The Mark Wine News Spring '18 Volume 8.2 - Page 18

r a i s e a g l a s s TOP CATCH OCEANAIRE’S CHRIS MORGAN A restaurant after my own heart; the goal of Oceanaire is to have the best white wine list in the country. As a mostly Paleo Pescatarian, that is music to my ears. I spoke with Chris Morgan, Sommelier and Divisional Director of Wine and Spirits about the Oceanaire Seafood Room within the massive Landry’s portfolio. He started with Oceanaire 11 years ago, three years before it was acquired by the Landry’s Restaurant Group. MWG: What experience did you bring to the table when you joined Oceanaire? CM: My parents had a bakery and Bed & Breakfast as I was growing up and I worked there from an early age. So hospitality was ingrained in me. Before Oceanaire and Landry’s I worked as a training GM with Cantina Laredo. I don’t know of any other Mexican restaurants that were pouring Silver Oak and Jordan Cabernet by the glass at the time. MWG: Wow. You were really ahead of the game. I can’t get Beef Fajita’s with something like The Lion Cabernet from Hess out of my head now. Is there a wine and food pairing you can’t get out of your head? CM: Champagne and Fried Chicken. Heaven. MWG: Definitely not cliché. Is there a wine you can’t get out of your head? A wine you want everyone one to try? CM: Riesling. It is by far the most versatile grape in the wine world. It can be bone-dry and lean like those from Australia. It can still be dry, but rich and unctuous like a Grosses Gewaches from Nahe. It can Chris Morgan be off-dry and refreshing like a Rheingau Kabinett. of course, we pay attention to trends like Malbec, It can be a sublime dessert on its own like a Mosel Prosecco, Red blends, Rosé,etc… although what’s hot Trockenbeerenauslese. When someone tells me they in New York or California may not make an impact on don’t like Riesling, I believe it just means they haven’t the national scene for another 12-18 months. We have tried enough Riesling to find one that they like. I am by the glass programs with all of the trend varietals. hoping that the continued trend of fruit-forward, We also now devote a larger percentate of the list sweeter wines leads to a Riesling Renaissance! to “discovery.” Although, we know these wines may not be home runs in terms of volume, they give our MWG: Long live the king! It is the noble grape. Why adventurous guests fun wines to try. more people don’t try it always amazes me. Especially in this day and age when Moscato is making such MWG: How did you get into wine? Was it a part of a stand. Here’s to Riesling making a big stand and your upbringing? being the next big trend. Are there any wine trends CM: My dad worked for a distributor when I was in you think are being embraced right now? elementary school, so I’ve been around alcohol most CM: We have had great success with Sangrias. The of my life. My parents were more spirits and cocktail- category has really been expanded with an infinite focused. They were fans of Lazzaroni Amaretto and I number of combinations of fruit, wine and spirits. I loved the Amaretti cookies! don’t see this slowing down any time soon. And 16 THE MARK WINE NEWS