Sommelier and Wine Director Erik Segelbaum’s Journey to Monogram.
It was a situation of the right place at the right time with a ton of hard work that brought about this match made in heaven.
Erik Segelbaum, a sommelier, wine educator and wine journalist, joined Monogram in a first-ever role as the Wine Director. He leads the creation and direction of wine education at brand events to elevate the palates of consumers with sophisticated pairings as part of the Monogram Culinary Guidelines.
He has been named a 2020 Wine Enthusiast “40 under 40 Global Tastemaker” and Food & Wine Magazine “2019 Sommelier of the Year.” A truly accomplished sommelier, Segelbaum tells us that his “ultimate foray into wine isn’t particularly sexy,” but some might call his journey the American Dream.
BECOMING A SOMMELIER
Segelbaum started out as a chef in a fine dining French tasting menu restaurant, working up the ranks of the culinary brigade until he became the ‘chef de cuisine.’ There, he worked alongside a sommelier, tasting wines and developing complimentary dishes around them. It was working here that he found his drinking focus shift from alcohol to flavor and complexity. And it was also this job that made him realize it wasn’t exactly what he wanted in life.
“I was broke, coming in 3 hours before the front of house, leaving 3 hours after them and making about 1/3 of their income,” Segelbaum tells us. “I had crippling student loan debts and needed financial stability.”
After a decade behind the stove, Segelbaum made the move out of kitchens and into front of house as a captain, or head server, for a brand-new luxury boutique hotel in South Beach, Miami.
“It became immediately clear that my passion and knowledge for wine meant happier guests and financial stability,” Segelbaum recalls. “The desire to learn more was there and that drove me to take my introductory sommelier certification.”
And it wasn’t too long before he’d find that opportunity. Just months after achieving certification, the head sommelier of the hotel was let go. As the only employee with any wine certification, Segelbaum was thrust into the role of running the entire wine operation, and his journey to success took off from there.
“What I love most about wine is that it is so much more than simply a beverage. Wine, unlike any other product, is experiential, transformative and visceral. It can change our emotions and mentally relocate us to a different time or place. As a sommelier, I am blessed to be able to provide those positive reminiscences time and again.”
MONOGRAM’S NEW WINE DIRECTOR
A lover of luxury, Segelbaum was a big believer in Monogram appliances before the partnership.
“I’ve cooked on every commercial and consumer brand you can imagine,” Segelbaum tells us. “Monogram equipment is so far above and beyond in form and function that I’ll never go back to anything else.”
Word of mouth spreads, and eventually that led to Segelbaum’s newest role as Monogram’s wine director.
“My role with Monogram was borne out of a passing comment to a friend at a VIP food and wine event that I had all Monogram equipment in my home, and it was the best in class,” Segelbaum recalls. “That comment happened to be overheard by the right people and the rest is history.”
Segelbaum has already been hard at work, creating pairings for Monogram recipes for you to enjoy culinary perfection in the home.
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WINE PAIRINGS TO GO WITH THE PERFECT MONOGRAM RECIPES
You might recall James Beard award-winner Chef Edward Lee dropped recipes made for Monogram appliances. You can view them here. Now, Segelbaum has brought the perfect addition: wine pairings. Check them out below, along with tips for making the perfect pairing in your future recipes.
THE RECIPE: Chef Lee’s Seared Halloumi With Spiced Honey
If you don’t know, Halloumi is a semi-hard cheese made from goat’s and sheep’s milk popular in countries like Turkey and Greece. This recipe is a delicious appetizer served on a baguette.
THE PAIRING: Washington State Riesling, semi-dry.
The preferred selection is a Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Valley Riesling, with an SRP around $9-$11.
WHAT MAKES IT A MATCH:
The wine offers crisp apple and white peach aromas and flavors with subtle mineral notes. This is a go to Riesling that is incredibly refreshing and flavorful and easy to match with a variety of foods. Spicy foods need sweetness to balance (or the wine will taste sour). Being slightly off-dry allows this Riesling to lift up the saltiness of the Halloumi and the spiciness of the smoked paprika. Riesling has a natural honey note which will pair beautifully with the honey marinade.
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THE RECIPE: Chef Lee Blue Cheese Pepper Steak Bites with Horseradish Sauce
Inspired by the classic steakhouse condiments of pairing blue cheese and horseradish with steak, this dish is best served with high quality blue cheese, just barely melted.
THE PAIRING: Australian Shiraz (Syrah)
Some of the preferred choices include Jim Barry “Lodge Hill” Shiraz, with an SRP around $13.97, D’Arenberg “d’Arry’s Shiraz/Grenache,” SRP $14.47, or D’Arenberg “Laughing Magpie” Shiraz Viognier, SRP $15.49.
WHAT MAKES IT A MATCH:
Dark rich and jammy black cherry, black currant and roasted black plum are accompanied with beautiful baking spice notes of clove, cinnamon and black pepper. In the background are savory herbs and a slight smoky/bacon fat note.
“As a sommelier, I am a matchmaker. Now I can not only enjoy matching wine with our Monogram chefs’ recipes, but also help match the correct wine and culinary equipment to the correct home. There's no question that wine is a luxury. Monogram represents the highest benchmark in culinary luxury and is therefore a match made in heaven.”
This story was produced in partnership with our friends at Monogram. For more information about the new collections, click here.