Navigating a big wine list and choosing a wine that pairs perfectly with your meal can be intimidating unless you’ve had a ton of experience. Wine sommeliers are some of the most knowledgeable folks in the world when it comes to wine, and there’s an annual competition in Houston that lets the best of the best compete–The Iron Sommelier.
This year’s winner of the prestigious title of Iron Sommelier goes to one of the most gifted wine guys I’ve had the privilege of working with – Ben Roberts, the sommelier at Masraff’s on Post Oak Blvd.
In the competition held at The Houstonian, each of the competitors selected three wines that focus on a particular wine region, grape or style and personally presented the wines to the judges.
Ben introduced his wines on a very approachable level – common wines paired with food cooked on a grill. But, he also talked about the technical reasons the wines worked with the grilled meats…things most of us aren’t aware of like the chemical compounds created when charring the inside of a oak barrel used for wine aging (guaicol, furfals etc.). They impart a lot of flavor to the wine. Those same flavor compounds are created in food when it’s grilled. Therefore, when choosing a wine to go with grilled food, choose a wine that has spent time in new oak barrels to insure a proper pairing.
Sounds easy enough. But I’ll admit, every time I dine at Masraff’s I ask Ben to choose the wine. His choice never disappoints!
Major congrats Ben!