A fascinating exploration of the inside world of sommeliers, sharing their unique perspectives, extensive expertise, and best stories.
Rajat Parr’s profound knowledge of wines, deep relationships with producers, and renowned tasting abilities have made him a legend in the business. As wine director for the Mina Group, Parr presides over the lists at some of the country’s top restaurants. In Secrets of the Sommeliers, Parr and journalist Jordan Mackay present a fascinating portrait of the world’s top wine professionals and their trade. The authors interviewed the elite of the sommelier community, and their colleagues’ insights, recommendations, and entertaining stories are woven throughout, along with Parr’s own takes on his profession and favorite winemakers and wines. Along the way, the authors give an immersion course in tasting and serving wine; share strategies for securing hard-to-find bottles at a good price and identifying value sweetspots among the many regions; and teach readers how to make inspired food pairings.
Winner - 2011 James Beard Cookbook Award - Beverage Category
About the Author
RAJAT PARR is the wine director of the 17-restaurant Mina Group, which includes properties in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington, DC. His program at the flagship restaurant in San Francisco holds a Wine Spectator Grand Award.
JORDAN MACKAY is the wine-and-spirits editor of 7x7 magazine and the author of Passion for Pinot. He is a regular contributor to the New York Times and has written for Food & Wine, Gourmet, and Decanter.
“Parr & Jordan open a window onto the workings of a great sommeliers mind. . . .The result is part history lesson, part insider’s guide to the best producers and best buys, but, most of all, it’s a testament to all the hard work that goes into being a great sommelier.” —Wine & Spirits, December 2010
“If you or your friends want to read about wine and friendship, learn about the camaraderie of the sommelier profession, and discover from insiders how to select wine, you must absolutely get Rajat Parr and Jordan McKay's new book, Secrets of the Sommeliers.” —The Atlantic’s Food Channel, 12/20/10
“No one understands the meaningful details of enjoying wine - and how to communicate them to the public – quite like a skilled sommelier, and Rajat Parr, the wine director for Michael Mina's many restaurants, is one of America's best. In his collaboration with journalist Jordan Mackay, Parr manages to pour forth an impressive breadth of wisdom, both practical and esoteric, in a very manageable 200-page gulp illustrated with evocative sepia-toned photos.” —Philadelphia Inquirer, 12/16/10
“The best wine book to come across my desk in awhile. . . . This intelligent, understated book is a must for any wine lover, budding or educated.” —San Francisco Bay Guardian, Appetite: Delicious giving, 12/3/10
“Readers will put this book down with a better understanding of their restaurant experience, and may head put to dine with a little less fear of the sommelier. And while we don't typically dine at home the way we do in restaurants, our own wine choices as ‘home sommeliers’ will be better informed from this book.” —WashingtonPost.com, All We Can Eat blog, 12/2/10
“Parr and Mackay’s handbook for aspiring sommeliers is, unexpectedly, one of the most user-friendly manuals for the wine-curious to come along. . . . That’s because its subject isn’t really wine—it’s how to master the practical application of wine to every-day life. Everything in the book (especially the candid anecdotes from wine masters) illuminates an aspect of tasting, buying, pairing, or pouring. And insider tips not covered in more encyclopedic tomes, such as how to recognize boutique “grower” champagnes just from the label, are guaranteed to boost your wine ego after a single read.” —San Francisco magazine, November 2010
“A new take to the omnibus-guide genre. ‘Secrets’ harnesses Parr's immense pool of knowledge and observations from the nation's top wine directors for a pointed, thoughtful take on the essentials of wine.” —San Francisco Chronicle, 11/28/10
“For the advanced wine geek, this book will become a bible. . . . If you're not thinking like a sommelier now you will be by book's end.” —San Jose Mercury News, Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies, 11/24/10
"A good gift for the wine-obsessed." —S. Irene Virbila, L.A. Times Daily Dish blog, 11/15/10
“‘Secrets’ performs the invaluable task of mining not only Parr's brain but also the expertise of many Bay Area sommelierati for a very focused take on how to choose wine, understand a wine list and buy with a savvy eye. . . .It provides an inside track that's so often missing from most buying guides' neutral tone.” —San Francisco Chronicle, 11/7/10
"Oenophiles on any level could learn from this exploration into the inside world of wine and the people who present it." —Gayot.com, 11/1/10
“Parr, director of wine for Michael Mina's restaurants, and San Francisco-based writer Jordan Mackay have penned an indispensable tool. Not simply a peek into the mind of Parr and his wine-loving compatriots, the book is full of useful tips.” —Tasting Table SF, 10/19/10
"Whether your aspiration is to become a world class sommelier, or simply to find a better bottle of Burgundy, this is a must-have book for any passionate wine consumer." —Jon Troutman, Corkd.com, 10/19/10
“Let me say that this is a fascinating look at a world of after-hours tastings and tenacious debates, at the wines that many sommeliers care most about, and at restaurant service from an insider’s view. We meet many unusual and charismatic personalities, not least of whom is Mr. Parr, whose journey from a childhood in Calcutta to the highest level of American wine culture is testimony to energy, talent and hard work. And, in the tradition of the best sommeliers, useful lessons and tips are conveyed painlessly and entertainingly.” —Eric Asimov, New York Times Diner’s Journal, 10/5/10
"It's a comprehensive book that's perfect for any oenophile—or anybody wanting to become one." —Condé Nast Traveler, Moveable Feast blog, 8/6/10