Pouring Insights: A Q&A with Cara De Lavallade, Advanced Sommelier
Let’s chat casually with Cara De Lavallade, Posana’s Assistant General Manager and Advanced Sommelier, as we explore a bit of her journey into her love of wine, hospitality and becoming a sommelier.
Q: What inspired your journey into becoming a sommelier?
A: I wanted to become a sommelier because I possess an inherent love of learning about the world, including geography, culinary traditions, languages, culture, people, and plants. I discovered that the study of wine encompasses all of these elements and more. I also discovered that the people who work in the wine industry are passionate, intelligent, often fascinating individuals who tend to share similar outlooks on life. I wanted to be a part of this community. And I had many excellent mentors and supporters early on in my career who helped me study and fine tune my tasting skills.
Q: Other than wine, what’s your preferred alcoholic beverage?
A: That is a hard one! Having just returned from a trip to Japan, I’m currently diving deeper into sake. It’s a fascinating, nuanced beverage that has a lot more complexity to it than most people realize. It can pair beautifully with food and it always makes me happy when I’m drinking it.
Q: Any standout moments in the past year, either personal or professional?
A: I have just loved getting to know the Asheville food and wine scene better throughout the past year. Having only been in this area just over a year, it’s been inspiring to me to see the level of talent and ambition in Asheville. There is a strong foundation in this city and so much opportunity for further development.
Q: Advice for aspiring sommeliers?
A: For me, working as a sommelier is about service and hospitality first. People who are interested in the story of wine are drawn to this profession and those who are passionate about creating amazing experiences for guests excel and find satisfaction in it. It’s about way more than blind tasting or memorizing wine facts, it’s about connecting your knowledge with the practicalities and needs of the restaurant and your guests. It’s also pretty much the best job I could ever think to have and I would recommend anyone give it a try. 🙂
Q: Your favorite or most unexpected wine and food pairing?
A: I have this undying loyalty to Pineau des Charentes, an old-school style, French dessert wine made in the Cognac region. I had success pairing it with blistered shishito peppers at a Mediterranean restaurant I worked at in Seattle. The sweet, caramel-like, nutty wine with the roasted, green, slightly spicy pepper was a totally unexpected delight.
Q: Share a lesser-known fact about the wine world.
A: Did you know that there are official Wine Authenticators that are employed to assess the provenance of rare and fine wines? They are specially trained to examine wine labels and packaging to detect fraudulent bottles. The film Sour Grapes dives into the topic of wine fraud and how much money is at stake. I highly recommend watching it!
Cara’s not just about wine; she’s an adventure seeker, a fantastic leader, and an enthusiastic guide through the vineyards of life. Let’s raise a glass to the endless stories and discoveries waiting in each bottle. Cheers to the unfiltered joy of savoring life, one cork at a time!
Meet Cara De Lavallade
Meet Cara De Lavallade, Posana’s Assistant General Manager and Advanced Sommelier. Originally from Seattle, she has recently moved to Asheville from Sedona and holds over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has lived and worked in some amazing places such as Argentina, Silversea Cruiselines in the Mediterranean, and Seattle.
Her many accolades include a Level 3 Wine & Spirits Education Trust Award, Advanced Sommelier from Court of Master Sommeliers, French Wine Scholar Award and Lustau Certified Sherry Specialist.
When not at Posana, you can find Cara hiking with her pups, Nebbiolo and Reggiano, or practicing a new interest in Archery!