Jeremiah Morehouse is an expert on wine and is one of the newest additions to the Court of Master Sommeliers. He serves as the Wine Director at San Francisco, California’s Restaurant Gary Danko Restaurant. He discusses his passion for wine and food with Filthy Lucre.
How did you become interested in wine?
My interest in wine goes back to my college days. I attended UC Santa Cruz and my roommates and I would have wine with Sunday dinner, a nice break from all the beer we would drink. Working in restaurants to keep cash in my pocket grew the interest in wine from there.
Can you describe your pathway to becoming a Sommelier?
My pathway to becoming a Sommelier is unique. When I was 21, I changed restaurants I was working at and the owner threw me behind the wine bar. He must have seen something in me because I loved the new challenge and ran with the opportunity. A couple of years later, my mother told me about the Court of Master Sommeliers and I signed up for my Level One Intro course.
What do you think is the most versatile wine?
Most Sommeliers say Champagne, and I have to agree. But for the sake of being unique, I would say let’s look at Pinot Noir. It’s the most important grape in Champagne and makes wines of incredible complexity the world over. Some folks are even making white wine from the grape…
What is the most expensive or exclusive wine you’ve ever had?
1962 Roumier Musigny
What are a few good tips for selecting a great wine from an extensive list?
When you have a big list, it can be daunting. It never hurts to talk to the Sommelier and explain what you like. NEVER be afraid to mention price too, whether you want something super value driven or you want to splurge a bit. Usually, you can find fun, tasty wines for under $100 from places like Italy and Spain and don’t forget Cru Beaujolais.
Can you describe your process for recommending a wine to customers?
I work with a big list, so I’m trying to be a fast detective when talking to guests. What are some favorites, or what do they usually like to drink, and if they are interested in trying something new? Knowing what they are going to be eating can be crucial too, especially if they want to step outside their comfort zone.
What is your favorite food and wine combination?
There are so many great combinations in the world, but I love dry Riesling and a fresh crudo always makes me happy.
Can you pick a wine for under $100 for a dinner party serving pork?
When pork is involved most people go right to Pinot Noir. Gamay Cru Beaujolais is a great alternative and don’t forget about Brut Rose Champagne.
What do you love most about your job?
My favorite part of being a Sommelier on the floor during service is the romance part of the job. Getting to see the enjoyment of the wine firsthand from suggestion or pairings that I have orchestrated.
What do you wish to accomplish as a sommelier?
My short-term goal is to enhance enjoyment on a day to day basis, aka make the guest happy. Long term, it is to leave a program in much better shape than when I took it over. Longer term, it is to inspire others to chase their goals and help them succeed.
What kinds of misconceptions do you encounter when you say you’re a sommelier?
When I was younger and [beginning] my career, I found it hard sometimes for people to believe I knew the things I did about wine because I was young. Now that I have passed my Masters, I find many guests believing it is all about the glitz and glamour, but I’m still working the floor most nights and fighting the good fight.
What’s your take on global warming’s impact on the wine world?
It’s no mystery, science shows us that climate change is happening. We have seen some good like more consistent harvest in cooler parts of the wine world, but have also seen more wildfires in places like California as a result. Beyond just the wine world, it is important that we take care of this world so that we not only have wine in the future but that we have a place to live in the future.
Visit garydanko.com to learn more about Jeremiah Morehouse and Restaurant Gary Danko.