The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 82 of 140

ON-PREMISE PATTER Somm The as Servant B MASTER SOMMELIER BRETT DAVIS BRINGS WINE SAVVY TO BOURBON-CENTRIC LOUISVILLE story and photos by Fred Minnick The French connection: steak frites with a St. Emilion wine at Le Coop Bistro. rett Davis doesn't look or act like the stereotypical stuffy Master Sommelier. When tearing the capsule off a 2005 Clos de Gamot AOC Cahors, Davis's rolled-up sleeves and coiffed hair catch a subtle breeze; he then realizes he's missing something. Davis grabs a napkin and folds it over his arm. "You should always serve with this," he says. That's about as serious as this sommelier and restaurant owner gets. There's no suit and tie with Davis; he's a jeans and button-up shirt kind of guy, with one of the best palates in the whiskey-centric market of Louisville, Kentucky. More importantly, Davis has actually done what many front-of-house workers have only dreamed of—he owns his own restaurants. In partnership with former restaurant execu- tives, Davis has taken the leap from server to sommelier to owner of Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar and La Coop French Bistro. After he became a certified Master Sommelier, Davis realized there was no res- taurant in town that would require his unique talents. He would either have to leave the town he loved for a larger market or open his own concept. "The best advice I could ever give anybody wanting to own their own restaurant: Don't take your family's money or invest your friend's life savings," says Davis, whose career began in Commander's Palace in New Orleans. "Talk to your local government about the next trendy area and don't be afraid to take risks." Davis put his house on the line to help finance Doc Crow's, which is adjacent to downtown 74 / the tasting panel / october 2012

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