Featured User: Bryce Wiatrak

This week we are thrilled to introduce Delectable’s new Content and Community Manager Bryce Wiatrak as our Featured User. Born in Milwaukee and raised in Tennessee, Bryce fell into the wine industry through a chance internship, before being awarded the Young Wine Writer Fellowship from Vinous in 2015. He cut his teeth at a wide array of wine publications before coming to Delectable. In Bryce’s other life, he is a classically trained operatic baritone, having earned his master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Bryce continues to reside in San Francisco today where he is constantly in pursuit of tracking down the next great taco. Look out for more columns from Bryce, and send him any questions for our new advice column Decorked by emailing decorked@delectable.com! Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Bryce: I always grew up with wine in the house, my parents both being particularly fond of Chianti Classico. To this day, those wines still carry a bit of nostalgia for me. My first professional foray into the wine industry occurred the summer before my senior year of college, when I was offered an internship at a wine publication. I applied on a whim, not having realized the wine industry was even a viable career path. I knew nothing about wine at the time, but I fell in love, studied up, and haven’t looked back. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? B: There are so many exciting pockets of the wine world right now that have knocked my socks off. Having just returned from Toronto, I’m continually impressed with the quality of wines coming from the Niagara Peninsula – particularly their chiseled, vibrant Rieslings. For my home of California, I find in Santa Barbara more wines that offer such transparency of place and for such reasonable prices than perhaps anywhere else in the state. And I’ll never tire of having Burgundy or Sherry in my glass. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? B: The 1969 Chappellet – and it’s also probably the best wine I’ve ever tried. I know, Napa Valley Cabernet? Not so unusual. But the nuanced vitality this wine possesses is unlike anything else I have ever experienced in my life, especially considering the era when it was made in. I tasted it a year ago February, and it’s as if I have never stopped tasting it since. Whatever Philip Togni did to craft this magical, ageless wine must have been pure alchemy. D: What is your golden rule for wine? B: Don’t judge a wine by its price. There are $12 bottles I love and $400 bottles I hate. Trust your palate, and know that there isn’t always a consistent correlation between the best producers and the most expensive. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine. B: Whenever I taste a great Riesling, the opening bars of “The Marriage of Figaro” start playing in my head. Geeky, I know (and hint, I listen to this opera a LOT), but there’s something about the dynamism and precision of Mozart, and perhaps his Austrian descent too, that I find reflected in this grape. Some wines and some composers I love for their tempestuousness – Syrah and Beethoven, for example. Riesling and Mozart I love for their perfection. D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? B: Hot chocolate, hands down. There’s one particular hot chocolate I had in Vermont that haunts my memory the same way the ‘69 Chappellet does. D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? B: I wish I were Musigny – but I’m nowhere near that graceful. I’ll go with Côte-Rôtie – complex and refined, but a bit more down-to-earth. At least I hope I am.

Caves São João

Frei João Bairrada Vinho Tinto 1990

I don’t get to taste aged dry Portuguese wines all too often, and this bottle makes me believe that’s a shame. Soft red currant flavors meet a more savory patina in this nearly three decade old Baga. Game, rose, smoke, and cherry. — 7 months ago

Severn, Daniel and 17 others liked this

Day Wines

Hock & Deuce Mae's Vineyard Syrah Blend 2014

Southern Oregon is oft overshadowed by its northerly neighbors in the Willamette. But these fringe appellations often offer stunning value - and a welcome reprieve from Pinot at times. This Syrah/Viognier blend makes clear its Northern Rhône inspiration - a lean varietal expression that finds breadth through a piercingly bright acidic through line. Brambly, yet precise - it tastes of muddled raspberry, bacon drippings, sweat, crushed minerals and sweet wilted herbs. The perfect accompaniment to a weirdly cold late April evening in Vermont. — 7 months ago

Stacy WiatrakMitchell WiatrakPerri Wiatrak
with Stacy, Mitchell and 1 other
Stacy, Marc and 25 others liked this
Hugh O'Riordan

Hugh O'Riordan

I’ll look for this
James Forsyth

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Glad the Wiatraks are drinking well!

Donelan

Obsidian Vineyard Syrah 2014

Donelan continues to cement its place as one of California’s foremost authorities on Syrah. Boisterous yet savory and precise, flavors of quinine, thyme, black minerals, sweat and game meet a plumper backdrop of fruit. It combines a Northern Rhône sensibility with an undeniably Californian juiciness. Exceptional. — 9 months ago

Isaac, Weijie and 19 others liked this
Severn Goodwin

Severn Goodwin Influencer Badge

Great bottle, we had an intimate tasting with Joe Donelan a couple years back, all really nice wines but needed time to collect themselves. The Obsidian and Richards Family were our picks, were holding several 2012's. If you get a chance please try their rosé, one of my all time favorites.
Bryce Wiatrak

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I’ve never had the rosé, but will have to seek out a bottle!

