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Best Sommeliers In Baltimore

October 31, 2012 6:00 AM

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Photo By: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Photo By: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

You know to use red wine with steak and white wine with seafood. But if you’ve ordered scallops as an appetizer and the filet as your entreé and only want one bottle, well, that’s where sommeliers come in. You can close your eyes and point to a bottle or leave it to the experts. These five Baltimore sommeliers will teach you the tricks of their trade and ensure that your palate is pleased with each selection.
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Photo By: JEAN-PIERRE MULLER/AFP/Getty Images

Tony Foreman

Foreman Wolf (Bin 201, Bin 604, Charleston, Cinghale, Pazo, Petit Louis)
1000 Lancaster St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410)332-7373
www.charlestonrestaurant.com

It’s hard to talk about wine in Baltimore without mentioning Tony Foreman. He and his business partner Cindy Wolf head up a small food and wine empire in the city. Serving as beverage director for four restaurants (and a fifth opening soon) and overseeing two wine shops, Foreman has extensive experience in creating wine menus and pairings. As both a chef and sommelier (with a sommelier certificate from the Colmar School in France), Foreman guides each restaurant’s individual sommelier(s) and develops wine lists to fit the eatery’s distinct flavors. He also lends his expertise to the wine shops. Bin 604 was named Best New Wine Shop in the Country by “Food and Wine” magazine shortly after opening, courtesy of his skills.

Related: Romantic Restaurants in Baltimore

white wine Best Sommeliers In Baltimore

Photo By: Amy Sussman/Getty Images for JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery

Tiffany Dawn Soto

PABU
725 Aliceanna St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410)223-1460
www.pabuizakaya.com

Tiffany Dawn Soto isn’t your traditional sommelier. While she has an uncanny ability to taste wines, recommending the perfect sake is what has earned her the title of the world’s first non-Japanese female kikizake-shi (master sake teacher). Soto is serving more than 100 varieties of sake at PABU, the Four Seasons Baltimore’s Japanese pub.

“[Patrons] have really started to embrace our program,” said Soto. “We’re seeing guests return knowing exactly what they’re looking for.”

Soto also shares her sake knowledge via classes, tastings and specialty dinners. Her main rule: Sake should be served cool or cold. And please, no sake bombs. “Ninety percent of my job is helping people understand what true premium sake is,” Soto said.

wine cellar fleet st kitchen Best Sommeliers In Baltimore

Photo Credit: Downtown Diane

Philip Lucas

Fleet Street Kitchen
1012 Fleet St.
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410)244-5830
www.fleetstreetkitchen.com

Fells Point’s Fleet Street Kitchen steps up the technology game by sharing its wine list on an iPad. You may search wines by the glass, varietal, country, bottle size, or per sommelier Philip Lucas’ suggestions. Bins have barcodes that link through the app so you won’t select a bottle that’s unavailable. Although Fleet Street Kitchen is still in its infancy, Lucas– who was named a certified sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers– is already making an impression with his innovative wine menus and pairings, earning rave reviews all around.

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Photo By: REMY GABALDA/AFP/Getty Images

Julie Dalton

Wit & Wisdom Tavern
200 International Drive
Baltimore, Md. 21202
(410)576-5800
www.witandwisdombaltimore.com

Julie Dalton has an interesting background for a sommelier: Twelve years in the biotech industry. After she started importing wines, she decided to pursue her passion for the industry and earn her advanced sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. She now serves as sommelier for Wit & Wisdom, The Four Seasons’ new tavern. Dalton has received praise as a knowledgeable but low-pressure sommelier at Wit & Wisdom. She has represented the Mid-Atlantic in several wine competitions and recently took second place in the annual Star Chef’s Somm Slam.

Related: Baltimore’s Four Seasons Is One Of The Hottest Places To Stay In The World

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Photo By: JEFF PACHOUD/AFP/Getty Images

Perez Klebahn

Mr. Rain’s Fun House
800 Key Highway
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(443)524-7379
www.mrrainsfunhouse.com

In 2012, Mr. Rain’s Fun House was nominated for the Wine and Beverage Program of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Beverage director, Perez Klebahn, clinched the win as the only Baltimore City nominee in the category. Klebahn was trained by the American Sommelier Association and brought his expertise to the American Visionary Art Museum’s restaurant in 2009. Klebahn meets the challenge of tailoring his menu to the quirky, seasonally inspired menu of Mr. Rain’s chef and the artistic elements that surround him.

“I piece together the menu in the same fashion as one would compose a dish, looking for balance and accent,” Klebahn said. “Our menu is quite eclectic and our wine list follows suit. Part of the thrill of what we do is being able turn a guest on to something new or different.”

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Renee Libby Beck spends her days as a public relations and social media manager for Medifast, Inc. and any spare time that she can find as a freelance writer. Her work has been published in local and national publications. Renee also serves as the Baltimore Food Examiner for Examiner.com.
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