Taste Test: Wine for the slightly chill at Factory Kitchen

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For beer lovers, there’s Oktoberfest, and for winos, now there’s National Wine Day on May 25th. In the Arts District, off Mateo Street, restauranteur Matteo Ferdinandi opened the Italian restaurant Factory Kitchen on Factory Place. The chef is Angelo Auriana and the sommelier is Ferdinandi’s wife, Francine Diamond-Ferdinandi. There, the trio have found the perfect synergy between the plate and the glass.

The art of drinking wine is no easy task, but certified by the Court Masters Sommeliers and with a diploma in Wine & Spirit Education Trust, Francine understands the craft, from the popular to the obscure bottles, and from the acidic to the sweet undertones. As she puts it, “wine is just like a pair of blue jeans,” says Francine. “You can dress it up or dress it down.” Francine paired the mandilli di seta, the first dish to emerge from the menu, with their 2013 Vermentino, because both are from Liguria in Northwestern Italy, where the ocean breeze rises to the peak of the mountains, bringing the saline minerals of the sea into the flavor of the grape.

It’s this type of attention to detail that makes Francine an ideal sommelier to teach you how to wine:

It’s better to start with a lighter and then finish with a stronger wine.

“Typically, you can start with a white wine and end the night with a red wine,” says Francine, but not always. Don’t mistake white as friable and red as intense. There are some potent whites and some simple reds.

The shape of the wine glass can matter.

“When you put your lips to the glass, it’s more pleasant when the glass is not too thick. But when it’s too thin, the sharpness can also damage the experience.” As for Francine, she would never enjoy her wine from a plastic glass.

Prosecco and champagne are good companions

Whether before, or after, or even between courses, a sparkling wine is ideal to cleanse the palate.

Chicken goes with white wine and red meats go with red wine.

“There’s a lot of truth in that,” says Francine. “But consider that refrain just as a guideline.” Consider the sauce and flavor infused in the meat. For the plate of parma prosciutto, for example, Francine pairs it with a white Arneis. Some food and wine pairings are made to blend in the favors, and others to bring out the contrasts.

Teach me how to swirl

In swirling, the oxygen enters the bottle and activates the aroma and taste of wine.

“It’s good to make this habit part of the sequence.”

There’s truth in the smelling

“You get a lot more from smelling than from sipping,” says Francine. By only smelling, you can tell right away if there’s something wrong with the wine (for example, if the wine has been overly oxygenated).

Holding the glass

Many wine connoisseurs might suggest to hold the wine glass from the stem, and not the cup, as it warms up the temperature of the wine. But Francine sees it differently. “Most restaurants cool their white wine beyond necessary. I prefer to hold my wine by the cup to make it reach its peak temperature.”

Clean up your wine glasses

Francine’s ultimate pet-peeve? Dirty wine glasses. The hue of the wine is an essential part of the experience. It’s important to look at the colors. Don’t let soap stains from your dishwasher affect your experience.

Don’t forget about dessert wines

But do forget about silverware when you’re eating sweets, commanded Matteo when the cannoli arrived. Francine suggests red dessert grapes with chocolates and white dessert grapes with cream bases.

Trust your sommelier

A wine list is a carefully curated selection to compliment your meal. Sometimes it’s best to put your cravings aside and pay attention to the pairings.

*Chill out with Factory Kitchen on Instagram

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