Steven Krueger spends most of his days recommending wines to the patrons of the Westin la Cantera as the resort’s sommelier. Recently, he was given the opportunity to try his hand at making some wine of his own.
He was one of a select group of sommeliers that spent time at Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley town of Rutherford, Calif., in order to learn about what goes into making wine. The end result will be bottled under the label 2009 Sommelier Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. It will be sold only at restaurants, such as Francesca’s at Sunset in the Westin.
Also on the panel were Virginia Phillip of The Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.; David Flom of Chicago Cut in Chicago; Matthew Turner of San Francisco; Emily Wines of Kimpton, San Francisco; Steve Giancotti of Lawrys in Dallas; Ron D’Allegro of Knickerbocker, New York; Jim Gallagher of Cole’s Chop House in Napa; and Steve Hirsch of Heritage, Chicago.
All of their names will appear on the back label, which will fold out and include a short bio of each.
According to the Raymond website, this was the second year that sommeliers have been invited to create a Cabernet Sauvignon blend for the winery. Of the first, it says, “Together, the sommeliers crafted a unique Cabernet Sauvignon, blended from the finest quality grapes in Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties into the 2008 Raymond Sommelier Selection. The Sommelier Selection is an exclusive on-premise offering from an iconic Napa winery and a small cadre of the country’s most prestigious sommeliers.”
Krueger was honored to be included in the group. As he writes on his blog: “For me it was very exhilarating to contribute.”
The 2008 Raymond Sommelier Selection is now available at Francesca’s now for $14 a glass or $55 a bottle. The 2009 bottling that Krueger worked on will not be released until after the new year.
Also at the Westin, in the newly renovated Steinheimer’s Lounge, Krueger offers an ever-changing list of wines that can be sampled from 5 to 6 p.m. The four-wine tasting costs $10 a person.
For more information, call 210-558-6500.