Thursday, December 29, 2011

Meet our Sommeliers ~ David

By the time David Morris was in his mid-twenties, he had lived in the Midwest, Germany, and Switzerland, which instilled in him a profound curiosity of geography, culture and history. However, he had yet to be introduced to his current heartfelt obsession - wine; this all changed one fateful dinner in Winterthur, Switzerland in 1999.

"I wish I could remember the flavors and the scents of the meal, unfortunately those have been lost to time," says David Morris. "However, I can quite easily recall the emotions I had during the meal, it was like standing on top of a mountain or watching a sunset on a beach or listening to a boys choir fill up the vast echoing spaces of a huge Gothic cathedral: it was incredible."

This pivotal dinner took place while David was temporarily staying with a friend and his family in Switzerland. Upon being welcomed into their home, David was asked whether or not he liked wine. In an attempt at being accommodating, David said "yes” and was then promptly brought downstairs for a tour of their 5,000-bottle wine cellar to choose the appropriate wines to drink with the evening's meal. David listened attentively to, and in wonderment of, Gerhardt's enthusiasm and thoroughness in selecting each wine. The first was a sparking pear wine, and the second a white from the Loire Valley in France.

"The last wine of the night I remember with full clarity," says David. "It was a Canterno Sori Genestra Barolo from 1978, and is to this date one of the greatest beverages I have ever enjoyed."

The monumental meal introduced David to the idea that wine could elevate the flavors found in cuisine. Nebbiolo from Barolo, a town in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, is David's favorite wine to this day.

Two summers later, while interning with the musical production of Opernfestspiele, in Heindenheim Germany, David fell in love with the culture of wine. “Before it had just been the flavors and textures and panache of drinking wine,” says David. “During that summer I realized that wine is about bringing people together.”

After spending long days at work with no weekends, David found solace in his evening meals and the complimentary wine and conversation that went with them. He soon came to the realization that the culture surrounding the experience of wine focuses on enjoying things to the fullest. “There is nothing like cooking a meal and sitting down with a friend and talking for hours, that's the good stuff,” says David.

Wanting to be an integral part of the culture of wine, while pursuing a career in acting, David moved back to the states and began working in the restaurant industry at Ocean Grill in New York City. While working at Ocean Grill he met Master Sommelier Laura Maniec, then the Wine and Beverage Director of BR Guest Restaurant Group. “Her passion and thoroughness inspired me to really begin taking my wine study seriously, and not just something I would do when I discovered a bottle that I really liked,” says David.

With dedication in his pocket, and the desire for fresh air and mountains, David moved to Washington and began taking classes for his sommelier certification at South Seattle Community College, through an organization called the International Sommelier Guild. After a year and half of intensive sommelier curriculum, David passed the sommelier certification exam and upon doing so, was offered a position at Wild Ginger in the winter of 2009. Within a year, David was promoted to Lead Sommelier.

David's new job provided him the opportunity to take two amazing, intensive wine trips: the first in Germany in Febrauary: then to France in April. These trips helped solidify the theoretical knowledge David learned while in school.

Wine service at Wild Ginger is more restrained and techincal, but the service at The Triple Door allows David to exercise his theatrical side. David says, “Wild Ginger and The Triple Door are amazing places to work, they offer me two very different environments in which to hone my skill as a sommelier."

David doesn't quite know where his newfound passion and skills will take him, but he is looking at the future with bright eyes and a sense of youthful optimism. "What I know is that I really love working for this company and I look forward to the many challenges that lie ahead."

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