Eddie Osterland, America’s first master sommelier knows a bit about elegant entertaining. He has advised all manner of celebrities and executives. Entertaining well isn’t just about taking clients out for a few drinks, it’s about creating a memorable experience that your client will associate with you. Osterland’s book is all about using knowledge of wine to provide pleasure. Instead of focusing on schmoozing he brings the focus to the food and wine which is often the afterthought rather than the center of the event.
How many boring hotel and restaurant meals have you sat through at various business events? Probably more than a few. Remember what was served? Most people don’t. But what if you crafted a custom experience with wine pairing and wine/food combinations that your clients have never tasted before? What if you serve pairs of wine together so your guests can compare and contrast? Then you’ve created not just a meal but a memory. Osterland gives tips on menu planning, dealing with hotel caterers, restaurant staff and sommeliers so that your guests will be dazzled.
The second half of the book includes many tips on understanding the various kinds of wine and varietals across the country including the differences between distinctions such as grand cru and premier cru. There are also plenty of food/wine tips such as: “If it grows together, it goes together.” He also advises making sure the “weights” match when pairing foods. Full-flavored foods need robust wines. Rich wines can overpower lighter food. Fattier foods need more acidity. Think complimentary flavors and pair complex wines with simple desserts. Read Eddie’s Ten Commandments of pairing on his website.
This isn’t a heavy wine book. Osterland’s style is bright and heavily enthusiastic. Although it’s called Power Entertaining, the book is really less about overall entertaining and more about how wine can enhance business life.