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Meet Bryan Detert: Corporate Beverage Director for Tommy Bahama Restaurants

2015
24 March

What do you love about working with wine?

I truly enjoy the moments when you can just relax and enjoy the experience that is in the glass. I love to challenge my palate and senses while also imagining the region and setting where the wine was created. The first sip or two are my rewards for a busy day and I am instantly relaxed. Most of the work as a buyer entails negotiations, supply chains, monitoring trends, analysis of your guest purchase patterns and menu writing strategies. The time when I can savor a glass of wine in a relaxed setting puts the “work” behind me and reminds me why it is such an enjoyable profession. Many people are envious of a wine buyer but in reality the time spent tasting and enjoying the wine is very brief so you have to really live in those moments and enjoy them and I do.

What’s your most memorable wine moment?

I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed a number of great wine experiences and I appreciate and relish each one. I have some memorable tastings of Grand Crus of Burgundy, private tastings and tours and wonderful trade events like the Wine Spectator Grand Tasting in New York City where you have the best wines of the world in one room for you to taste and the opportunity to converse with the wine makers. Those are all truly memorable but I would have to say my favorite wine moment would be in Napa Valley sitting on the hill over-looking Lake Hennessey with my wife and drinking Quintessa. Our lives are both very busy and with four children, we don’t get enough time to enjoy some alone time so that experience with her was something that I treasure for many reasons. Almost all of my great wine moments are in some sort of trade environment so I always wish my wife was there to enjoy it with me and it was very special when I could enjoy some time in Napa with her.

What’s your favorite current wine trend?

I would say that I have a couple of trends that I am intrigued by right now. It seems that our guests are becoming more adventurous with their wine choices. This allows me to introduce more wines from around the world to our guests at Tommy Bahama. I love to offer as many wines by the glass as possible for that very reason, I would love people to start with a Rose from Spain, Sancerre or a Torrontes and then move to a Tempranillo or Tuscan blend. The more options that our guests allow us to offer will in turn increase their wine knowledge and appreciation. It seems that people are looking for more international varietals and styles so they can compare that to what they are already drinking and I like that trend. 

The second trend is the use of the Coravin, pouring wine from premium bottles without removing the cork. I am seeing this in more restaurants and I love this trend. I think this is a great opportunity for the guest to enjoy some truly impressive wines without having to spend some serious money. This also allows the guest to enjoy more than one region or type of wine. You can start with a pinot and move to a bolder wine and still be under what you would have spent on one bottle.  

What do you love about Rioja?

First of all, I am a very big fan of the Tempranillo blends. I enjoy when I am asked to select wines for some friends and I normally select a Tempranillo to start with. That wine is a wonderful starting point for the dinner because it is complex without being too bold and grabs your attention from the start. I love just sitting back and waiting for the reaction to the first sip or two, you don’t get that with every wine selection but a great Tempranillo from Rioja is a fun way to start your dinner. I love that Rioja is now more established and the wines are becoming more refined and crafted. I am seeing wonderful Tempranillo blends that continue to raise the bar and impress as well as seeing more single varietals now. 100% Tempranillo wines will be more available in the near future and they will try to take some market share from pinot noir fans.  Emerging styles are using more French oak in place of the American oak to differentiate themselves and also more focus on regions and vineyard in place of blends. Roses are also being recognized as a great option instead of the traditional Loire Valley selections. The complexity of Rioja is mainly what I love. It seems that the region is challenging itself to see how good it really can be on the main stage of the world.