Somm Spotlight: Jaime Pinedo, Sommelier, Spruce

BY Amber Hayes
June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016 Somm Spotlight: Jaime Pinedo, Sommelier, Spruce

BY Amber Hayes

image1When did you have your wine awakening?

Probably as a kid. My parents and their friends would host frequent house parties on my godmother’s houseboat in Seattle. I was always put in charge of beverage service. I was probably eight or nine at the time, but I would open and serve the sparkling, usually Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut, and mix gin and tonics. Most sommeliers point to something fancy like old Chave Hermitage. My “ah ha” wine was eight dollar Cava from Pete’s Wines on Lake Union.


Why do think rosé is becoming increasingly popular and accessible?

Aging in oak is what makes other wines expensive. It also takes time. Since you don’t need to age rosé in oak, it’s cheap to produce and creates more immediate cash flow for the producer. It also bails out red wine producers who didn’t quite get the ripeness they needed in tough vintages. For wine drinkers, it is easy drinking and inexpensive while having more going on than whites.


What types of dish pairings do you like to see with rosé?

Rosé goes great with Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine like tapas and paella. So do tomato based dishes like panzanella, cioppino and bouillabaisse.


How do you deal with the misconception that rosé is a woman’s drink?

I always say, “Real men drink pink.”  Rosé Champagne is my go to gift for couples celebrating a special occasion.


What is your favorite go-to rosé for sharing with friends?

I just had Gosset’s 2007 “Celebris” Rosé Champagne at a wine dinner we hosted last month. It was one of the most delicious champagnes I’ve ever had. I wanted to buy a bottle for myself, but it was like $150 at cost! I would rather have a case of Domaine Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris to enjoy with a big group of friends.


What are you currently loving in your glass?

I am always trying new things. Whenever I’m at a restaurant the first glass I’ll order is the wine I’ve never tried before. My everyday wines are usually mallic, mineral whites like Sancerre, Austrian Grüner Veltliner, or Albariño from Rias Baixas. You can have a few glasses without feeling like you need a nap, and they are the least likely to leave me with a hangover.


Best advice to diners when it comes to working with a sommelier?

Tell them something you have had in the past that you have enjoyed. Be upfront about your price point and trust them to make a great recommendation.


Biggest shift in thinking you would like to see in the world of wines?

The lack of adventure! People tend to peg wines in a hole. Maybe they’ve had a few bad chardonnays and declare that they don’t like the varietal. That person is missing out on Raveneau’s Chablis and Coche’s Meursaults.


What is your favorite rosé?

Jacques Selosse’s Rosé Champagne. It’s his grower-producer chardonnay blended with some still red pinot noir he gets from Egly-Ouriet in Ambonnay. It comes in a sexy, matte finish bottle. We only get like two bottles a year but it’s amazing.


Is rosé a seasonal wine?

Rosé season starts in February and most of it is gone by the end of the summer. Some of my best memories are drinking rosé on my friend’s roof-top deck in Carmel during the Fourth of July. It’s what RN74’s lead sommelier David Castleberry’s would call a “Porch Pounder”. As for seasonality, I say the so-called ‘rules’ in wine are meant to be broken.


What are the best tips to choosing a good rosé?

You have a better chance of choosing a good one if it’s more lightly colored. Also, trust the experience provided by the classic French rosé producing villages like: Tavel, Bandol, Sancerre & Corbières.


What if you find you have purchased a rosé you don’t like?

Make sangria! Add grapefruit juice, ginger ale and some ice. Garnish it with some orange slices and you have a perfect cocktail for picnic or wedding shower.


Let’s end on a fun note. What would your last drink be? It doesn’t have to be wine.

It would probably be some good añejo tequila, like Don Julio 1942, neat.


Jaime Pinedo is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers. He currently delights customers at Spruce in San Francisco and is studying for his Advanced Court of Master Sommelier exam. We wish him luck! You can share in Jaime’s adventures in wine by following him on Instagram: @jhpinedo.


Photo credit: Blog