Featured User: Ryan Vento

A native Houstonian, Ryan (29) and his wife live inside the inner-most of 3 loops that circle the sprawling city that is Houston, TX. Working in insurance compliance for a large commercial real estate & capital markets firm, Ryan has worked in insurance for many years and continues to enjoy learning and understanding the ever-changing complexities associated with the industry. With an immense passion for food, wine and hotels, Ryan, faithfully accompanied by his wife, enjoys trying new restaurants, traveling and staying at new hotels, and drinking/collecting wine. With each new experience Ryan also enjoys honing his amateur photography skills and posting his photos, along with reviews, on his Instagram page @HoustonFoodAndWine . Aside from food and wine, Ryan enjoys spending time with his wife exploring their home city, taking long walks at the park, and visiting with friends and family. At the time of this writing, both he and his wife are expecting their first child to be born in late February 2019 and are eagerly anticipating the turning of one season into another. Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Ryan Vento: While completing my undergrad at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, I took a Wine Appreciation class, which served as an elective. Interestingly enough this elective ended up being one of the most labor-intensive, time-consuming classes I took during my time at university! Whether it was learning about various grape-growing regions around the world, giving a lengthy presentation on Sangiovese, or spending hours of time in the sensory analysis lab learning how to work through the Court of Master Sommelier sensory grid, I valued my time spent learning about something that would eventually mold itself into quite a passion of mine. Oftentimes I think back on those years and am thankful for them, as they served as a wonderful foundation for my fun and exciting wine journey. D: What wine region are you wild about right now? RV: Even though I’ve had an affinity for the Napa Valley’s mountainous sub-AVA’s over the years, lately I’ve been able to really hone in on some of the best producers from those regions, and it’s been a blast. I’d venture to say that places like Howell Mountain and Spring Mountain are some of my all-time favorite wine regions – I am definitely a mountain fruit kind of guy, both when it comes to drinking now and laying down for the years ahead. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? RV: One of the most unusual wines I’ve ever tried was Matthiasson’s Schioppettino . The only time I ever had it was over dinner while at a small wine bar here in Houston. This particular wine bar had (and still has) a reputation for serving limited production, esoteric selections, and I remember smiling while drinking it, thinking to myself, “Here I am years and years into this passion of wine, and I’m still trying entirely new varietals.” Not only did the notes of black pepper, cedar and dried raspberries tantalize the palate, but there’s also something to be said when it comes to how many surprises the world of wine can offer; especially if you’re patient and learn to enjoy the entire journey one sip at a time. D: What is your golden rule for wine? RV: When it comes to wine, my golden rule is this: Take the time to venture around the clock. My Wine Appreciation professor described the journey that is refining the palate, refining the senses, and refining the knowledge of wine as a journey around the clock. Most of us wine drinkers began in a very small, narrow box – we knew very little, didn’t like most wine, and ventured forth to discover new wines very little, if at all. However, the encouragement was this: Journey around the clock one minute, one hour at a time and you’ll soon find that your palate is broadening, your senses are sharpening, and the wines you once swore off will soon-be the ones you so deeply crave. Eventually you’ll have ventured around the entire clock, trying all manner of wines from the most tannic Italian reds to the sweetest of dessert wines, and everything in between, and while you still may have the wines you love and the wines you’re not that big of a fan of, you will no doubt still have a degree of appreciation for all of the different wines around the clock. My advice is this: Don’t dive. Wade in. One delicious, savory sip. It’s a journey! D: Say you’re not allowed to have wine, what is your second option? RV: When I’m not able to drink wine, I’m usually going for a martini. If the establishment that I’m at doesn’t serve Hammer & Sickle , I’ll usually opt for a Grey Goose martini served dry, up and with a twist. If I trust the bartender knows what he/she is doing, I like to order a Vesper and leave it up to their discretion on how they make it since most joints don’t serve the original Gordon’s. Aside from Martinis I’m always down for an Old Fashioned with Luxardo cherries. D: Choose a movie, book, quote, or song and pair it with a wine RV: When it comes to music and wine, I look no further than Miles Davis and an opulent expression of Napa Cab. As such, Miles Davis’ song “I Waited for You” paired with a bottle of Amici’s single vineyard Cab from Missouri Hopper is a flawless pairing in my book and the makings for a great night! It conjures up images of a ritzy, high-end steakhouse with white tablecloths, rich woods, live jazz music, marble flooring and expertly prepared surf & turf. D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? RV: If I were a wine, I’d be a nicely chilled bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee (served with Royal Ossetra caviar). I really don’t even have a preference on which blend, any will suffice – it’s Krug. Opulence, craftsmanship, finesse and complexity. That’s Krug.

