On this week's episode of "What's Eric Eating," master sommelier Keith Goldston and advanced sommelier Julie Dalton join CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler to discuss the wine program at The Post Oak. The luxurious Galleria-area hotel recently opened Stella's Wine Bar, which provides local wine enthusiasts with a new venue for experience the cellar's extensive selections.
The conversation begins with both sommeliers explaining how they decided to focus their careers on wine. From there, Goldston shares the story of how Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta tasked him with building The Post Oak's award-winning wine program from scratch. Dalton, who started her hospitality career as a server at legendary Galveston restaurant Gaido's, took advantage of the hotel's opening as an opportunity to return to Texas.
Ultimately, the sommeliers discuss the opening of Stella's with Dalton leaving her role at Mastro's to oversee the project. While she enjoyed her time at the steakhouse, Stella's smaller footprint and wine-focused atmosphere suits her.
"I feel like in a wine bar you're able to show more respect to the wine." she says. "I've worked in a situation like Stella's in Baltimore. That had such fond memories for me. I was always happy every time I worked there. I always wanted to get back there in some form. Stella's is it."
The interview touches on a range of other topics, including Dalton's perspective on balancing approachable vintages with under-the-radar picks. Also, both sommeliers offer their takes on the growing natural wine movement.
Prior to the interview, Sandler and co-host Michael Fulmer discuss the news of the week. First, they share thoughts on Hopdoddy's acquisition of Grub Burger to form a Texas burger powerhouse. Then they discuss the opening of The Cookery, a new cooking school with a diverse range of classes.
In the restaurants of the week segment, they hold a draft of their favorite burgers. Fulmer starts with Houston classic Lankford Grocery, while Sandler selects new school favorite Burger-Chan. Listen to the full episode to hear all of their picks.