A decade ago I sat with my wife for one the great meals of my life at The French Laundry in Napa Valley. Thomas Keller was in the kitchen, and the whole gastronomic experience was flawless… except for one thing. For some reason the sommelière, as knowledgeable as she was, would not and could not recommend wines. She could answer any question about them, but there was no way she was going to tell me, or any other customer, what to drink.
It all worked out in the end, but the novelty of that Northern Californian intersection of luxury and egalitarian approachability made a big impression on me. This week, at the Napa Valley Vintners show in Toronto, I tasted that mix of elegant and casual in nearly all the wines I tried.
Lisa Peju, who grew up at Peju Family Estate Wines, founded by her parents, Tony and Herta Peju 30 years ago, was pouring four of her family’s luxurious and very approachable wines at the Le Sommelier* table: A Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blend and a Zinfandel. I persuaded her to abandon her station for a few minutes to talk about Peju for the surreptitiously shot video below.
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*Le Sommelier is a Good Food Fighter. Please support the businesses and organizations that support Good Food Revolution.
Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him at twitter.com/malcolmjolley