To be a Master Sommelier, it takes more than just the ability to be warm host and distinguish a Merlot from a Cabernet Sauvignon. It takes an exceptionally keen palate, an ability to deftly answer a customer’s questions and an engaging personality.
It would be a colossal understatement to say Fernando Beteta is skilled at all this. Mr. Beteta is a Master Sommelier (one of only 168 worldwide), and a masterful authority on fine dining, and has overseen a 10,000-bottle cellar at Chicago’s Park Hyatt.
But it is Mr. Beteta’s understanding of wine culture, plus his ability to spot industry trends, which might top all official commendation. He has studied wine and cuisine all over the world and is fluent in four languages. These traits have been particularly crucial in the hotel business, especially in Chicago’s downtown, where guests visit from almost everywhere.
Value Wine Chicago sat down with Mr. Beteta to discuss the industry, and he had this suggestion for a value wine that’s widely available in the Chicago market:
“For a red, I really like the Domaine Beaurenard Rasteau, which is priced around $15 at retail,” says Mr. Beteta. It’s primarily Grenache, and it’s like a baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape. “It’s very elegant, from 60-year-old vines, and can be aged. I’d pair it with braised short ribs with a creamy polenta, or mushrooms. It’s also versatile enough to have with roasted chicken, asparagus and mashed potatoes.”