The swirling, the tasting, the ceremony: There's an aura of mystery around the job of the sommelier.
In Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals ($32.50), released today, the enigmatic world is cracked open by local wine sage Rajat Parr.
Parr, director of wine for Michael Mina's restaurants, and San Francisco-based writer Jordan Mackay have penned an indispensable tool. Not simply a peek into the mind of Parr and his wine-loving compatriots, the book is full of useful tips: how to read a wine list, the fundamentals of tasting, and glassware recommendations, as well as info on how to clean and store those wineglasses.
For many people, an essential wine book hinges on its pairing advice, and Parr's expertise is on vivid display in Secrets of the Sommeliers.
A simple, acute example: His advice for fish--to consider both the type and the preparation--renders the knee-jerk white-wine pour antiquated. He even assuredly refutes salmon's traditional match of Pinot Noir, opting for either a still or sparkling rosé.
For the carnivore, Parr's reminder to match Old World reds with game breeds excitement: This exceptional book has arrived right in time for autumn cooking and eating.