Brooklyn Fare: How did you get into wine?
Chase Sinzer: Somewhat incidentally. My parents both owned restaurants when I was a child. I grew my way through the industry and was lucky enough to land a few positions that deepened my knowledge and sensibilities in wine. I learned a lot working at Maialino in Gramercy Park, and sharpened my sense at David Chang’s Momofuko Ko most recently.
BKF: How do you approach the fall season in the wine program at Chef’s Table?
CS: Fall tends to be our heaviest season for wine sales — as lots of New Yorkers return from vacation — so we ramp up our buying towards the end of summer in preparation. César shifts the tasting menu to accommodate the change in weather, offering warmer, darker colored flavors. Lots of roasted, charred, and stewed dishes: root vegetables, deep mushrooms...
To accommodate this shift in flavor, I’ll start pairing wines with more savory, rounder flavor profiles like Savagnin — a wine from the Jura region in France. Of course, we also sell lots of Burgundy, a red classic with rich secondary characteristics that tend to come out in older wines. These deeper qualities of older vintages really shine in the fall-winter seasons, pairing well with dishes that also take time to develop. I like to frame it as being the difference between eating fresh juicy oranges in the summer vs. stewed, textured fruits in the fall.
BKF: Any tips for folks interested in learning more about wine pairing?
CS: I’ve always recommended reading books that are tangentially related to wine, as opposed to those directly on the subject (which can feel a bit daunting). Some titles I enjoy are The Accidental Conniseur by Laurence Osbourne, Adventures Along the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch, Neil Rosenthal’s Reflections of a Wine Merchant. Also, just go with your gut and pair with what’s around you. Pinot Noir, Syrah, Nebiolo, are all great places to start. If you don’t like something that’s fine! If you want to put ice in your wine, that’s cool too... —