The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FRED DAME A Conversation with Jeremiah Morehouse Sommelier, SPQR, San Francisco photos by Nikki Ritcher Fred Dame: Jeremiah, we are going to taste a fascinating wine, the Vodopivec Vitovska Classica. The wine is so intriguing and I am trying to imagine food pairings. Jeremiah Morehouse: This wine is from the Friuli-Venezia Giulia IGT region, and Vitovska is an indigenous variety. You mostly see the clean, classic style. With [Vitoska-only producer Paolo] Vodopivec, you see almost an Orange Wine. Fred: I see that, but it seems far fresher and more fruit-driven that most Orange Wine. It is showing lees as well, which must make for some conversation before serving to a customer for the first time. Jeremiah: It's a true testament to old-school winemaking. This property is only three hectares and is totally managed by the owner. You are correct—we explain the wine very well before serving it. Fred: So does this go with Roman cuisine? Jeremiah: I think it does! You know the saying, "When in Rome . . . " Here at SPQR we offer everything by the half glass for trial and the menu changes every day. There's lots of opportunity for pairing. Fred: Hmm, Jeremiah Morehouse. It just doesn't sound Roman. Jeremiah: No, but I'm half Sicilian on my mother's side. I've worked in restaurants for ten years but didn't start drinking wine until college. We always had Sunday night dinner with a bottle of wine. It was a cool topic to discuss. Fred: So, was Italian wine always your fascination? Jeremiah: It was! I worked at the Hindquarter in Santa Cruz, CA. It was all about California wines, and especially local wines. My second job was an Italian restaurant that featured Italian wines and Santa Cruz wines. From there it was just a lot of fun learning all the The Vodopivec Vitovska Classica is aged in large barrels of Slavonian oak for 26 to 30 months. The variety is believed to be a crossing of Prosecco Tondo and Malvasia Bianca Lunga. While it was traditionally used in blends, innovative winemakers are now producing appealing singlevarietal Vitovska wines. Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. Jeremiah Morehouse of SPQR with Fred Dame, MS. way. I loved working there; his training philosophy was "You have a month; learn it or you're fired." Good motivation! Fred: I can imagine. Remember, I worked at The Sardine Factory. But you kept learning. Jeremiah: The more I learned the more I loved it. After learning the fundamentals on Italy, I moved on to Europe and the rest of the world. Fred: I am looking at one of the most eclectic wines list in San Francisco. Or maybe the planet! If you don't know your wine list here, it has to be tough. Jeremiah: That's the reason we do a lot of staff education. The list here is ever-evolving. The wines by the glass change every day. We taste the wines in a staff lineup before going into service. We all have a discussion as to which dishes pair well with which menu items. Fred: You passed your Court of Master Sommelier's Advanced Level this last year, Rudd Scholar no less. You sit your Master Sommelier Examination next year. What's next? Jeremiah: I truly believe that you must never stop progressing. I love the learning, sharing of knowledge and wines and the friendships you develop. The mentorship from Master Sommeliers has been great. Anyone can do the thousand flash cards a day, the multiple weekly tastings, the "pushups and situps" of the preparation. But I can't think of anyone that became a Master Sommelier without the help of others. We're so fortunate now with the resources we have such as The Guild of Sommeliers website. I am really looking to pay it forward. 32  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2013 TP0913_001-33.indd 32 8/22/13 9:17 PM

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