McCracken took some time to answer questions for Hungry Memphis.
The Master Taster's Club is described as being for "wine enthusiasts." Does this include the unwitting plonk-lover?
What’s “plonk”? We Sommeliers pretend we do not know that word, as we would NEVER associate with “that” type of wine. But really, our Master Taster’s Club is for anyone who wants to taste some great wines from around the world, learn a little bit more about the wines and where they come from, along with the whole approach to wine tasting.
How will the tastings be structured?
We will taste four wines each week, give a background of the winery/vineyard, and delve a little bit into the region, its grapes, and what that actually means on the wine label.
Anything participants should bring? A notebook and pen? A full stomach?
The Master Taster’s Club will provide pens and tasting sheets for each meeting. If you have your own tasting log, you’re welcome to bring it. If you just want to come, listen and taste, notes are not required. I won’t be giving a test at the end of the event, not yet anyway. We will be sampling some Peabody fare along with the wines, so a full stomach isn’t necessary.
As the sommelier for the Peabody, do you feel torn between your own aesthetic and popular tastes?
On a serious note, there are no wrong answers in wine! Everyone has their own palate and no one is exactly alike. I love pairing wines for guests and hearing them say how perfectly they complimented the dish, but I don’t get offended if someone doesn’t like what I selected and wants to try something else.
Can you divulge any dark secrets from the Peabody cellar? Boxed wine? Screw caps?
Screw caps are amazing actually; they allow for no chance of “corked” wine. If the wine is bad then it was bad when it was bottled. [Screw cap wines] don’t make for an elegant presentation, but they sure come in handy when you can’t find you wine key.
I hope to see you all at our first Master Taster’s event, and look forward to a year of great wine, a little learning and listening to myself talk about my favorite topic!!!
Master Taster's Club, at the Peabody Corner Bar beginning Wednesday, February 2nd, 5-6:30 p.m. $15 per tasting, $100 for VIP annual membership, which includes valet parking. The February 2nd event will feature wines from Tuscany and food from Chez Philippe’s new tapas-style “Petit Philippe” menu. For information, call 529-4000.