January 2 – How can a bottle of wine, even a very large one, be worth $ 30,000?
Well, time travel is expensive.
Vanessa Treviño Boyd, the new beverage director / resident sommelier of Las Ramblas Hospitality Group and the only advanced sommelier based in the Rio Grande Valley, said tasting a wine of incredible value opens the door to another dimension in a sense.
“You close your eyes and it’s like you’ve traveled to this place and that time, and touching these soils and talking to the winemaker in 1937,” she said. “It’s just transportation. Yes, it’s worth it.”
Treviño Boyd remembers very early in her career being commissioned to decant such a wine, a rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Grands Echezeaux, for a table at the New York restaurant where she worked, and with a senior sommelier overseeing her. shoulder. She balanced the heavy jeroboam – a large wine container that holds the equivalent of four standard bottles – with both hands and held her breath, praying not to spill a single very expensive drop, which she did not have. do.
One thing about learning to be a sommelier is that one develops strong arm muscles by pouring massive bottles and carrying 40-pound crates of wine up the stairs.
“I can carry two flat boxes of wine myself,” said Treviño Boyd.
The fifth-generation Brownsville native moved to Mission as a child, attending college and high school there before moving to Chicago for college. Next stop was New York, where she spent 10 years learning the ropes in upscale restaurants with renowned chefs and the best “tops” in the industry.
“This is where I really had the most amazing wines of my career,” said Treviño Boyd.
A sommelier’s duties include tasting a wine before it’s served to make sure it’s not clogged, oxidized, or faulty, which means it has tasted everything. It was a “great education” in the fine and rare wines that are endlessly poured in this city, she said. His time in New York included managing the 1,800 wine list for legendary Alaine Decasse at the St. Regis, a Michelin-starred French restaurant.
Treviño Boyd, who holds an advanced certificate from the American Sommelier Association, moved to Houston in 2011 and set out to distinguish himself in the field. In 2012, she was named “Best New Sommelier” by Food & Wine magazine and “Houston’s Best Sommelier” by Houston Press. His return to the valley was sparked by Hurricane Harvey, which destroyed Houston’s Lakeside Country Club, where Treviño Boyd worked as Director of Beverages, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost him a subsequent job.
“So I lost two jobs due to natural disasters,” she said.
Treviño Boyd said she loved being back in Brownsville with her mother, looking forward to spreading the wine gospel and having big plans to do so as part of Las Ramblas, where she is revamping the wine program. The first special event was The Art of Wine: A Guided Wine Tasting and Seminar, which took place on December 29.
Mainly, Treviño Boyd wants people to drink wine and maybe learn something about what they are drinking. As a sommelier, she sees herself above all as a “wine educator”.
“Whether I’m working on a restaurant floor as a resident sommelier, doing private wine dinners at people’s homes or in a private space like the one we have next door (in Las Ramblas), or working out personal, that’s when education really becomes evident, ”said Treviño Boyd.
If $ 30,000 or even $ 1,000 for a bottle (even a jeroboam) doesn’t quite fit into the budget, perfectly drinkable wines can be had for a tiny fraction, she said, admitting that she comes from a Bud Light family, not a wine family, for whom a $ 50 bottle of wine is considered expensive.
Women do most of the wine shopping in a household, spending around $ 28 a bottle according to the national average, said Treviño Boyd, who brings home wines at $ 35 and even wines at $ 12 on occasion. .
“Not all $ 12 wine is good,” she said. “Most are simplistic. I won’t say bad, but simplistic. Everything can taste the same if you taste a winemaker’s range. At $ 40 you can find decent wines. Once you’re in the area. $ 60 fork, you’re probably getting a wine that you’re going to love if not love, depending on where it’s coming from. “
Either way, it’s great fun working through the different price points and styles with friends or family, said Treviño Boyd, stressing that wine needs to be shared to be enjoyed properly. To maximize the experience, learn a fact or two about the winery and make it a regular ritual, she said.
“I recommend taking a bottle of wine,” Treviño Boyd said. “It doesn’t matter how much it is. Search it before you open the wine. Before you open it, Google something about the cellar to give you some context. Open the wine and taste it.”