Drink Wine Like A Master Sommelier: 4 Tips From Larry O’Brien, M.S.

As a Master Sommelier at Jackson Family Wines, Larry O’Brien knows how to elevate your wine experience to the next level.

LOB Partake

O’Brien will be leading one of 20 sessions at Chicago Food + Wine that focus on growing attendees’ food and wine knowledge. We talked to the veteran wine professional to get a few tips so you can build your wine cabinet and be prepared for his interactive blind tasting at Chicago Food + Wine Festival.

1) Character Counts

The more accurately a wine enthusiast can describe the character they desire to find in their wines, the greater the probability they will purchase a wine they like. Learn to give a voice to the aromas of fruit, non-fruit, earth and wood characters of wine as well as the structural elements, such as tartness and tanginess, and dusty dryness inside the cheek, on the gum line and across the tongue and roof of the mouth. These descriptions provide invaluable guidance to a server, sommelier or wine shop staff to help you select a wine you will love.

2) Don’t be Afraid to Explore

Wine enthusiasts must put aside preconceived notions of grapes, regions and producers, i.e. “I don’t like ________.” Actually, you simply have not discovered the _________ that you like.

3) Learn from Experts

Find a reliable guide in both restaurant and retail wine settings. Form a relationship with a local wine shop with knowledgeable staff. Once the staff knows what you like and dislike, they can guide you.

4) Be Adventurous

The first rule for any wine enthusiast: be adventurous. Trying unique and/or new things is a requisite for maximum enjoyment of one’s wine avocation. This includes new and unusual grapes, regions and producers.

The Tasting Session on Sunday, August 30th at 1:30pm with O’Brien is complimentary with a Chicago Food + Wine Pass, which also includes culinary demos and discussions with local and national chefs, tasting sessions with other wine and spirits experts, and all-day access to The Grand Tasting, where you can indulge in over 90 food, wine, and beverage exhibitors, including the Chef Showcase. Buy a ticket today!