The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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Page 59 of 116

june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  59 W ith years of expertise in the wine profession, Tim Gaiser has accu- mulated quite the resume—Master Sommelier, author, adjunct professor, educator, consultant. How does he begin each day? "I listen to Bach in the morning. Bach is clarity; it grounds you, and, yes, it's beautiful," he shares. Music took hold of Gaiser's heart early in life. "My family always had music play- ing," he remembers. He began playing trumpet in fourth grade and continued that passion through school and into his adult life. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Music History from the University of New Mexico, Gaiser furthered his education with a Master's degree in classical trumpet from the University of Michigan, studying under famed trumpeter Armando Ghitalla. He went on to freelance as a classical trumpeter in the Bay Area until impending parenthood demanded a steady income, leading him back into the restaurant busi- ness and eventually wine. "Trumpet is arguably the most frustrat- ing instrument to play; you have to practice every day," he explains. Music has always remained an integral part of his life. "My memory for music is better than my memory for wine," he smiles. Gaiser approaches both the theory and tasting portions of the Court of Master Sommeliers exams from a more strategic perspective. Although he has worked in many facets of the wine industry, it seems as if his academic and musical background have combined to create a unique outlook in regard to tasting wine. His research shows that we create internal images in order to recall aromas and flavors. He worked with behavioral scientist Tim Hallbom in the early stages of this concept, and he continues to research submodalities* as they apply to olfactory and palate memory. In fact, when I tasted with Gaiser in preparation for my Advanced Exam, he pointed out my personal tasting style— what I did with my hands when listing the correct descriptors as well as the eye position I used when recognizing a key marker in a wine. According to Tim, we create a myriad of images quickly when we smell a glass of wine, images that all play a role in helping us deductively identify it. Gaiser likens the tasting experience to playing in a symphony orchestra. "The experience of being able to hold multiple bits of sensory information in our field of awareness that we find in a glass of wine is not unlike sitting in an orchestra and focusing on the conductor as well as all the other musicians around you while adjust- ing the intonation and timbre of your own sound from moment to moment." As one of the best educators in the wine business, Gaiser has managed to draw upon his musical training and love of music to shape his later chosen profession as a Master Sommelier. He has in turn helped many people, both in and out of the wine industry, learn how to taste and appreciate wine in a novel way. Painting. There are too many great artists from too many periods to choose one, but Botticelli, van Gogh and Klimt are favorites. Name a song that has made you cry. "In My Life" by The Beatles. Which song would be your "walk up to the plate song" if you were a Major League Baseball player? "Good Times Bad Times" by Led Zeppelin. Which other art form inspires you? Unveiling More with Universal Inquiries Who are your three favorite artists or bands? The Beatles—I'm old enough to remember the release of each album and rushing out to buy it. Violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and Pianist Mitsuko Uchida. What was your favorite concert and why? I saw the Berlin Philharmonic last fall two nights in a row. It was extraor- dinary. I'd wanted to see them since high school. One on One with Tim Gaiser: Master Sommelier and former classically trained trumpet player. PHOTO: ALEXANDER RUBIN *See for more information.

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