Matthiasson

Matthiasson Vineyard Schioppettino

What a fun wine! Medium bodied with lots of character and plenty of drinkability. On the nose there is dried red fruit, forest floor, olive tapenade, and some rustic dust. On the palate it is light on its feet, smooth, balanced, and easy-going. — 2 years ago

Taryne ElaCody Uzzel
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Craig, Krystal and 9 others liked this
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@Ryan Vento Ryan Nice Delectable feature on you and congratulations on your soon to be born first child. Congrats and Cheers from British Columbia 🍷
Ryan Vento

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@P A Thank you! I appreciate it.

Vaeni Naoussa

Grand Reserve Naoussa Xinomavro 2010

A SommSelect pick 🇬🇷. Fruity, light, and easy to drink. Youthfully vibrant and Burgundian on the nose with ripe cherries, manure, gravel, and graphite. — 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Mark and 15 others liked this
Ryan Vento

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@Rodney Rosser My first exposure to it but I wouldn’t mind digging deeper.
Rodney Rosser

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@Ryan Vento come visit my restaurant !
Ryan Vento

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@Rodney Rosser Just looked at the menu - sounds delicious!

Duckhorn Vineyards

Estate Grown Napa Valley Merlot 2015

Christmas Eve Dinner at the Four Seasons.

Paired with the Duo of Duck dish. Plenty of dark fruits, spices, leather, and tobacco.
— 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Severn and 8 others liked this
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@Ryan Vento Ryan Good one Cheers 🍷

Macarico

Aglianico del Vulture 2013

A pretty delicious expression, but lacking on the body and complexity side. Short finish and relatively thin structure, but you wouldn’t suspect it by the nose, which is pretty full and rich. Plums, cherries, blackberries, 5-spice blend, and anise. — 6 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Dawn and 21 others liked this
Ryan Vento

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Thank you @David T ! I appreciate it.
Sharon B

Sharon B

Congratulations on your feature!

Regusci

Estate Bottled Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

First time having this selection and I’m really enjoying it; definitely the kind of Cab I’d like on hand at all times for meals and for when guests come over. Full, round notes of vanilla, clove, nutmeg, eucalyptus, and baking spices intermingled with a dark berry medley. Been a while since I’ve had a Cab with this much vanilla on the nose but it’s not off-putting in the least. — 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
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Krystal, Shay and 17 others liked this
David T

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Interesting that as good as their Estate Cabernet is, their Angelo’s Vineyard, Patriarch and Bock bottling’s rise to another level. 👍🍷
Ryan Vento

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@David T I’d like to explore their other expressions in the future.

Renato Ratti

Marcenasco Barolo Nebbiolo 2012

Cherries, sweet tobacco, dried herbs, and mint. A very feminine expression. — 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Robert and 11 others liked this

Cavalier Bartolomeo

Altenasso Barolo Nebbiolo 2013

A bit astringent upon opening but looking forward to seeing how it drinks later on. From the starting line notes of tobacco, musk, potpourri, dark chocolate shavings with cherry liqueur, cocoa, leather, Rosemary, and Luxardo cherries. — 6 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Dawn and 15 others liked this
David T

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@Ryan Vento Congratulations all around. First, to you and your wife expecting you first child. Certainly, life’s most rewarding experience. Second, on your featured profile. Good to know more about you and nice job! Cheers! 🥂🍷

Poderi Aldo Conterno

Langhe Nebbiolo 2014

Lip-smacking good 😋 Ripe cherries, overripe plums, garden herbs, eucalyptus, asphalt, and spices. — 6 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Sharon and 22 others liked this

Château Moutin

Graves Red Bordeaux Blend 2010

80% Merlot 20% Cab. A nice Claret from a solid producer with ample notes of cherries, dried herbs, sweet pipe tobacco, and menthol. Ian Cauble’s crew at SommSelect really know how to pick ‘em. — 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Michael and 9 others liked this

Scarecrow

Monsieur Ètain Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Dynamite. Was firing on (nearly) all cylinders after a 60-minute decant and only got better with additional time. Cinnamon-dusted plums, Christmas spice cake, menthol, pencil shavings, and classic Rutherford dust. Elegant and exhibiting great finesse; this wine is really solid. Thanks for the pointers on the decant time @Mark Flesher — 7 months ago

Krystal Vento
with Krystal
Krystal, Paul and 17 others liked this
Shay A

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Very nice. The ‘12 I had a few months back was a knockout.
Mark Flesher

Mark Flesher

Awesome. I think I have only had the pleasure of enjoying this wine two other times, but both times have been great. It is amazing how approachable these wines are even though they can age for a long time