Every wine has a story, and so does every sommelier. We were lucky enough to have Tahiirah Allen, recently named one of the top 5 female sommeliers in South Florida by Ocean Drive magazine, host an organic wine tasting for our new Health and Wellness Series, and it’s safe to say Tahiirah definitely knows her grapes!
Before she left, we asked her a few questions in hopes of expanding our own wine knowledge.
What do you consider to be the most versatile wine?
Chenin Blanc for sure. It’s a grape that can be made in almost any style. The high acidity allows it to be made super dry, demi-sec (off dry), sparkling and even into dessert wine. You can find wines made from Chenin Blanc in France, the US and South Africa. As a bonus, Chenin Blanc can be enjoyed on its own or with food. It’s a great alternative to Chardonnay, Champagne, Pinot Grigio and even Sauvignon Blanc.
Which wine do you find is most underrated?
I think Beajolais Crus are highly underrated. The wine is made in Burgundy’s other red grape Gamay. When most people think of Beaujolais they think of the Thanksgiving wine Beaujolais Nouveau which is this fun, fruity wine that meant to be drank within a few months. However, Gamay is great food wine and can really embody some great structure when produced well.
What is your favorite food and wine combination?
I love bubbles with mostly everything. Cava, Proseco, Champagne, Lambrusco, you name it and I can find a paring for it.
What are the hot new wine destinations?
Eastern European wines are pretty popular these days. Macedonia, Croatia, Romania. These wines are interesting and offer great values. They have been around for centuries so I’m glad they are getting their just due.
What are the questions people should ask their sommeliers but don’t?
Ask them what hidden gems they may have laying around. Somms love to geek out with their personal preferences.
Do you remember the first time you had a glass of wine?
Haha, I believe my 1st glass was Blue Nun Riesling. I had no idea what I was tasting just that it was sweet enough to get down.
What is your favorite wine trend currently?
I love the organic/sustainable movement. The way the environment is going i’m glad that people are putting their dollars behind companies that care about their farmers, consumer health and the earth. It’s so important!