By June 4, 2011 Read More →

NightView: Galletto

By Kate Serpa

When given a wine list at a restaurant,
I usually close my eyes as discreetly as
possible and haphazardly point something
out near the top of the page. Unsurprisingly,
this has continuously resulted in poor wine
The wine culture, I will admit, has
always made me feel completely out of
the loop. My pathetic understanding of
wine siphons into two categories: red or
white. This, I recognize, may present
me as both uniformed and juvenile in
wine connoisseur circles– but I know
I am not alone. Luckily for me, and a
select group of you ModestoView readers,
Modesto has its own super secret
wine-expert weapon that can inform
even the most hopeless cases (example:
myself) about the finer points in wine.
Nick Richars, other than being the
most consistently well-dressed person I
know, possesses an overflowing wealth
of knowledge of wine and has always
slightly intimidated me in this respect.
Putting my fears of wine-circle pretentiousness
to rest, Richars and I spent a
lovely afternoon discussing wine, and I
am happy to report that thanks to him
I am now able to confidently swirl my
merlot like a pro.
I do not need to tell you Galletto Ristorante
is an exceptionally beautiful restaurant.
Located in the center of downtown
Modesto, Galletto effortlessly
pours out class, warmth, elegance, and
staggeringly delicious wines. Likewise,
Richars seems to be a natural pick for
such an establishment. Richars has been
Cellar Master of Galletto Ristorante for
14 months and has been working with
wine for six years. Richars’ job as Cellar
Master (I will not say this sounds
slightly like a Dungeons and Dragons
title) entails ordering, managing, and
inventorying Galletto’s very impressive
700 selections of wine, which contains
4,000 bottles in inventory at any given
time. He does all this, and rocking a
three-piece suit, exceptionally well.
Until I met Richars years ago, I
was unaware there was such a thing
as a sommelier. This was, and still is,
incredibly exciting stuff for me, and
Richars is, and I do not exaggerate,
very talented in this respect. Richars
believes food and wine to be inseparable
(I agree), and this standpoint always
shines forth in his wine pairings. When
asked why he opted for wine instead of
bartending, Richars stated: “Cocktails
are created by an individual; different
components like fresh fruit or scotch
all play a part, but the final production
boils down to the bartender. Wine is
representative of a time and place; it’s
an experience, and it should always be
Richars is too modest to admit that
because of his skill, he has acquired following
of dedicated patrons. I cornered
and questioned one of them who stated:
“A good sommelier enhances the meal
and makes selecting perfect wines effortless.
Nick is not a good sommelier,
he is an excellent sommelier.”
So, what is a Cellar Master’s choice
wine? Richars says if he had to pick
a favorite that he prefers German and
Austrian whites because they have diversity
and are perfect for creating balance
in pairings. Favorite reds? Richars
said besides yours truly, he likes pinot
noirs and burgandys. I was surprised to
learn Richars does not have a favorite
bottle. When I pressed my disbelief he
stated: “My favorite is the one in front
of me or the next one.” Well said.
**An enormous thank you Nick
Richars, Galletto Ristorante, and
all of the establishments who support
ModestoView and have granted
me the amazing opportunity to nose
around and ask too many questions!

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