Meet, drink & be merry! Allow us to introduce you to Amy Witz, Certified Sommelier, Hyatt Regency Chicago. You may be asking, “what exactly is a Sommelier?” A Sommelier is a wine lovers best friend, Sommeliers are trained and knowledgeable wine professionals who help in all aspects of wine and wine pairing, mainly in a fine dining atmosphere. Sommeliers have a very important job as they also work in conjunction with the restaurants chef, and lucky for us, Amy took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our most burning wine questions…see the Q&A below!
Q: What is the best way for the average person to start dabbling in the world of wine?
A: Tasting and reading. First pick a grape. Taste the same grape from two different regions and compare them. Then research those regions and place them on a map. It is very important to know where the grape originated and which growing regions that variety thrives in.
Q: Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi offers a vast array of wines to pair with seafood and steak. What are some of your favorite pairings that guests can enjoy at the restaurant?
A: One of my favorite items is the Walnut Puff Pastry Tart with roasted pears, goat cheese and citrus, which pairs perfectly with Riesling. I like to enjoy it with Rudi Wiest, “Rhine River”, Rheinhessen, Germany 2012.
Q: What are your tips on how to begin pairing wines with seafood and steak at home?
A: Is it important to know the sweetness of the seafood when pairing it with wine. If crab, scallop, and lobster are on the menu, it is nice to have a med-full bodied white to complement the sweetness as opposed to oysters where a lighter white would complement best. Marbling plays a big factor in a steak’s flavor and therefore is important to note when selecting a wine to pair with a cut of meat. The more marbling the cut has, the bolder the red wine should be.
Q: What is your favorite go-to wine and why?
A: One of my favorite go-to wines is Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara. It is a great pinot noir that I drink regularly. This wine can be found around the city without having to go to a wine shop.
Q: What is your favorite lesser known wine variety and why?
A: Tinta de Toro. Winter is right around the corner and this variety provides big full bodied wines high in tannin from Spain. Numanthia is a great example.