by Ian McNulty
Hang around restaurants in those off-hours between lunch and dinner and you’ll occasionally spot the wine reps and their “magical black bags,” as chef Chris DeBarr calls them. These bags carry wine samples the sales folk want restaurant wine buyers to try, and in addition to a taste they sometime come with a story about the winemaker, the area of origin and such.
DeBarr says he’s always cherished those tasting visits and the exchange they encourage between restaurant and wine professionals. Now he’s launched a new series to re-create the experience for the rest of us at Serendipity, the restaurant he opened in Mid-City last month.
The series, called “Drink Like a Pro Mondays,” is a weekly wine seminar with DeBarr and various representatives from wine importers or distributors discussing a particular region or theme. They guide guests through at least six wines, serving two-ounce sample pours of each, while Serendipity’s kitchen sends out small plates of food paired to the wine.
DeBarr says the idea is to give people “a backstage pass at how we wine professionals evaluate wine,” and he describes the format as a “show and tell” about the grapes and the winemakers behind the wines.
The seminars begin at 5:45 p.m. each Monday, just a bit before Serendipity’s dinner service gets rolling. The sessions are scheduled to last an hour, though be aware that results may vary. For instance, the first edition of the series, held Oct. 22, lasted more than two hours as DeBarr and Classical Wines sales manager Karla Kilgore discussed small, traditional Spanish producers from her portfolio.
The next edition, scheduled for Oct. 29, will feature Greek wines, while on Nov. 5 the series will showcase “winter whites,” or white wines to pair with heartier, cold-weather cooking. A session on pairings for holiday meals follows on Nov. 12.
The cost is $25, which includes wines and a few light food samples, and reservations are required. Call Serendipity at 407-0818.
3700 Orleans Ave., 407-0818