Our Sommelier of the Month for this past March, Rafael Peterson of Born and Raised in San Diego, sat down and answered some questions for us!
Tell us about your restaurant. What is your must-eat dish on the menu and which wine do you recommend with it?
I can go on in depth over the flavors oozing from our dry aged cuts, but a dish and pairing that we have been really excited about is our Uni Pasta (served with freshly made pasta, uni butter, shaved cured egg yolk) paired with a lusciously rich, creamy, however dry and savory Furmint from Tokaji, Hungary. The texture from when leads harmoniously into to other.
What are your favorite food and wine combos? What do you find to be the hardest/easiest to match up?
I love pairings that contrast each other's style heavily, like garlic-creamed escargot with bone marrow paired with an off-dry Riesling (served at Born and Raised); rich, creamy, and heavy vs. floral, semi-sweet and light. There's a pairing for everything, just be open to all options.
Any tips for decanter newbies?
Stay focused on the task at hand, but feel free to initiate small talk with your guest while you are decanting. It takes a bit of pressure away from the decanting service and eases the mood a bit.
Can you recommend one red and one white that you find to be crowd pleasers?
Paso Robles Syrah has all the things someone is looking for in a big rich red: structure, non aggressive tannin, big fruit, round character. Clean, crisp white wines are an easy go-to on a warm day: look for interesting options like Grüner Veltliner from Austria or Vermentino from Corsica to replace the popular Pinot Grigio.
In your opinion, how do Riedel glasses enhance the wine drinking experience? Which is your favorite glass/product?
We take immense pride in the buildout of our dining room, and the timeless and classic feel it portrays. Riedel stemware has always had that classic feel to me, not too flashy while able to set itself apart in even the most astonishing settings. The XL Cabernet Restaurant Series is a perfect vessel for some of the richer styles of thick skin grapes that we serve with our steaks here, allowing for immediate and ample aeration in the glass.
Any big trends that you have been noticing in the wine industry?
There's a big trend revolving around wines that are made naturally, which is a great idea, except that we shouldn't let that term mask what could potentially be flawed winemaking. Find wines that respect the environment that also taste great!