If you’ve already started planning your Summer dinner parties and backyard gatherings, chances are you’ve wrestled a bit over the best wines to serve with your spread. Thankfully, Corey D. Boddie ESQ has put together some helpful tips on serving up the perfect options in his book Easy Wine: A Really Quick Guide to Choosing and Enjoying Wine.
The key word here is “easy”, because although he is a strong attorney and could easily pontificate for hours on the topic, Boddie chose to share his thoughts in a way that everyone can understand. After all, entertaining at the family BBQ shouldn’t require you to read a thesis on spirited fragrances and undertones, right?
In our exclusive interview with Corey D. Boddie, he explains why he chose to get a real education in wine, and how personal experiences led him to writing such a fun book. He also gives us a useful list of wines we can pick up immediately to prepare for our next get together! Read on, and learn more about this multi-faceted entrepreneur…
What inspired you to write a book about wine?
Corey D. Boddie: I live between New York and California, so when I’m in California I’ll throw dinner parties occasionally and people come because they know they are going to have some really good wine. But when they come I always get a million questions – and then I found myself repeating [advice]over and over again with my friends. [Laughs] I said “Well then let me write a book.” That was the actual inspiration to essentially share with my friends.
What would you say are the biggest misconceptions people would have about wine?
CDB: I think the biggest misconception is that people think that there are rules about it – like when you talk about pairing red meat with a red wine. Well, that’s not always true. It’s basically what the consumers themselves enjoy. It’s what you like.
For example, I like a white Sauvignon Blanc which is like crispy, kind of lemon-grassy on the nose. I love that with well seasoned chicken breast. A lot of people think that the more seasoning you put on a particular food… the bigger [flavor], the bolder the wine has to be to enjoy it. But no, not at all, because technically everyone’s taste buds are different, but the thing is that there are some similarities. So that’s the biggest misconception, that there are rules.
What is the process of getting to your level of expertise in the wine business?
CDB: I actually studied at the Napa Valley Wine Academy. I’ve always been a huge wine person, but I’m one of those people that once I love something, I need to know everything about it. I don’t like being in the dark about anything. For example, I go to France once a year, Bordeaux, Burgundy; you know those premier wine regions of the world. When you’re over there, the wine is great, but I just wanted to know more so I said “Screw it, let me go to school on it.” I actually made the transition to Los Angeles about two years ago, and in my spare time that’s exactly what I did. I focused in on studying.
I studied at the Napa Valley Wine Academy and I also got certification through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), which awards people a Masters of Wine. On the other track are the Court of Master [Sommeliers], which some people are familiar with. If you go to a really fancy restaurant and there’s a person who’s [helping]you with pairing your wine, that is a Sommelier. Those people focus in on the service that they give you. WSET is mostly for educators and they focus less on service.
What went into creating this book that you weren’t anticipating? What are some new things you learned about yourself and the business in the process?
CDB: What I learned about myself is that I can basically write a book in a couple of days. [laughs]I actually obviously did a little bit more research, even above and beyond what I already studied, but tried to put it into layman’s terms and be very concise, fast, and quick.
The average person may want to know about hobbies or interests that they have, but they don’t want to sit down and read a 250-page reference book about it. So that’s why I tried to make it as short as possible, and honestly I don’t think it can get any shorter than a 15-minute book. Also to make it conversational so that they won’t feel intimidated by the large words – and even when the large words pop up, I kind of make fun of those large words. So that was the reasoning behind that. But I also learned that it could be condensed.
What would you say are the absolute best wines that someone can enjoy for Summer? What makes them special for a warmer weather gathering?
CDB: I chose these wines specifically to focus in on affordability. There’s a fine line in the wine world where the average person might think a high price point equals quality, that doesn’t work in the wine world.
A thousand dollar bottle of wine doesn’t mean the best bottle wine you’ve ever have in your life. It just means there are other factors as to why it’s a thousand dollars. For example, it can be an 1855 vintage but the wine is horrible because it’s almost 200 years old. I focused in on an affordable price point, but also quality. I also focused obviously on the season being late Spring, early Summer.
- Rarecat Granache Rosé – RarecatWines.com $24
- Foxen 2012 Pinot Noir, John Sebastiano Vineyard – FoxenWinery.com $48
- Jadot Beaujolais-Villages – Local wine store (LouisJadot.com for more info) $12.99
- Kalyra 2012 MC2 Member’s Blend – KalyraWinery.com $33
- Peju 2014 Sauvignon Blanc – Peju.com $22
This list is definitely varied. One might think “Summer time, a lighter sweeter wine” – well no, not really, because those light sweet wines don’t go with meat that you put on the barbecue. I mixed and matched a lot also for accessibility because people can go directly to the websites that I listed along with your local wine shoppers or supermarkets and they will have the wines as listed.
What are your goals for the next couple of years?
CDB: The bigger goal is to just immerse myself in the industry and spread the word, so to speak. After this book has run its course, I also plan on writing another book that focuses in on pairing, taking out the complexities and hard aspects of pairing, making it really short and easy and just giving people nuggets of things to take with them when they’re actually looking to pair up a wine with a specific food.
I touched on it with Easy Wine but in the next book I’m going to dive into it a little more, but still make it concise. I’m also huge on photography, so there’s also going to be a coffee table book as well that’ll be focusing on the lesser known wines around the world, and it’s going to be actual photos. That’s the route that I plan to take from the literary side of what’s going on. To reach the masses is the bigger picture for me.
What do you want people to know most about you as a man in this stage of your career and life?
CDB: For me, it’s about living life to the fullest and quality of life. Wine has always been a hobby of mine. It’s never been in the forefront, and I’d never thought of the business aspect of it, but when I think about wine or when I’m dealing with wine, I’m happiest. In order for me to stay in that happy spot, why not do something in a area which keeps me happy outside of practicing law? My friend also represents certain wineries around the country. I also have a wine import business as well, which put me in on the business side of wine.
The message that I’d want to leave people is, focus on what makes you happy. I know it’s very cliché, but I want people to watch what I do and show that’s its possible.