Episode 284 of I’ll Drink to That has been released, and features sommelier and wine consultant John Slover.
John Slover grew up in a teetotaler family, had his first taste of wine almost by chance, and then devoured the subject. He is type of person who checks out every book in the library on wine and reads it twice. Every book because this was the 1990s when John was starting out, and there were few online resources to turn to when it came to wine. Also, there were fewer books. But John was there between the stacks reading copies of old dinner party menus or whatever he could get his hands on. An autodidact, he wanted to find out everything he could about wine and also everything he couldn’t. He wanted every piece in the wine puzzle. John started out in restaurants working with wine, but not the kind of restaurants you might brag about, the kind that are busy, fast, and where the chef might occasionally chase you out of the kitchen with a meat cleaver in hand if something went wrong. But then luck stepped in and John found himself as the opening sommelier at Blue Hill. Yes, that Blue Hill, now an icon of the Farm to Table movement, but then an unproven quantity of a place that had yet to open. You’re probabably not going to hear from anyone else the kind of Dan Barber stories that John has. After Blue Hill, John moved to Cru, which became a defining wine restaurant of its era. Again, John delivers some excellent behind-the-kitchen-door memories from that experience. Aside from restaurants John has also become one of the most successful private wine consultants in the country, and we discuss the difference between restaurant wine work and privately paid wine consulting. Here is an interview with a gentlemen who came to wine not in the easiest way, but who taught himself, and who was involved in some tremendous wine programs. He also is quite funny, but you can’t let him know you think so, because that can lead to trouble.
I’ll Drink to That is the world’s leading wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine