The Deacon Interviews Brain-Girl Sara D'Amato!
Greetings All and Sundry, in the Name of Calico Jack!
And let's not forget to say "BITE ME CRANK!" to all y'all who have managed to remain peckerdine jankmonkeys, despite all your Captain has done to edjucate you. Argh! The Jolly Roger is flyin'! The boarding party is armed and ready! Let the interview begin...
Sara D'Amato is the sommelier extraordinaire at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. Of Italian/Polish extraction (just like the Amazing Kreskin, I might add...) she was born in Sault Ste. Marie and lived in Avignon France, where she attended school. She was interested in wine back in the days when most of you were still crankin' amphetamines and she collected wine cards the way your Deacon collected Hockey coins. To call Sara "Magic Brain Girl" is to understate her abilities. Beginning with Astro Physics at the University of Toronto, Sara studied International Relations, then attended Ryerson University where she studied Urban Planning, finally winding up with a degree in World Literature with a minor in Philosophy. (I'm not makin' this stuff up) Sara's so frickin' smart in fact, that she might be almost as intellijent as your humble Deacon himself!
So anyway, after a stint as Director of Operations for a market research company, she went back to France to check out the University of Bordeaux, but ultimately wound-up at Niagara College, where she studied all aspects of winemaking. Nearly 3 years and 2 harvests later, she headed back to Bordeaux to work as Assistant Winemaker for a large co-operative, and lived in a tiny village and worked in the vineyard.
When she got back to Canada, she finished the program at Niagara and applied for a job in Chile with Miguel Torres. Well naturally, in the meantime she manages to win a scholarship that was to be presented by the Hostelleries Institute. She naturally makes her acceptance speech in both English and French and immediately gets 6 job offers on the spot. She takes the offer from the Four Seasons as their resident sommelier in August 2005, and the rest is history...
We met for oysters and champagne on the helicopter deck of the Black Freighter, moored next to Captain John's Seafood Restaurant at Queen's Quay. The interview began...
Deacon Dr. Fresh: Yo Sara! Wassup Homegirl?
Sara D'Amato: Hi Dr. Fresh! Nice to be here. Nice ship. When was it built?
DDF: Call me Deacon. It was launched in 1770...So what's happenin' in the Canadian wine industry?
Sara: A lot of exciting stuff! There've been some amazing positive changes in the Ontario wine scene in the last few years. We have new wineries appearing almost daily and there's some great product on the market now at very reasonable prices.
DDF: So true. I'm findin' that the Ontario product is finally getting the recognition it deserves. A few years back, there was a lot of crackerwater, monkeyspray, superjank, bilgewater. Now things are much more lurch!
Sara: That's absolutely correct. Let me say for the record that I never drink mofo, crackerdine, jank-bucket, peckerwood wine. Life's too short.
DDF: Yes it is! What's your take on Niagara?
Sara: Niagara's coming along really well. We're finding our way through the sub-appelations, early consistency problems due to changing producers, unpredictable winters, etc. I see a good future for Prince Edward County too.
DDF: Can you give our fanz a couple of recommendations?
Sara: Sure. Tell your readers to check out Fielding Estate Pinot Noir. It's really nice for the price.
DDF: Yeah, Ken and Marg Fielding are newcomers who're makin' some fine wine. I just ordered a case of their Unoaked Chardonnay. (Note to my homeys: I predict they'll be sold-out of it by Monday. You can get free delivery if you buy a case, and you'll have it overnight too. Make sure you tell them you heard about it from the Deacon...)
Sara: Another really amazing wine is Chateau des Charmes Equuleus 2002 from the Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard. This is a classic Bordeaux style wine, made from 50% Cabernet Franc, and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
In January I'll be pouring Cave Springs Riesling Reserve at a Canadian Wine and Culinary event in New York.
DDF: Yeah, the Pennachetti family does a great job with aromatic whites. I think you'll blow away all the New Yorkers with that one. Now comes the question of the day...As an esteemed member of the wine community, what's your martial art, and who would you fight in the Octagon?
Sara: Well I studied Tae Kwon Do when I was young, but didn't get very far...I'm a pacifist, but I'd like to fight Michel Rolland though...You know who I mean?
DDF: Yeah. The micro-oxygenation crackerwood off Mondovino! How would you beat him? What would your strategy be?
Sara: Just a punch in the face. That's all.
DDF: Any final thoughts to leave our loyal readers with?
Sara: Just that I'm really excited to be where I am, amidst amazing and friendly people, and working in a great environment. It's a fantastic time to be in the booming wine industry!
You heard her.
Now drop in at the Four Seasons and check out the winelist that Sara's put together...
Deacon Dr. Fresh
More fun than scurvy