The Panama City News Herald published an interview with VINTUS Italian Portfolio Manager and Master Sommelier Craig Collins, leading up to a Wine Social he’s hosting with Breakthru Beverage Group on August 8. The writer shares background on Collins’ 10+ year journey on becoming one of only 112 Master Sommeliers worldwide. Collins also highlights what he believes makes VINTUS stand apart from other importers.“We represent over 40 producers all over the world. Our company stands on two pillars. The first is all estates must be family owned and operated. The second is they must be standard bearers,” he said.
When it comes to what Collins looks for in a wine, he notes that his palate has changed a great deal over the years, adding “I don’t pay attention to the flavor. There are so many other things — the texture, finish, historical perspective. Is the wine varietal true? Does it speak to the place it is from? Each grape variety tastes unique before it’s put in the mouth, good or bad.”
Offering a fun perspective to consumers on how to think about wine, he says “Wine is a condiment, not a stand-alone beverage. It’s meant to make food taste better, to lubricate the conversation. Anything from Doritos to lobster can be enhanced by wine.”
Wine list and retail options can be intimidating, and he speaks about that with the writer as well. “Consumers get lost with choices and prices, thinking better must be more expensive. Trust your retailer or sommelier at the restaurant. Those individuals who do this for a living taste hundreds of wines every single week,” said Collins, who also added. “Drink what you want; don’t allow someone else’s opinion to influence you. No one can tell you what you like. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are or what color it is. If you like it, drink more of it.”
Find a few of Craig’s wine recommendations for everyday enjoyment below and read the full story HERE
Suggested wine pairings
Collins shared food pairings for three different wines — white, red and rosé — available locally.
“Attems Pinot Grigio – Friuli, Italy: Notes of peach, apple and lemon make this wine a perfect summer sipper. Enjoy it alone or pair it with cheese, fruit and light salads.
La Volte dell’Ornellaia – Tuscany, Italy: From the coast of Tuscany, this Super Tuscan red screams for food. Enjoy it with pasta, pizza or pork.
Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose – Rhone, France: This dry rose from the Rhone Valley has great texture and can accommodate a lot of different foods. I love this wine with grilled shrimp but it is equally at home with anything from the gulf.”
Côtes du Rhône
The Guigal family has made serious rosé wines since the 1940s, and their Côtes du Rhône Rosé, like all their Côtes du Rhône wines, is humble in name only. The wine bursts with irresistible fresh red fruits and yet is also long and satisfying. Because of its quality and body, it’s a rosé that you can bring to the table, and do so all year long. It is a rosé that offers both refreshment and pleasure.
Le Volte dell’Ornellaia combines a Mediterranean expression of generosity with structure and complexity, reflecting the philosophy of Ornellaia. It represents the first step into the Ornellaia family, and is an ideal wine for everyday enjoyment.
The Attems Pinot Grigio demonstrates all of the amazing qualities of the Collio region in Friuli Venezia-Giulia: it has superb weight and texture, and is mineral-edged, savory, tangy, and lively.
Rhône Valley, France
The more you learn about the Guigal family, the more astounding becomes their story. Their wines are the benchmarks for every Rhone appellation, and over the last thirty years they have become arguably the most lauded producer in the world. Year after year the Guigal family produces wines of exceptional quality that in all classes offer exceptional value.
Ornellaia has established itself as one of the most iconic producers in Italy (and beyond). The estate is dedicated to producing charming and opulent wines, full of Mediterranean character and finesse, reflecting the estate's unique terroir in Bolgheri on the Tuscan coast.
Attems is one of the most historic producers in the northern Italian region of Friuli, with a winemaking heritage dating back nearly a millennium. Attems wines have a decidedly Friulian character: fresh, full of flavor and elegant, they respect the singularity of the unique terroir of a region ripe for discovery.