10 Questions: Vincent McGrath
He's worked some of the best cellars in the city, either as wine buyer, director or sommelier.
These include stints at the Crescent and Pappas Bros., before he teamed up with chef Anthony Bombaci at Nana.
Last month he took over sommelier reigns at West End's Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse. Charged with building their wine program, he has already boosted their selection from 150 to 250 different bottles--and began stocking a number of half-bottles.
Despite being surrounded by wine, he still has a fondness for Budweiser...
1. Ever drink wine straight from the bottle?
No. As much as I like to drink wine, I've never been that bad.
2. How many wines do you keep at home?
Oh, probably 50. I'm a drinker, not a collector. Not to drink it seems like a waste to me. I don't have enough everyday wines--that's my one regret.
3. Do people give you wine for birthdays and Christmas?
All the time.
4. What is it about Dallas and big red wines?
I think it's the texture of the people. You know--big attitudes, big egos, big wine. They drink with their eyes, not their palates. They don't want soft tannins.
5. You wine guys like flowery descriptions. How would you describe Mad Dog?
Oh, God. Gotta go back to my high school days for this one. I was a Boone's Farm person--really. Mad Dog was cough syrup and molasses, if I remember correctly. But I never liked heavy wines back then, so I did Boone's Farm. I was a wuss that way.
6. Ever trick your staff and pour cheap wine into a Silver Oak bottle?
I tell you, at Nana one time I took a Chardonnay and poured it into a Viognier bottle and only one of them figured it out. It was fun. I got away with it. But I've been tricked before, too.
7. Hemingway made wine skins seem cool. Now it's all about Riedel. Don't you miss the simplicity?
In some respects, yes. But as you grow in the wine business, you want some of the elegance. I don't ever want to get carried away with it, but a wine glass makes a big difference.
8. What did you think of Sideways?
I absolutely loved it--the theme, the humor, the craziness.
9. But did you steer away from Merlot afterwards?
No. Wise people will tell you to do the opposite. I went toward Merlot. And as demand fell and prices went down, I got better deals.
10. Budweiser or Miller?
Bud, without a doubt. I've never liked Miller. In college, if it wasn't a Bud, I'd drink wine.
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