In INFUSED, a weekly column, Elizabeth J. Musgrave connects spirits, wine, and beer with culinary and creative arts
If you've read either of my columns, Gotta Go or Infused, for any length of time, you'll know I enjoy a glass of vino now and again. (Red in particular.) It's a rare treat to meet a master sommelier, and even more rare to have the opportunity to talk with one. With just 190 in the world, and only 122 from North America, they are considered the best of the best in the oenophile world.
Just such an opportunity occurred for me after stumbling upon Tim Gaiser's DVD Think Like a Genius: Wine Master. With over 25 years of experience, Gaiser is a master sommelier and past Education Chair for the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Translation: he knows his stuff.
Gaiser’s Taste Wine Like a Pro is the newest addition to the Everyday Genius Institute, a series created by behavioral scientist Tim Hallbom that deconstructs an identified genius while at his craft. Streamlining the process is Taryn Voget, CEO and co-founder of Everyday Genius Institute, San Francisco, CA.
For Taste Wine Like a Pro, the Everyday Genius team slowed Gaiser down, checked out his method and got it on tape. It was created to help novices understand what they are actually smelling, tasting, and seeing.
He was kind enough to share some wine tips with me – almost a “Wine Tips: 101” class – for those who want to get started into the fragrant world of wine without appearing foolish.With Gaiser living in San Francisco, the interview with the wine wizard came via telephone. I asked and he answered. Ready?
Infused: Is price an indicator of quality?
Tim Gaiser: No. there are great wines at practically every price point.
I: Name some bare essentials for someone starting out.
TG: Decent glassware, a good beginning wine book, like Karen MacNeil's The Wine Bible, and wine-tasting classes.
I: What is your opinion on which wines to use with cooking?
TG: If it isn't good enough to drink, don't cook with it.
I: What do you recommend for someone who wants to store wine without spending a large amount of money?
TG: Don't. Wine needs to be stored at the correct temperatures. If you cannot store them properly, then buy a few bottles at a time and drink them; don't try to store them.
I: Is the Genius method good for beginners?
TG: Yes. It makes people aware of the process of how they remember what things smell and taste like, their internal process.
I: If there is one thing you would like people to remember about wine, what would it be?
TG: Wine touches everything, ecology, archaeology, history. It's the great connector; it connects people.
Through wine tastings, you can narrow down which types and flavors you prefer. Wineries are a good place to check out some local wines. Remember, however, that wineries offer a specific grouping of wines... their own.
To check out wines from around the world, a wine-tasting class and tastings at wine shops and restaurants help broaden the field. Once you are comfortable with wines, try out a food and wine pairing class or a wine-making class.
Bottom Line: Don't despair if you don't become an expert overnight. There is a wine for everyone, and you can always try, try again.
[Photo Credits: Izzy Evans; Everyday Genius Institute]
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is the editor for GottaGo.us, writing the fine-living syndicated column and syndicated blog, Gotta Go. Published both in print and online at GottaGo.us, AroundIndy.com, and BroadwayWorld.com, Gotta Go offers reviews and recommendations on food and drink, the performing arts, and travel destinations.
Elizabeth is also a freelance writer, photographer, public speaker, and a leading Indianapolis performing arts and restaurant critic. She can be heard on 93 WIBC's Saturday Morning News Show as Indy’s entertainment adviser, and can also be found on Twitter,LinkedIn, and Facebook.