The SOMM Journal

February/March 2015

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24 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015 { real somm stories } "UNBEKNOWNST TO ME, IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST restaurants in Boston," says Emily Larkins on her decision, about four and a half years ago, to apply at Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts. "I was just looking for work." Educated in art history and business, the Boston native had traveled for several years after college before returning to the city. While deciding on her next step, Larkins tried Craigie on Main in part, she admits, because it would make for an easy commute. The nearby restaurant, as it turns out, is consistently recognized for both its cuisine and wine, and regularly appears on local and national "best of " lists for Boston's celebrated dining scene. Larkins was first hired as a back-waiter before hosting and, about two years ago, becoming a front server. That's also when her appreciation for wine developed into an enthusiasm that soon absorbed her curiosity and imagination. Today, Larkins is still serving and, having passed the Certified Sommelier exam, she's Wine Director for Craigie on Main and its Somerville sister property, Kirkland Tap & Trotter. At Craigie on Main, Larkins's wine list is definitively Old World, going in-depth in several European regions to complement the seasonal, ingredient-driven cuisine of owner Chef Tony Maws. "He cooks the food that he loves and he has many culinary influences," Larkins explains. "The food can be rich, with lots of animal fats. I need wines that are refreshing, both red and white, so acidity is one of the most important things I look for." Demonstrating the point, her list contains Julian Haart's 2013 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling from Germany's Mosel region. "His Rieslings taste so bright and full of energy. There's definitely some residual sugar, but they drink so crisp," Larkins says. With a background in art history, however, it's not surpris- ing that she seeks wines for their stories as much as for their expressions. For example, she admires Haart's pedigree (he's worked with Klaus Peter Keller, Werner Schönleber and other German winemaking luminaries); with an extremely limited number of cases distributed in the U.S., his wines also come with an appealing "exclusive" quality for her guests. "It's one thing to taste wine, appreciate its fruit and its struc- ture in a vacuum. But on the floor, how you present it can mean so much more for the customer," Larkins says. "Art history is all about telling a story, and what I do with wine is kind of the same thing. Wine is about culture and people and context, and my joy comes from telling the right stories to emotionally connect customers to that bottle of wine." PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAIGIE ON MAIN Emily Larkins WINE DIRECTOR, CRAIGIE ON MAIN, CAMBRIDGE, MA by Anthony Head

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