Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

L.A. sommelier practices stem priming, or avinare

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 at 2:56 pm in Uncategorized.

Heard of the term? It’s a practice where stems arrive at the table with a hint of wine already in them. No, Jared Heber, the wine director at Mozza, is not that green, and I’m sure he was tickled by that joke the first 150 times he heard it.

It’s something Mario Batali, the owner of Mozza, picked up in Italy, and Heber is continuing the tradition. He pours one ounce of the wine to be served into the first glass. He gives it a swirl to cover the sides and then pours it into another glass. After rinsing all the glasses that are going to the table, the final and reduced pour ends up in a tasting glass for Heber.

The purpose of this priming is to rid the glasses of off-odors or other impurities, so that all you smell and taste is the wine you ordered. Detergents and rinsing agents can leave residues as well. Also, the process allows him to taste the wine and check for cork taint or other flaws.

Pretty cool. Anyone heard of San Francisco restaurants or wine bars doing this?

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