The Society of Wine Educators was founded in 1977 and is internationally recognized and regarded for both its quality and relevance to the industry. One such program that they offer is the CSW or Certified Specialist of Wine. We’re proud to have several CSW graduates here at DLM.
What is this program? It’s a rigorous exam that tests a candidate’s wine knowledge and mastery of key elements within the worlds of viticulture and wine production. Some specific topics tested include: physiology of taste, wine composition&chemistry, faults, viticulture & enology, labels, laws & wine regions, wine etiquette, and service. Candidates who achieve a score of 75% or better are distinguished as CSWs, and the pass rate is only about 30%, making it a great honor for those who complete this prestigious certification.
So next time you’re looking for a great everyday dinner wine or a rare special something, feel confident in asking the team at DLM for help—we love to talk about food & wine!
Best Kept Secret: Hands-down, the people. They want you to have the best experience with food and wine at any price point and they have the ability to pair wine with a dinner as an accompaniment to make both better!
Holiday Pairing Picks: For Heavenly Ham®, an Oregon Pinot Noir, like Chehalem Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley ($25). If Prime Rib is the star, Raymond Vineyards Reserve Selection Merlot Napa Valley ($30) is a
Festive Champagne Pick: Guyot Choppin Brut ($35) and Aubry Brut Premier Cru ($45), a “farmer fizz,” which means it’s made by a family that also farms the grapes.
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: More like a “frizzante,” I love La Spinetta Moscato d’Asti ($23) for brunch. Its fizzy, super lovely fruit has a touch of sweet and is low in alcohol … so it’s really perfect for continuing past brunch!
Favorite Big Red: Titus Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($50) from the Titus family. They’re making such great wine that most wineries would be charging double for.
Best Picks Under $15: Domaine de Nizas Le Clos ($10) from Languedoc in the south of France is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre that’s full of bright fruit and some gumption.
Best Kept Secret: Renzo Masi Chianti Riserva 2016 ($16).
Holiday Pairing Picks: For Heavenly Ham®, I’d recommend a dry Rosé from France. For Prime Rib, go for a big Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
Festive Champagne Picks: Pehu-Simonet Extra-Brut Champagne ($59) and Marc Hébrart Champagne Brut Rosé ($62).
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: Dibon Cava Brut ($12).
Favorite Big Red: Groth Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($60) or Darioush Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley ($122).
Best Picks Under $15: Benziger Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County ($15) and Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano ($14), a Tuscan white wine that is both crisp and minerally without being heavy and oily. Perfect with
a cheese plate, seafood, or light fowl.
Best Kept Secret: The Prisoner Wine Company Unshackled Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($25).
Holiday Pairing Picks: For Heavenly Ham®, J.L. Chave Mon Coeur Côtes-duRhône 2018 ($25). For Prime Rib, go for Andronicus Red Blend 2018 ($35).
Festive Champagne Pick: Château de Bligny Blanc de Blancs ($51).
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire ($17).
Favorite Big Red: Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($65).
Best Picks Under $15: Fontaleoni Vernaccia di San Gimignano ($14) and Les Garrigues Côtes-du-Rhône 2017 ($12).
Best Kept Secret: The Fine Wine Room. Out of sight from the main pathways through the department, many customers don’t even know it exists. Temperature controlled at 55°F, there are many luxury items in there in addition to very moderately priced ones, too.
Holiday Pairing Picks: For Heavenly Ham®, Pahlmeyer Jayson Pinot Noir ($50). With Prime Rib, Turley Old Vines Zinfandel ($37).
Festive Champagne Pick: Taittinger Brut Champagne ($55).
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: Biutiful Cava Brut Nature ($12), also available in a Rosé.
Favorite Big Red: Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon ($70).
Best Picks Under $15: Kalpela Vineyards Red Blend ($11) and Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc ($15).
Best Kept Secret: We have a wide selection of cocktail ingredients, including bitters, liqueurs, and vermouths, as well as many specialty non-alcoholic mixers.
Holiday Pairing Picks: I like a riesling with Heavenly Ham® and a nice California Cabernet Sauvignon with Prime Rib.
Festive Champagne Picks: Marc Hébrart Brut Rosé ($62) and the Mumm Cordon Champagne Rouge.
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: I like Cavas from Spain as they’re made in the traditional style. Biutiful Cava Brut Nature ($12) and Juvé & Camps Cava ($18) are both very nice and made in a very dry style.
Favorite Big Red: A Barolo from Piedmont, Italy, and a California Cabernet Sauvignon.
Best Picks Under $15: Hyatt Vineyards Rattlesnake Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley, Washington ($12), and Domaine de Pajot Les 4 Cépages White Blend Gascogne, France ($11).
Virgil started at DLM when he was 16 years old, working in a number of roles before joining the Beer & Wine department. “I got into the department out of an interest in craft beer but I quickly became enamored with wine and wanted to learn as much as possible, he says. “The greatest thing about working in wine is the vast amount you can learn, I found that you often aren’t just learning about wine, but you learn about a cultures cuisine and history as well.” His time in the Beer & Wine Department has also offered unique experiences, such as a trip to California where he was able to compete in a small cooking competition. “We were divided into two teams and had to compete to make a three-course meal that we had to pair with three different wines. It was the moment that my love of cooking and my love of wine intersected and I realized how the right wine with the right meal can make create a better combined experience than either on their own,” he says.
Best Kept Secret: Our selection of Amber wines from Georgia or Slovenia.
Holiday Pairing Picks: For Heavenly Ham®, try a dry sparkling wine like a Brut Champagne or Cava. For Prime Rib, I would recommend a Cabernet Sauvignon from California or a Zinfandel.
Festive Champagne Pick: Juvé & Camps Cava, Spain ($18).
Sparkling Wine for Brunch: Indigenous Prosecco Brut Italy ($15).
Favorite Big Red: Sequum Kidd Ranch Zinfandel Napa Valley ($41).
Best Picks Under $15: Cune Crianza Rioja Spain ($15), and Clos des Grands Primos Muscadet Loire Valley ($14).