Liquid assetsPublished on August 29, 2008

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  • Jacqueline Peter, sommelier at Trattoria Caffe Italia Photo by Mark Holleron

  • Vanessa Emerson, Sommelier at the ByWard Market Keg Steakhouse and host of the online wine show Grape Potential Photo by Mark Holleron

  • Sylvia Taylor, sommelier at domus cafι Photo by Mark Holleron

The prospect of exposing your lack of grape expertise to a sommelier (pronounced SOHM-EL-YAY) can be a frightening experience for a beginner, but Ottawa restaurants have many dedicated and knowledgeable professionals who want to make your meal the most it can be.

Jacqueline Peter - Sommelier at Trattoria Caffe Italia

• Number of bottles you manage? 850 titles; total inventory of more than 5,000 bottles, ranging in price from about $25 to $2,500. Twenty-four are available by the glass ($6.50 to $18) and more will soon be available in our new enomatic machine. • Focus of the restaurant's cellar? A wide range of Italians representing all the different regions; we like to work with smaller producers and have many bottles not found at LCBO. • Years in hospitality industry? Over 20, concentrating on wine for 10 years • Why wine? The evolution of wine and wine consumers over the last decade has really intrigued me - people of all ages and from all backgrounds are enjoying all types of wine. Wine is a lot more fun and accessible now. • Current favourite sipping wine at Trattoria Caffe Italia? Pinot Nero Latinella. Easy drinking, great with or without food. • Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Vina Carmen Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva from Chile. • Your philosophy about wine? Keep an open mind and an open palate. Try different wines with different foods; don't go by the old standards. • Upcoming wine trends? Dry rosés are hot for the summertime. I'm keeping an eye on some of the indigenous grapes from the southern portion of Italy; they are producing bigger wines at great value.

Vanessa Emerson - Sommelier at the ByWard Market Keg Steakhouse and host of the online wine show Grape Potential

• Number of bottles you manage? 50 titles; total inventory of 700 bottles, ranging in price from about $20 to $130; 22 are available in either six- or nine-ounce pours ($6 to $16). • Focus of the restaurant's cellar? A wide range to satisfy every palate with an emphasis on New World wines (Californian, Chilean and Australian). • Years in hospitality industry? 14; concentrating on wine for five years. • Why wine as a career? I had done everything else in the hospitality business so wine was a new facet of the industry to explore; I love that there's so much to learn and things are changing all the time. • Favorite sipping wine at The Keg right now? Antinori Sangiovese Santa Christina. • Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Aveleda Vinho Verde. • Your philosophy about wine? Drink what you love and don't be afraid to try new things. • Upcoming wine trends? Argentina is about to explode, just as Chile has done. I also really love the movement towards socially responsible winemaking, like eco-packaging and charitable tie-ins.

Sylvia Taylor - Sommelier at domus café

• Number of bottles you manage? More than 30 titles; total inventory more than 1,000 bottles, ranging in price from $30 to $180. Eighteen are available by the glass ($6.50 to $12) • Focus of the restaurant's cellar? Vintners' Quality Alliance (VQA) wines from Ontario, with an emphasis on smaller producers not available at the LCBO. • Years in hospitality industry? Over 30, concentrating on wine for 12 years • Why wine? I'd always had an interest and decided to learn more to help showcase Canadian wines at domus. • Favorite sipping wine at domus right now? Huff Estates Pinot Gris 2006. • Off duty, your favourite value wine ($18 or less)? Sparkling wine from Ontario's Thirteenth Street Winery. • Your philosophy about wine? Keep it as local as possible, keep it simple and drink what you like. I have a very laid back approach as wine is meant to be enjoyed. • Upcoming wine trends? Canadian sparkling wines are going to become more popular and available in the years ahead, so I'm watching out for those. Written by Paula Roy




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