Wines, like people, are particular. Drinking them depends on one’s mood, on the place, the time, even the company. So, just for fun – and because it’s National Drink Wine Day – we turned to Master Sommelier Brian McClintic of Les Marchands Wine Bar and Merchant in Santa Barbara and asked him to think outside the box.
McClintic was more than game, rising to the challenge like the truly passionate wine geek that he is. Les Marchands, where he spends most of his time, was named “Wine Bar of the Year” by Imbibe and McClintic was one of four sommeliers featured in the film SOMM, which followed him as he strived to achieve the honor of Master Sommelier.
Chilled pitched some very general, perhaps tongue-in-cheek “personality type” questions and McClintic hit the ball out of the park. Below, our questions and his answers.
Chilled: If you dream of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – enduring the physical duress, only to triumph on the mountain top, your wine is…
Brian McClintic: Triumph hath no better companion than Champagne. Bubbles, rising in a glass…what could be a better vinous metaphor for scaling a summit?
- For a hill in your neighborhood – Casa Costa Piane Prosecco NV
- For the north face of K2 – 2004 Pierre Peters ‘Les Chetillons’ Blanc des Blancs
Chilled: Forget frozen peaks. If you would rather enjoy spending the day lying in a fresh, green meadow, gazing at a blue sky full of fluffy clouds, your wine is…
McClintic: Rosé alert. I assume if you’re lying in a green meadow you’re not alone, but hey, I’m not judging. It doesn’t get any more crisp and refreshing than a fine rosé. Here’s one from home and across the pond:
- 2013 Vallin Rosé Santa Ynez Valley
- 2013 Domaine Abbatucci Faustine Rosé Corsica
Chilled: If a walk through the redwoods — the scent of pine and clean air – sounds like a refreshing way to pass the time, your wine is…
McClintic: Redwoods…powerful, monolithic…reek of wood and greenness. It’s Cabernet time. From one of Washington’s finest to down in my backyard, here are couple of favorites.
- 2010 Andrew Will Sorella Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills
- 2012 Notary Public Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Ynez Valley
Chilled: No dark woods for you. The call of the seaside and the scent of ocean air are more your style. Give this wine a try…
McClintic: Some people put their ear up to a shell and hear the ocean. I hear Chablis. Chablis is un-oaked Chardonnay at its finest. The limestone soils there are riddled with ancient fossilized sea creatures and the wines at their best have oyster shell and briny character to them. This was Hemingway’s go-to pairing with oysters (he also liked to pair rum with rum).
- 2013 Christophe ‘Fourchaume’ Chablis 1er cru
- 2013 Louis Michel ‘Butteaux’ Chablis 1er cru
Chilled: Thinking about dinner in the Eiffel Tower, gazing out across the Parisian cityscape? Then your wine is…
McClintic: Let’s go Italian. Not the obvious choice but I love keeping the French on their toes– especially the Parisians. Nebbiolo is one of the finest red grapes on earth and will handle a range of different fatty meat choices, which, let’s face it, is what you’re going to be eating in Paris.
- 2008 G.B. Burlotto ‘Monvigliero’ Barolo
- 2010 Ettore Germano Langhe Nebbiolo
Chilled: Come clean. You’re the first one to put Burning Man on your calendar – and pack your survival kit. Make sure you pack a few bottles of this in your backpack…
McClintic: For burning man, let’s keep it funky, natural, and…dare I say…herbaceous. Here are two Grenache blends made without the use of sulfur–as natural as it gets.
- 2013 Domaine Gramenon ‘La Sagesse’ Cotes Du Rhone
- 2013 Ojai Vineyard ‘Sebastiano’ Sta. Rita HIlls
Chilled: Is Afternoon Tea – never mind the sandwiches, bring on the sweets – an indulgence you enjoy? Ditch the tea cup and fill your wine glass with…
McClintic: Afternoon in my neck of the woods means beach weather in February. I’m going white and if I’ve got a sweet tooth there’s no better chameleon with food than Riesling.
- If you’re in a lederhosen mood– 2013 Clemens Busch Riesling Spätlese Mosel
- If you’re still in a lederhosen mood– 2012 Knoll Riesling Riesling Smaragd Wachau
Chilled: Or are you more of a caviar and vodka sort? Your wine just might be…
McClintic: Vodka people ain’t sipping. If we’re gonna convert this demographic to wine we need something user friendly. Gamay should be everyone’s friend–it’s light, red, and could easily convince someone to pour into a shot glass. Here are a couple of Gamay Gurus.
- 2013 Lapierre Morgon
- 2013 Dutraive Fleurie
Chilled: Steak and potatoes?
McClintic: Meat and potatoes people…meet Syrah. Syrah is spicy and meaty inherently. This has to happen.
- 2012 Ojai Vineyard ‘Solomon Hills’ Syrah Santa Maria Valley
- 2012 Graillot Crozes Hermitage
Chilled: Or fish and veggies?
McClintic: We know what the playbook has always said. White wine with fish. But grill smiths, if fish is on the menu (especially salmon), that char flavor is intense enough to call out for red. The red needs to be lighter and low in tannin. Enter Pinot Noir:
- 2013 Wenzlau Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir Sta. Rita HIlls
- 2012 Domaine de la Cote Pinot Noir ‘Bloom’s Field’ Sta. Rita Hills