Leslie Sbrocco is aware of wine. She is an award-winning advisor, speaker, creator, and tv host most identified for her entertaining strategy to wine. I met Leslie over 20 years in the past on a Crystal Cruises journey to Alaska when she taught seminars about wine. At the moment she speaks in regards to the wonders of wine and methods to pair this scrumptious beverage with meals. You’ll be able to watch Leslie on outstanding discuss exhibits, considered one of her 4 TV exhibits, inside lecture rooms, or at digital tasting occasions.
Whereas visiting my hometown of Petaluma, California, I met up with Leslie for an informal interview. She takes the worry and ritual out of wine and wine pairings; she makes wine approachable and enjoyable.
You converse with authority about wine. How do you make it approachable to everybody?
I encourage folks to combine wine into their on a regular basis life. I don’t put wine on a pedestal. Having made wine and brought winemaking programs at UC Davis, I perceive the technicality of creating it. Producing good wine may be very troublesome, however I’ve made it. I’ve additionally made awful wine.
A very long time in the past I used to be decided to grow to be a wine decide. To grow to be proficient, I wanted to be taught all the pieces I might about wine, together with figuring out and comprehending the technical items, the delicate nuances, and the enjoyable components. If you will be a specialist in one thing, it is advisable to perceive each side and be capable of current it to folks in a manner that they’ll relate to their lives.
Why do you’re keen on what you do?
I really like all the pieces about wine, the tales, the folks concerned, and the function wine performs in cultures world wide. I really like to write down in regards to the folks behind the wine. I educate courses and do digital tastings that assist folks uncover why they like this or don’t like that, nevertheless it’s as much as them to determine it out.
You might have made fairly a reputation for your self. What prompted your TV exhibits?
Years in the past I requested myself methods to mix my love of meals and wine. I wrote an article about wine for a neighborhood newspaper and constructed my profession from there. The web acquired concerned, and considered one of my wine-loving contacts at Microsoft employed me to be the wine producer of “Sidewalk,” Microsoft Company’s try to create a gaggle of complete internet portals oriented towards particular cities, principally a metropolis information.
After Sidewalk, I constructed a wine web site for the native paper, the Press Democrat. The paper’s father or mother firm was the New York Occasions, and so they requested me to create a wine web site for them. I labored onerous to construct a community of individuals and wrote my first e-book, Wine for Ladies. After the e-book was revealed, talking engagements adopted. Later, I circled again to TV, did CBS Wine Minute, and the At the moment Present invited me on due to my e-book. I work onerous and go for what I feel will make me comfortable.
What’s your favourite wine?
I normally say the wine in my glass, however that isn’t true. It’s all the time Champagne. Glowing wines could be a basic class, however rosé Champagne is my favourite. I additionally get pleasure from nice world-class glowing wines as a result of they go along with all the pieces.
Are you able to advocate any thrilling new wine locations?
When contemplating wine in Italy, folks sometimes consider Tuscany, Umbria, and even lesser-known locations like Prosecco. Nonetheless, Sicily is without doubt one of the prettiest locations to attempt Italian wine, and it’s an undiscovered treasure with fabulous wines. I’d not say it’s new, however I fell in love with Sicily a couple of years in the past earlier than the pandemic.
What’s your philosophy on wine and meals?
Drink what you want and eat what you need. Name it a day and luxuriate in. But when I have to take a look at the instruments I take advantage of after I pair meals and wine, I contemplate the sauces and the spices. I ask myself what the type of the wine is. You need the 2 to bop collectively and never wrestle with one another. Pairing a light-weight, delicate wine with an enormous, sturdy dish is tough. Hold them extra comparable in type however use the complement or distinction philosophy if they aren’t.
What are your favourite Tuesday evening, Saturday evening, and special day wines?
I really like rosé, however I’m an equal alternative pinot noir drinker and recognize all types. I really like the lighter and leaner ones but in addition get pleasure from a couple of larger ones like these from the Santa Rita Hills space. These are my favorites: a rosé with Greek rooster and hummus on Tuesday evening; Saturday evening bubbles with something and all the pieces; and for a special day, a sturdy 10-year-old Napa cabernet sauvignon or an outdated Bordeaux with an enormous steak. I additionally love Chilean cabernet sauvignon.
Do you will have a favourite pairing?
Potato chips and Champagne, or you possibly can change the chips for popcorn. It’s enjoyable to attempt a tasting I did on the At the moment Present with bowls of popcorn topped with numerous issues like flavored salts, chili powder, olive oil, or truffle oil. Something salty with bubbles is superb.
The place have you ever had your most memorable pairing?
I used to be in San Francisco 15 years in the past at one of many eating places on my present. It’s not there, however I sat on the bar and had a Kabinett-style (produced from absolutely ripe grapes) German riesling. I imagine it was a Fritz Hagg, a drier-style Riesling with only a whisper of sweetness. The wine arrived with a grilled onion and radicchio salad topped with blue cheese and a easy French dressing. The excessive acid within the wine and the excessive acid within the French dressing complemented each other. The radicchio’s bitterness and the smokiness from grilling the greens didn’t overpower the wine. I bear in mind considering, “Oh, my gosh.” This pairing has caught in my thoughts ever since.
If somebody needed to start accumulating wine, what steps would you advocate? It’s a must to style and check out it. Collectible means many issues: are you holding them for 20 years, are you constructing a world-class cellar, or are you simply placing bottles away to place a few years on them to get pleasure from later? Mess around, purchase two or three bottles, and open them on totally different dates. Style every over a 12 months or maintain every for a 12 months and see what it’s like. Look ahead to the evolution over time. Begin with 4 or 5 classes and spend money on a couple of totally different types of cabernets and chardonnays. For those who like candy wines, buy a sauternes or late-harvest California wine. Purchase a couple of bottles of every and check out them over time to construct your assortment. Lastly, purchase a Coravin.