Harlan Estate

Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend 2004

Never a bad night when you’re drinking aged Harlan. The 2004 has grown savory in character - tobacco leaves, thyme, animals and rust. Still palate coatingly tannic, but the needle of fine acidity provided a beautiful textural juxtaposition. — 7 months ago

Eric, La and 27 others liked this
Bryce Wiatrak

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Yummmmmmy! What vintage?
Ellen Clifford

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Me? Or are you speaking to someone else? I had some crazzzzy 2006 Dom Ruinart and also Comtes tonight (what is this life I’m living?!) but those would likely be good no matter the vintage? I dunno I have some other sparklers new to me I’m gonna be shouting about!
"Odedi"

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Must have been a great experience

Weingut Rosenhof

Trockenbeerenauslese Burgenland Chardonnay 2012

So rarely do I taste Chardonnay in dessert form, but when I do, I’m reminded this grape can do literally anything. Tasted blind, I’d likely guess this Burgenland TBA to be Tokaji - it drips with sun soaked apricot, roasted apple, and subtle spice. But there’s also a cereal quality - like some bucolic wheat field on a cloudless July afternoon. Viscous and captivating - I was really sad when this glass drew empty. — 8 months ago

Ellen, Colin and 12 others liked this

Loveblock

Marlborough Pinot Gris 2016

I’ve never understood why New Zealand’s aromatic wines haven’t amassed more attention - they’re Pinot Gris wines are consistently some of my favorites outside of Alsace. Loveblock is Erica and Kim Crawford's present project, after selling the popular Kim Crawford label. While still 5 g/l residual sugar, Loveblock's Pinot Gris captivates with its spice and savory flavors - jasmine, white rose, peach skin and white pepper. Beaming with aroma, on the palate the wine finds a more taut precision. A delicious challenge to Sauvignon Blanc's dominance of the Marlborough landscape. — 8 months ago

Marc, Ron and 15 others liked this
Kimberly Anderson

Kimberly Anderson

Met the winemaker a couple of months ago. She was the orig Kim Crawford winemaker! Loved this white

Spottswoode

Family Estate Grown St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

If I had to list my favorite Napa producers on one hand - Spottswoode would make the cut by the time I reached my pointer finger each time. The 2013 is impeccable - structured and dusty tannins from a to-be iconic vintage. Cassis, pencil shavings, and blueberry meet for a beaming high-pitched finish that seems ceaseless and impenetrable. — 7 months ago

Isaac, Eric and 3 others liked this

G.D. Vajra

Bricco delle Viole Barolo Nebbiolo 2010

Drinking Barolo with the man himself, from one of my consistently favorite producers. With a firm, but dusty tannic backdrop, the wine seduces with an ethereal rose petal, dried violet aroma while smoke and licorice inform the long finish. Fabulous, structured, and while still nascent, it’s fabulously captivating today. — 8 months ago

Samantha PotterMaria BuckleyJulia Geisler
with Samantha, Maria and 3 others
Maria, James and 72 others liked this
Brian Stotter

Brian Stotter Premium Badge

Just had the 2004, an incredible wine with good value for Barolo.
Samantha Potter

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Wow! Earthy and jaw dropping. Plus, very special to experience this with the one and only @Antonio Galloni at Morrell Wine Bar.
9.6

Charles Baker

Vinemount Ridge Riesling 2014

Charles Baker has swiftly risen to become one of Niagara's foremost authorities on Riesling. Grown from the Vinemount Ridge appellation, that stretches south overlooking the Niagara Escarpment, the 2014 hits all the marks of an outstanding Niagara Riesling - petrol, wet stones, apple skin, and chiseled mineral flavor. Clean, long and precise. — 8 months ago

Kyle, Dawn and 19 others liked this

Marchesi Antinori

Badia A Passignano Gran Selezione Chianti Classico Sangiovese 2011

I always love tasting this wine. Tobacco, wilted basil, black plum, game and pepper. Round and caressing, yet still expressive of Sangiovese’s herby character. A favorite in the Antinori portfolio. — 8 months ago

Stacy WiatrakMusicCitySwanny Tamela Swanson
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Stacy, MusicCitySwanny and 18 others liked this