The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 64 of 128

MEET THE SOMM Mark Sadr: "T he world of wine is creative and romantic—an expression of people, place and a time in history . . . how could I not be drawn to it?" Spoken like a true wine connoisseur. Mark Sadr has based the renowned wine program at BLT Steak Los Angeles on these basic principles. Originally working as a waiter at the popular Sunset Strip restaurant, Sadr was approached by the General Manager to take over the position of Wine Director two and a half years ago. "My knowledge of wine was cursory, but I dedicated myself to learn- ing our specific wine list," recalls Sadr. Instead of simply reordering the same wines, Sadr sought to enhance BLT's wine portfolio, leaving his lasting imprint on the now award-winning wine list. More than simply assembling a superior wine list, Sadr strives to give each patron a special and memorable experience, a goal that the Vinturi aerator helps him attain. "I'm constantly using the Vinturi tower to ensure that my guests are experiencing a wine in the best possible state," says Sadr. "Even if I just open a bottle, I can use the aerator to lift the expression of the nose and integrate the tannins, creating a harmo- nious wine experience that complements our cuisine." Not only does the Vinturi enhance his wines, but it also gives customers a chance to find out how the device works, which opens a dialogue about the wine itself, giving Sadr's wine knowledge and love for people a chance to shine. "What makes a sommelier successful isn't the academia of the wine world, but the personal relationships made with guests," says Sadr. "I want every guest to feel special. I may not know everything about Austrian wine, for example, but I know everything about the Austrian wine on our list. I can share who made it, where it's from and the story behind it. These are the things that make the dining experience memo- rable and that make wine special." 64 / the tasting panel / august 2012 Sommelier, BLT Steak, West Hollywood, CA by Megan Wieczorek Mark Sadr. PHOTO: MARK HUDDLESTON

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