Raudz Regional Table has a locally sought after wine list year over year, season after season. They consistently turn critics heads for their all-BC wine list that pairs with their equally true-to-regionally sourced menu.
Owner and Sommelier Audrey Surrao is behind the prized list, but she hasn't simply employed her extensive wine training and palate which could suffice in building the excellent list… Audrey has created a tradition out of building each season's list through a full-team blind tasting. Yes, a blind tasting with all the front-of-house staff through the dozens of wines delivered to her from the local wineries. This year Audrey invited Andrew Schneider, a WSET 3 certified server showing remarkable skill and a great and sensitive palate, who has worked his way up through the ranks at Raudz, starting as a dishwasher in 2010 and now as a manager in training (go Andrew!).
The list is no small feat and the seasonal blind tasting usually spans over two arduous palate wrenching (and satisfying) days.
I was able to visit Audrey, Andrew and the Raudz team over the course of one of the tasting afternoons for the 2014 summer wine list's selection process. As a WSET student myself, that is, a Wine and Spirits Education Trust certified graduate, I understand and value the process of evaluating wine. Audrey's mindful approach to the experience gives her team the ultimate understanding of the wines they carefully select and which eventually arrive on the menu for you, the guest's selection. The wisdom shows when you order a glass at Raudz, and it was certainly revealed to me, how passionate and dedicated this team is to their knowledge and craft.
This photo journal of the day with Team Raudz and their excellent "wine coach", Audrey Surrao, tells you a little about the process. Enjoy and learn!
Let's get started! A lot of wines will be tasted so the spittoons are out!
The shrouded subjects wait to be revealed
Wines are served at optimal temperature in standard ISO tasting glasses
First, look at your wine. What colour is it? What shade? Is it viscous or watery?
Smell your wine, take it in on its first impression
Swirl your wine to open the "nose" of it - Oxygen opens the wines aromas further
Smell the wine again, take in new information and experience the nose after the swirl
Finally, taste the wine
Make more notes
Don't be afraid to say what you really taste
Reveal your subject
Learn your subjects varietal make-up and winemaking style for real understanding and comparison
The conversation and contrasts make for memorable tasting notes servers enjoy sharing with guests
Wine coach Audrey summarizes the wines well with her WSET diploma lexicon for the team to learn from
The pouring must go on!
Each of the dozens of wines are systematically tasted through in just the same stages...
… providing a little bible of tasting notes for the season's wine list
After just a few wines in, the groups palates are wide awake and ardent discussion flows
Audrey Surrao and Andrew Schneider are satisfied and inspired with the first sitting of the day's tasting, and the pouring of wines and tasting notes continues as I get on my way. As a wine student, I'm inspired too… and I can't wait to see the list.
We aren't sharing the list here for you. To experience the Raudz Summer Wine List 2014 dine or take a seat at Raudz bar and take in the real understanding that the team has gained and moreover feel the passion that is awoken in the staff through such a rewarding experience.
Raudz has one outlier on the list that is not of local origin but of a lot of international interest. They are excited to be able to feature the sold out 2013 Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose (Wine Spectators top 100 wines of 2013) and owned by Jolie-Pitt, you know, Branjelina. They've got this amazingly delicious wine to share with guests at RauDZ, but its in limited quantity so get in while you can!
Tarynn Liv Parker