Meet Sam Klingberg – Our Latest Wine Buff [INTERVIEW]

FILED UNDER: Bordeaux Journeys, Know Your Bordeaux

Say hello to the newest member of the Bordeaux Wine Buff team – Sam Klingberg – also known as the Broke Wino. Sam’s site was initially founded as a website devoted to finding great deals on wine in Chicago, but soon morphed into a mission of making wine interesting and accessible to the average 20-something consumer. We sit down with the Chicagoan to learn more about his interests in wine and what he would be doing if he wasn’t working in the wine industry.

When and how did you fall in love with wine?
When I was in high school I was really interested in pretending to be from anywhere but where I was actually from. I read a lot about other countries, and fell in love with France particularly. I read a copy Kevin Zraly’s Window’s on the World when I was around 16, I guess to get all into that holy trinity of bread, wine, and cheese thing. It just snowballed from there.

What do you enjoy about your job?
Anytime you get to match up what you absolutely love doing in life with a way to earn a paycheck, it’s golden.

Tell us about a memorable wine tasting you’ve attended.
I’ve been lucky to go to some incredible tastings, but I gotta be honest, I find those more like a lab experience than a truly enjoyable memory. I’m down for that random night when we opened a ’95 Ducru Beaucaillou and wished we had waited another 15 years.

How many wine bottles do you currently have in your home?
Unfortunately, I don’t have great storage in my place. But I keep about 20 or so wines.

What are your wine tasting tips?

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And now for your favorites…
Favorite Bordeaux wine from Today’s Bordeaux judging?

Chateau Trois Moulins, a lot of those ’08 basic Bordeaux wines are sipping in a sweet spot right now.

Favorite wine bar in Chicago?
Vera over on Lake and Green. Liz Menendez has crafted a globally minded, but Spanish-centric wine list that is almost as fun to peruse as it is to order from. She also offers probably the most sherries by the glass of any place in Chicago.

Favorite wine shop in Chicago?
Perman Wine over on Madison, super eclectic, smart design, and Craig is stellar. Plus, Harold’s Chicken Shack is next door, Champagne up that joint.

Favorite restaurant & dish in Chicago?
There’s so much to choose from, but right now I’m diggin Owen & Engine, a cool British Gastropub in Bucktown. They make some sick duck meatballs in a curry sauce. It’s a pain to get to there, but totally worth it.

Forget about wine, what else do you like to drink? Do you enjoy beer?
I’m really big into learning about distillation practices right now, and you gotta make beer to make whiskey, right? So, yeah, I drink it all. Except for cake shots, and dragon berry rum.

If you weren’t working in wine, what would you be doing?
Probably living in a van down by the river.

Outside of the wine world, what are some of your interests?
Everything, really. I’m one of those guys who reads every blog, jumps down the reddit hole at least once a day. But I cook a lot, and love working on my tournée cuts and such.

I’ve read somewhere you like notebooks…any recommendations?!
Right now I use a classic Mead composition college ruled. I used to use Moleskine to look cool, but, whatever. I also use Evernote a lot for electronic stuff.

Wanna know more about Sam? What is he writing in his many notebooks? Want cooking and wine pairing tips? Tweet at the Broke Wino or ask your question in the comments section below.

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