Cellar Master - Mr. Steve Ebol

Antonello's Cellar Master Mr. Steve EbolHaving developed a virtual treasure trove of fine wines for one of Southern California’s finest restaurants, Steve Ebol brings 28 years of experience and knowledge to his position as Cellar Master at Antonello Ristorante. When he was requested by Antonello owner/proprietor Antonio Cagnolo to oversee the dining establishment’s already acclaimed wine cellar, Ebol shifted its emphasis from French vintages to include more Italian and Californian wines.

Since assuming the reins in 1990, Ebol has tripled the restaurant’s inventory, which now includes more than 10,000 bottles of wine and 300 labels.

Ebol began his career in 1980 when he was named beverage manager at he Treasury Hotel in Las Vegas – a position he held for three years. He quickly learned all about wines and developed a passion for the grape that continues to this day. In 1983, he was named wine director and manager for Swiss Inc., owners of five Swiss Cafes in New Hampshire. During his tenure there, he quickly developed a reputation as a wine expert and was even tapped by the "first family of wine spirits," the Martignetti’s, to serve as wine consultant. He served in that capacity for the next eight years while continuing to hold his restaurant management position (he left Swiss Inc. in 1987 and became general manager for the highly popular Vincenzo’s in Boston for three years).

He left the East Coast in 1990 to accept the Cellar Master position at Antonello Ristorante. His passion and heartfelt love for wines is contagious and may of Antonello’s longtime patrons have and continue to share his enthusiasm for fine wines for nearly a decade. In addition to his sommelier duties, Ebol works closely with various vintners and holds wine maker dinner, wine lectures and seminars and even writes a periodic newsletter about wines. His continued thirst for knowledge often takes him on expeditions around the world where he searches for fine wines.

"Sip Wine Slowly To Taste its Full Bouquet of Flavors"

According to Steve Ebol, Cellar Master at Antonello Ristorante, and 1998-99 Southern California Restaurant Writer Sommelier of the Year, good wines, with their variety of flavors, should be sipped, tasted and savored to capture their full and wonderful bouquets. Good wines are nurtured and stroked by wine makers to have many different flavors, explains Ebol. ‘Some wines have exotic flavors with hints of black currants and other exotic fruits. Others are rounder and softer with tastes of vanilla, oak and butter. Many people miss those flavors because they drink the wine too quickly.’ Ebol suggests that you sip the wine, slowly at first. Then, keep it in your mouth for a few moments, and gently trill it, moving it from side to side before you swallow it. "By tasting wine in this manner, you unlock its ethereal effect. You register its flavor in the roof of your mouth, while stimulating all of your taste buds.

"If you spend eighty dollars for a bottle of wine and gulp it down, you’ll miss most
of its flavor, and it won’t taste much different than a ten dollar bottle of wine."

Confused by Italian Wine Labels? Steve Deciphers The Code!

Hello wine lovers!!

Since I returned from my wine discovery trip to Italy, many of you have made mention of how confusing some of the Italian red wine labels can be when it comes to choosing a bottle of wine.

In response to this question, I have decided to write a wine column about the simple ABCs of the Italian red wine label and the grape varieties used in each popular region. Let's begin with the Piedmont region. The very popular regions of Barolo and Barbaresco (the king and queen) will always use the Nebbiolo grape. This grape can offer a lot of power and flavor, but it lacks the deep color of many other Italian varietals.

Next would be the Veneto region to the North, in particular the Amarones. These come from the semi-raisonated grapes of Valpolicella, which are Rondinella, Corvina and Molinara to create this high-octane monster!

Heading south to Tuscany, lets start with Chianti Classicos and neighbors. Originally, the blend needed Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Trebbiano and Malvasia, but with the advent of modern winemaking, most wineries just need to use at least 90% Sangiovese and 10% of most any other varietal to be called Chianti!

Next we have Brunello di Montalcino, which uses 100% Sangiovese Gentile and nothing else! Finally, we get to the "Super Tuscans". This category opens a giant can of worms! This category covers all the non-traditional blends of Tuscany (that is, those who choose to break the rule's!). In this category, the use of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot are often blended to create some of the most memorable wines produced anywhere in the world today!!

Remember, life is too short to drink cheap wine! Salud! Ciao!!

The Last Word

Don’t over-chill white wines, Ebol suggests. Take them out of the refrigerator an hour before serving. Reds, on the other hand, should be put into the refrigerator an hour before serving, and chilled to 65-68 degrees. Wines, when carefully selected, properly chilled and sipped slowly are wonderful all by themselves. Match them with your most elegantly prepared cuisine and you’ll create an evening to remember.

Antonello's Cellar Master Mr. Steve Ebol