Featured User: Ray S

Ray is a former video games developer turned tech director in the journalism industry. He's an aspiring photographer and a geek for art and travel. He enjoys discovering new wines and the challenges associated with understanding what makes them unique. In his spare time, he’s the cyclist shouting “ON YOUR LEFT!” Sometimes he’s on a bike when he does it. Delectable: What sparked your passion for wine? Ray: Years ago I moved to Silicon Valley to work at a gaming studio. I was new to the area and didn’t know anyone. After a few months, a close friend of mine from back home connected me with his friend that lived in the city. His friend was very outgoing and invited me on a day trip to Napa for wine tasting. I knew very little about wine but I was looking for any excuse to leave my apartment to explore a new area. The trip was the first time someone explained to me what I was tasting, the process, and the history. I was hooked! D: What wine region are you wild about right now? R: I’m currently obsessed with Tuscan wines, specifically Brunello di Montalcino. I’ll never forget the first time I had one and relish the opportunity to share a bottle with close friends. D: What is the most unusual wine you’ve ever tried? R: A few years back, my wife and I were driving through Monte Argentario [Italy] on our way to our hotel as we drove past an olive farm. We wanted to go back to the farm after we had the chance to check-in. The concierge called the farm and said they had sold out of olive oil but would do a wine tasting for us if we showed up after 3[pm]. Excited, we hopped back into the car and made our way to the farm. We pulled up to a building deep within the farm - beautiful. But no one was around. After a few short minutes, a man walks out and seemed surprised to see us. We introduce ourselves, shake his hand, and inquire about the wine tasting. It turns out he doesn’t speak English. I took a chance and asked for “vino.” His smiled, “Ah. Vino!” He excitedly took us into a garage in which he showed us bottles placed within a milk crate for purchase but no tasting. So we bought one and quickly left. Arriving at the hotel my wife pulls out a piece of paper in which the concierge had written the name of the farm. We went to the wrong farm! Essentially, we bought wine from some random guy. D: What are some tips for aspiring connoisseurs? R: I can’t stress this enough, but taste everything. Never turn down a glass and ignore the price. Ask questions but don’t let others influence your decisions. Build your palette to understand your preferences. D: What is your golden rule for wine? R: Never take advantage of a wine no matter the occasion. Don’t rush. Take a moment to build a memory. I want to remember what I drank, how it tasted, and with whom I shared the experience. D: If you were a wine, what wine would you be? R: I’d like to think I’m that discreet bottle of Petit Verdot with the unimpressive label that has an interesting story to tell.

Cantine San Marzano

Falò Negroamaro Rosato

Ray S
8.8

I always appreciate an honest recommendation. I had asked our server for a specific bottle of negroamaro that I wanted to try. He suggested I tried this bottle instead, better taste and much cheaper than what I had picked. He wasn't wrong. Went very well with our meal. — a year ago

Chadwick, Jesse and 5 others liked this
Chadwick Torres

Chadwick Torres

Love those rare moments where someone is actually looking out for you when ordering!
Kristin the Wine Girl

Kristin the Wine Girl Influencer Badge

And what were you ordering?? Please tell!

Edna Valley Vineyard

Paragon Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Ray S
8.5

My wife prefers wine that reminds her of the color "green". And this hit exactly what she likes. Great as a weekday bottle with dinner. — 2 years ago

Chadwick, Webb and 3 others liked this

Waterford Estate

The Jem Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2009

Ray S
9.5

A great wine always has a great story. This is no exception. I'll never forget this one. — a year ago

Chadwick, James and 6 others liked this
Chadwick Torres

Chadwick Torres

Gonna look this up!
Phil A

Phil A Premium Badge

@Ray S Good wine and pic Cheers 🍷

Cakebread Cellars

Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Ray S
9.5

As the hipsters would say, "O. M. G." This kept very well and I'm glad I split it with my father-in-law. — 2 years ago

Webb, Megan and 4 others liked this

Blenheim Vineyards

Painted Red Cabernet Franc Blend 2008

Ray S
7.9

My memories of this bottle were clouded by the many other Virginia's wines I had tasted. Its not bad, but when it follows a much more robust Cakebread, then this just falls flat. — 2 years ago

Webb, Jesse and 2 others liked this

Luigi Maffini

Kratos Paestum Fiano

Ray S
8.8

Recommended by a small market owner in San Marco. He didn't speak English and we didn't speak Italian. He simply pointed and seemed to ensure us it was the best he had. Tasty for sure. — a year ago

Chadwick, Jesse and 2 others liked this

Long Shadows Wineries

Sequel Columbia Valley Syrah 2013

Ray S
9.3

Who says sequels are terrible? Empire Strikes Back is the best of the series and this was the best of the four bottles we had tonight! — 2 years ago

Webb, Anthony and 5 others liked this

Càntele

Riserva Salice Salentino Negroamaro 2013

Ray S
8.0

Let's be honest here. Value, yes. Taste, sure. Overall another forgettable wine that was recommended by the restaurant. I was interested in trying more local wines from Puglia but I'm convinced there has to be better. — a year ago

James and Ryan liked this