Recently, I got the chance to sit down with Sommelier, Meghan Vergara, owner of Veritas Consultants. I had invited her over to try some of the wine I had brought back from the Chianti region of Tuscany last September. We drank a bottle of Fattoria Valacchi’s, Olimpia. This wine was a blended Italian red mixed with grapes from Sangiovese, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon with an IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) designation. In Italy, wines are either listed as DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), or IGT. Each designation specifies what regulations were followed in making the wine. DOC, and DOCG are more restrictive designations where IGT gives the wine makers more leeway in producing the wine. As we sat there enjoying our glasses, we got to talking a bit about Meghan and her profession.
Meghan has been a Sommelier for over fifteen years. She received her training and certification at the Sommelier Society of America in Manhattan, New York. She has experience in working with some of the nation’s top restaurants and industry professionals in both New York and Napa Valley, California. Wine has been a passion of hers for as long as she could remember. I asked her what her favorite wine was and she brought up her most memorable experience at Harlan Estate. “This winery is in Napa and it is by invitation only because of it’s cult like status and price points on the wine. It was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and Bill Harlan (owner/wine maker) is the very best in the industry.” said Meghan. Drinking their Cabernet based red blend with Bill Harlan was the most defining moment of hers as a Sommelier. She stated, “Wine is not just the actual bottle or the wonderful feeling you get when you drink but an entire story of a place, a time, and all the people who are so dedicated to bringing that wine to life.”
Meghan did give some recommendations for a couple of “summer” wines that she prefers to drink during this season. “I am drinking a lot of Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc from Loire Valley, France) and Rosé. These are my go to inexpensive summer wines. Two favorites are Raimbault Sancerre and Alexana Rosé of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. I love these wines because they are satiating and complex but light enough to enjoy on a warm day with lighter summer dishes like chilled seafood or panzanella salad. Rosés are a great choice for summer grilling as well. They offer the best of both worlds in terms of having the feel and freshness of white wines but offering more structure and complexity of red wine.” she said.
It was a nice evening talking with Meghan and discussing not only what wines we love to drink, but how wine always brings people together. All around, a wonderful evening. By the way, if you find you have heartburn after an evening of drinking wine (like my husband does) Meghan recommends sticking to European wines. They drink a bit smoother without the alcohol burn. She was mentioning how it has something to do with how much sun California grapes get vs. European grapes, etc. I don’t understand it all, but I’ll take an experts word for it. Check out Meghan’s site, Veritas Consultants and follow along with her blog on everything wine.