Q&A With American Sommelier Association's Andrew Bell

Every other year, sommeliers and hospitality industry professionals from around the United States gather in New York City to compete for the coveted title of "Best Sommelier in America" in a competition organized by the American Sommelier Association. Andrew Bell, Co-founder and President of the American Sommelier Association, took some time out of his busy pre-competition schedule to discuss wine, the sommelier profession and, of course, the Best Sommelier in America 2011 competition with IntoWine.com. Tell me about the Best Sommelier in America 2011 competition. What happens during this two-day competition? The Best Sommelier in America competition is a biannual event, somewhat of a "muscle exercise" that began in 1998. On Day One, the competitors are tested at an absurd level of knowledge about current affairs, wine laws and historical questions. They are tested on the proper technique for presenting, offering, preparing and serving wines. Then the competition moves on to "What's in the glass?" with blind tasting of wines. Next, they are served a spirit in a black glass and have one minute to identify it by aroma only.

Anatomy of a Well-Rounded Dessert Wine Menu

A perfectly-balanced dessert wine menu does not just happen: much thoughtfulness and love goes into it before its vibrant siren song emerges at your table, beckoning you to sample a naughty sip. I had the good fortune to sit down with Andrew Bresnik, Wine Director of Bricco della Regina Anna and learn how a well-rounded dessert wine menu is born and how you can work your way through it. Bricco is a delightful neighborhood wine bar and bistro tucked

CAV Wine Bar Director/Owner Pamela Busch Talks Wine & Mets Baseball

San Francisco may be home to more wine enthusiasts than any other city in the U.S.. Stop in nearly any San Francisco wine bar and you are likely to find an outstanding wine list, a knowledgeable staff, and a clientele that knows its wine. CAV Wine Bar is one of the most unique wine bars in San Francisco as it focuses -not strictly on the obvious California wines up the road in Napa and Sonoma- but on wines from all over the globe. Nestled conveniently next door to Zuni (a beacon for San Francisco foodies), CAV is both central to locals and easily navigable for tourists seeking a real California wine bar experience (Market Street, where CAV resides, is San Francisco's main artery). IntoWine recently had the pleasure of talking wine and Mets baseball with CAV Co-Owner and Wine Director Pamela Busch.

David Carreon’s Wine Passion

“I love talking about wine,” says David Carreon, the new sommelier at Wild Salmon, a novel restaurant opening in New York this spring that will feature Pacific Northwest food and wines. Carreon’s love affair with wine drew notice from Jeffrey Chodorow, whose company owns restaurants not only in New York but Las Vegas, LA, Miami, and even London and Mexico City, while Carreon was the Wine Director at Ray’s Boathouse. Ray’s, a seafood restaurant that has become one of the destination spots in the Pacific Northwest, has garnered a reputation as a wine trendsetter, earning the respect of regional vintners and customers alike.

Top Wine/Food Pairing Restaurants in the Napa Valley

CHEFS AND SOMMELIERS REVEAL THEIR FAVORITE PAIRINGS Enthusiasm radiates from their lips, as some of the most innovative chefs and sommeliers in the Napa Valley describe their most smashing wine/food pairings, whether recently concocted, or so reliable that they have become a permanent fixture on their tasting menus. Seasoned restaurant professionals not only uncover their wonderful wine and food combinations, but also explain a bit of the process behind their achievements.