Have you ever wondered exactly what it means to be a Sommelier? Historically, the Sommelier was the individual in charge of wine service for royalty. The modern-day version has been adapted to give the same deal of care and sense of occasion for restaurant patrons. A sommelier should be able to assist the guest with beverage choices throughout the dining experience—whether it’s an intriguing cocktail to start the meal or the perfect wine to match an entree—and this individual should be able to do it with grace, personality and always with the guest’s best interests in mind.
Staying true to this is Brian Nicholas, Sommelier for the Village California Bistro & Wine Bar, who has spent the last 10 years serving people in the hospitality industry. Although having worked in a broad scope of dining establishments Brian got his ‘break’ so to speak when he joined the team of accomplished servers at A.P. Stump’s. There he had the opportunity to work with acclaimed Bay Area chef, Jim Stump and Master Sommelier Randy Bertao. Under their guidance, Brian flourished and within a year had taken over the role of assistant manager, giving him the opportunity to assist GM Pat McElroy in shaping the restaurant’s wine program. This in turn led to his deserved role as Wine Director. As wine director Brian oversaw the 4,000-bottle cellar and award winning wine list which included top growth Bordeaux, Grand Cru Burgundy and countless cult Cabernet Sauvignon. Having gained this experience, in 2007 the Village Bistro was ecstatic to bring him on board as their official Sommelier. With his infectious personality and genuine care for others, Brian has taken an already award winning list and made it even better. Through wine list highlights such as the ‘What Brian’s Drinking’ page, ‘Glossary of Tasting Terms,’ Red and White wine ‘Flavors & Aromas’ list and the ever so fun ‘Wine Bar Quiz’ (test your knowledge below!) he has created a fun, education and non-pretentious dining experience whether you’re drinking or not!
Brian’s path to fine food and wine was no accident either as he recalls serving his parents breakfast in bed when he was just 7 years old. “It was a bowl of cereal and some fruit,” he confesses, “but I went to the trouble of finding a head of iceberg lettuce so I could dress the plate-that was my early attempt at fine dining.” His love of wine can also be traced back to his parents and the countless trips to the tasting rooms of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. “I drank sparkling cider and stuffed my face with cheese and crackers,” he laughs, “but to this day the smell of the barrel rooms-damp oak and dry red wine-is one of my strongest sensory memories.”
To find out more about Village’s Wine List or Events you may email Brian himself at Brian@thevillage bistro.net.
1. Cabernet Sauvignon is a cross between which 2 varietals?
a. Chardonnay & Cabernet Franc
b. Sauvignon Blanc & Cabernet Franc
c. Chardonnay & Petite Verdot
d. Sauvignon Blanc & Petite Verdot
2. The famous wines of Rioja are based on which varietal?
3. Which country consumes the most wine per capita?
c. United StatesBZ
4. Gary Pisoni’s famous “Pisoni Clone” Pinot Noir was stolen from this Burgundian vineyard:
c. La Tâche
5. The German term for Pinot Noir is:
ANSWERS: 1. B 2. D 3. B 4. C 5. B