The Next Level In Taste


Secrets of Sommeliers: Wine Appreciation, No Pretention

Joey Kleinhans is the creator and producer of the LA Wine Elite: Focused wine appreciation dinners.

I had the pleasure of attending his latest dinner this past Saturday which was held in the private dining room at the Park Grill at the lovely Intercontinental Hotel.

Upon entering the dining area, I was struck not only by how small and intimate the group was but how boisterous, warm and inviting they were as soon as I walked in.  Joey immediately stopped what he was doing each time a guest arrived, greeting them with his unassuming charm and thick German accent, and making sure they were comfortable.  Before we got into the heart of the tasting, Joey gave us a short rundown of how these dinners came to be.

In an attempt to transition his love for wines from theory to practice, Joey made a decision that he wanted to taste 2,000 different wines in a year.  But how to do that without spending every last dollar?  Organize a dinner program where everyone has the same goal of learning about wine in an unpretentious, friendly atmosphere.  So that’s just what he did.  With a clear focus on the purity of European grapes, Joey chooses wines that he believes showcase the full expression of that grape varietal.  Through classical wines from the old world and blind tastings, Joey effortlessly walks his guests through each wine he presents.

But the thing I found most striking about the dinner was the fearlessness of the attendees in expressing their take on each wine.  As any oenophile knows, when you are just starting out, wine tasting can be an intimidating experience.  To alleviate this stress, Joey passes out a table with a systematic approach to wine tasting to give attendees a more comprehensive way to talk about the wines.  But even without the table, connoisseurs and novices alike gave bold opinions and even educated guesses on the type of wines we were tasting.  And that is really the point of these dinners, to know that it’s not about getting it right, but about the journey and experience.

Regardless of what stage of wine appreciation you are at, I highly recommend joining the Wine Elite and experiencing one of these dinners yourself.

You can find the next dinner at the Intercontinental featuring Pinots and join this group.


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