Secrets of the Sommeliers

Exploring The Inside World of Sommeliers
With Rajat Parr MS
Thursday Apr 20 2017


Join award-winning sommelier and author Rajat Parr, for a fascinating webinar exploring the inside world of sommeliers, sharing their unique perspectives, extensive expertise, and best stories.

This session is based on Rajat's book “Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World's Top Wine Professionals”

About the book:

Rajat Parr’s profound knowledge of wines, deep relationships with producers, and renowned tasting abilities have made him a legend in the business. As wine director for the Mina Group, Parr presides over the lists at some of the country’s top restaurants.

In Secrets of the Sommeliers, Parr and journalist Jordan Mackay present a fascinating portrait of the world’s top wine professionals and their trade.

The authors interviewed the elite of the sommelier community, and their colleagues’ insights, recommendations, and entertaining stories are woven throughout, along with Parr’s own takes on his profession and favorite winemakers and wines.

Along the way, the authors give an immersion course in tasting and serving wine; share strategies for securing hard-to-find bottles at a good price and identifying value sweetspots among the many regions, and teach readers how to make inspired food pairings.

Presenter: Rajat Parr MS

Co-founder of Domaine de la Côte, Rajat Parr is a two-time James Beard Award winner and internationally regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on wine.

A trained chef, Rajat Parr grew up in Calcutta, India, before journeying to the United States where he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. It was during training at the CIA where his interest in wine took hold. After graduation, Parr chose to pursue the cellar instead of the kitchen, venturing to San Francisco to join the staff of Rubicon, the renowned wine-focused restaurant of Master Sommelier Larry Stone. Parr quickly rose in the ranks, becoming a protégé of Stone. Here he honed his wine knowledge and tasting skills, while beginning a career that would see him become one the world’s most celebrated sommeliers.

Parr eventually left Rubicon to take over the wine program at San Francisco’s landmark Fifth Floor restaurant before moving to join chef Michael Mina as wine director of that chef’s eponymous restaurant. The Mina Group would eventually spawn over 20 restaurants across the country, wine programs all overseen by Parr. It was during this period that winemaking began to evermore capture Parr’s imagination.

Eternally fascinated not just with the taste of wine, but the question of why it tastes the way it does, Parr not only frequently travelled abroad to European wine regions; he also made use of his proximity to California wine country, becoming close with several of California’s top winemakers. This ultimately translated into bottling his own wines. At first, these were blends selected from wines produced by others, but in a short time Parr became more deeply involved—calling picking times, overseeing fermentations, etc. As vineyards and winemaking became ever more an obsession, Parr made the transition from sommelier to producer.

During this period, he became closer to Santa Barbara County winemaker Sashi Moorman, as they found a mutual interest in pushing the boundaries of California wine, every vintage seeing how much earlier they could harvest to achieve more balanced alcohols, racier acidity, and purer flavors. In 2011, Parr launched Sandhi, a partnership with Charles Banks and Sashi Moorman, to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills.  In 2013, he released wines from his new estate vineyard, Domaine de la Côte, located on the westernmost edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. Most recently, in early 2014, Parr (along with partner Sashi Moorman) took over the historic and acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon.

Beyond his wineries, today Parr has also co-authored the James-Beard-Award winning book Secrets of the Sommeliers (with Jordan Mackay), and is now working on their new book The Atlas of Taste. He also co-founded the trend-setting California non-profit wine group, In Pursuit of Balance. He lives in Los Alamos, though he can still be found frequently traveling the world speaking, educating, tasting, and obsessively learning.

Secrets of the Sommeliers with Rajat Parr MS