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What is a sommelier?

"When I taste wines, I memorize flavor profiles," says Randolph Hollo, wine director at Del Frisco's. "Then I try to learn what the patrons like, their mood, their order and match the wine." They somewhat casually refer to this as an extra level of service, dismissing the pressure of maintaining sales levels and remaining on top of a million different wines. The experienced patron might judge them on their ability to stay abreast of the countless wines available around the world; restaurateurs hold them accountable for revenue figures and inventory. (Al Biernat's, for example, generates more than $130,000 each month in wine sales.) But the wine guys themselves appreciate the challenge of service.

"They ask for a good bottle for $100 and you get them a great one for $60," says Roberts with a smile. "Surprise them."

Just don't chug the bottle in their presence. They really hate that.

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