Friday, June 7, 2013

Daniel Kuhlman owned Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro

So I owned Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro for seven years and along the way I learned a lot. Enough to probably pass the sommelier test that I never took. People told me that I had the greatest job and I'd tell them that I truly loved my job. After all, I got to taste wine all day long. Vendors would actually come to me with wine to taste. Sometimes they would leave me a bottle or two and sometimes they had to take it with them. It all depended if I was the last stop of the day or not. All in all, I tasted just over 5,000 wines that I kept track of with an excel spreadsheet. But, the truth is that it sounds more romantic than it actually was. 

Like the owner of an ice cream shop or bakery, tasting wine became all business. My job was to find the best wine at the most profitable price point. Of the 5,000 wines probably about 10% were just horrible, 50% were good but totally not worth the price they wanted and 25% were merely average. That left 15% of the wines as suitable for inclusion on my wine list. And the vendors didn't always come when I wanted to taste with them. They'd come in the morning when I didn't want to drink. They'd come with 15 wines and want me to taste them all. They'd come one after another and were waiting 3 deep at the bar. Pretty soon, I never swallowed the wine, I used a spit bucket so I wouldn't get drunk. And after a five or six wines it's really difficult to taste and discern what a wine is all about. I'd go out to dinner with my wife and she would order a flight and want me to do the same. All I wanted was a couple of glasses or a bottle of the same thing. Anything but another tasting. 

But in the end, I still enjoyed the wine and closed my wine bars with a skill and love affair that will last a lifetime. I was at a party in April this year and someone asked me what I thought the white wine was. Without looking at the bottle I swirled, sniffed and tasted and pronounced it Verdejo. Turns out I was right!

Daniel Kuhlman at Tastes Wine Bar & Bistro Uptown, 1033 E. 17th Ave, Denver, Colorado

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