From studying wines around the world to his current role as Wine Director at St. Regis, it’s safe to say Mark Moulton, a certiﬁed Sommelier through the Court of the Masters, knows a lot about wine.
The question everyone wants to ask a Sommelier—how do you select the perfect wine?
The perfect wine needs to meet the occasion, so what are you eating, what are you remembering or celebrating? When pairing wine and food, always avoid sharp contrasts such as heavy food with lighter wines and vice versa.
What else should a Sommelier consider when pairing wine?
Wine should evoke past experiences. Taste and smell are closely tied to memory so asking questions like what do you like to drink, where do you like to travel and of course what will you be ordering from the menu. The more we know about our guests the better we can deliver a bespoke experience.
What is more important, a guest’s personal taste or the restaurant’s cuisine?
I always defer to the taste of the guest, find out what they like and why, and then make food recommendations based on that.
What do you love most about being a Sommelier?
I love the study of culture, language, history, food and geography. I love learning about growers, farmers and winemakers. I have a deep respect for vineyard owners and producers and their grit and resolve from vintage to vintage.
Besides taste, what do you love most about wine?
Each wine tells a story and has a unique sense of place. I love making sense and dissecting this sense of place analyzing wine regions, soil types, climate and geology.
Chris Bender of Paul Wyatt Wine Racks has continued Paul Wyatt’s pioneering legacy of crafting stunning wine racks for proper long term storage. After learning how to pair wines with food, we ask Chris how to properly store wine.
What is the most important feature a wine collector should look for when selecting the perfect wine rack?
When storing wine, you must make sure there is enough airflow around each individual bottle to ensure that the wine is going to mature properly. Solid plywood, diamond bins and stacking bottles on top of each other, are things you want to avoid, especially for long term storage.
How does the design of a wine rack affect the taste of a wine?
It doesn’t necessarily affect the taste of the wine but rather your wine’s shelf life. If you stored a bottle of wine in your pantry, it would last at best three years. If stored properly, red wine could last up to 100 years.
You have been building beautiful wine racks for individual clients and large scale wine sellers like Stein Eriksen for the past 17 years. What does your personal wine rack look like?
(Laughing) It’s pretty modest, unfortunately. I drink my wine too fast to keep it!