Tim Gaiser on Submodalities and Tasting

Tim Gaiser

Photo courtesy Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta

Tim Gaiser is one of the world’s top wine experts and educators. One of only 219 people in the world ever to achieve the title Master Sommelier, he is the former Director of Education and Education Chair for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. Tim is also an adjunct professor at the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. In the course of his more than 25-year career, he’s taught thousands of students at all levels about wine and spirits. Tim is one of the most influential teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He was a great resource for me when I was studying for the Certified Sommelier Exam, particularly when it came to advice on how to become a better blind taster. The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is proud to host Tim each year for the week’s events, including the highly anticipated Guest Chef Luncheon and Master Sommelier Throw-down as well as various wine seminars. Continue reading

A New Accent at the Anasazi

Is there anything new to say about an old city? A city already different? A mañana town that bends you to its will then leaves you to its ever-scented burg whose mountain overlords assert that 400 years is not so very old?  Well, yes. In Santa Fe, where traditional nourishes creativity in the same way old soil renews fresh growth, we’ve embraced two recent Argentine imports: Malbec, a phenomenally popular wine with plush, dark-berried mocha flavor and Chef Juan Jose Bochenski, the cosmopolitan, self-assured executive chef at the Anasazi Restaurant. Malbec and Bochenski have more in common than Argentina. Both transplants have succeeded here in Santa Fe. Continue reading

Sommelier’s Notebook

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.37.22 PMWhether you’ve got a cellar full of Burgundy or just a couple bottles stashed in the fridge, anyone can appreciate a good value when it comes to wine. Sometimes all you need is a bottle to wash down your green chile cheeseburger, but it’s getting harder to find inexpensive wines from regions like the Napa Valley. As a young sommelier, I am often asked by friends and family members on budgets what to buy. The trick to finding delicious well-priced wines is to move away from the big-name regions like Napa and start exploring lesser-known regions and their unique grape varietals. Sicily, southern Spain, Austria and Germany are just a few of the places I’ve been finding amazing deals. I’ve chosen wines that average in price from about $10 to $20 in a retail shop; they cost more on a restaurant wine list.

Italy is famous for its Chianti Classico and Barolo, but some of my favorite wines come from farther south, on the island of Sicily. Originally known for its marsala wines (which were only rebranded as “cooking wine” in the 20th century), the island is home to many indigenous varietals that thrive in its warm, dry climate. Grapes like Frappato, Nerello Mascalese and Nero d’Avola produce light red wines with plenty of bright red fruits and juicy acidity. Because of their freshness and light tannin, these are ideal wines to pair with almost any food. I was thrilled to discover Tenuta Delle Terre Nere’s Etna Rosso, made from organically farmed Nerello Mascalese grapes grown in the volcanic soils on the slopes of Mt. Etna. The light-colored wine (grapes are macerated only until fermentation is complete) is beautifully aromatic, full of strawberry, raspberry and cherry candy with an earthy undercurrent. I can’t think of a better wine for pasta and fresh cheeses.

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One Stop Mecca

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.53.41 PMIt doesn’t have a menu. It doesn’t have a freezer. A microwave? Nope. Bouche doesn’t have a lot of things you find in most restaurants. The staff on any given night consists of one chef and one server. It’s a modest six-table restaurant across the street from a mall, located in the heart of a row of chain restaurants on the west side of Albuquerque at the end of Coors. But Bouche is actually something quite different from the conglomerates surrounding it. This independent eatery is situated in the core of a small building that houses four locally owned businesses, all surviving in extraordinary symbiosis—a special relationship where each supports the others in a quest to provide guests with a distinctive experience. The group comprises two full-service salons, a wine-tasting shop and a restaurant. A resort experience with no travel or overnight stay required. Continue reading

L’Olivier

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.29.44 PMLocation, location, location! It refers to where your business is physically located and determines (in part) whether or not you can be successful there. For Chef Xavier Grenet, of the recently opened L’Olivier, a new location on Galisteo, a new menu and a new companion at the front of the house have boosted his already flourishing career. After I enjoyed a delicious dinner in a packed dining room just weeks after the downtown eatery opened, I was excited to meet with Xavier and his delightful wife, Nathalie, to see how they were faring after making the transition from Ristra to the new restaurant. Continue reading