easiest, they have their fans now!
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