Marijke Shuegrue likes Rosé. No, she loves Rosé. (Courtesy Landry's Inc.)
I love to talk about wine with people who share my passion for it. We open bottles, we trade stories about travel and winemakers and terroir and residual sugar, and we talk of taste and food and cooking. We recommend wines to one another, we drink, and we learn a lot. In Wine Talk, I introduce you to some great people — individuals who love wine as much as I do, who live to taste and learn about it. You’ll appreciate their insight, and I hope you’ll learn something from them as well.
Marijke Shugrue is the general manager of The Oceanaire Seafood Room, and I met her recently while dining at the Galleria restaurant. She’s got 16 years of management experience under her belt, and has been learning about wine for a long time (as anyone who is serious about wine knows, the learning never ends). She worked with Mark Holley at Pesce, the restaurant that sparked her passion for the fine-dining experience, and her command of the dining room floor is impressive to watch.
She’s passionate about helping her guests find wines that they like, and she and I shared our love for Riesling during my meal. Her time spent living in Europe has resulted in a discerning palate, one that is constantly looking for the next great pairing.
Haven’t been to Oceanaire lately, or never? The rock shrimp are worth a taste, and the new chef, Lawrence Kirkland, knows how to cook fish. Give it a try, and talk to Shugrue about wine.
Tell me about three wines that are drinking well at the moment. What makes them worthwhile? How about a food pairing for each?
The 2015 Château de Berne “Impatience” Rosé, the 2013 Emeritus “Hallberg Ranch” Pinot Noir, and the 2015 M. Chapoutier “La Bernardine” Châteauneuf-du-Pape. I’m a firm believer that you drink what you like and whatever grabs your attention at the moment. It’s not always about the name of wine or the stature of the vineyard. It’s about what appeals to you. I love Peruvian-style scallop ceviche with the Rosé, baked salmon with a scallop and shrimp Sriracha topping (we call it Salmon Dynamite) with the Pinot Noir, and braised quail with a bing cherry demi-glace with the CDP.
Let’s say that cost is no consideration: What’s the one bottle you would add to your personal collection?
That would be 2007 Buglioni L’Amarone. This is the second release of this highly allocated wine that saw its initial release in 2000. They have plans to release another vintage soon, but they only release a vintage when they know it’s the best of the best. This wine is bright fruit, high acid,and has the capacity to lay on its side for 15 to 20 years.
What is your favorite grape? And why?
Grenache, because I’m obsessed with Grenache-based Rosé, the other pink wine.
How about one bottle that our readers should buy now to cellar for 10 years in anticipation of celebrating a birth, anniversary or other red-letter day?
Try the 2012 Hundred Acre Ark Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. This is truly a special-occasion wine. Hold on to this bad boy until you’re really ready to celebrate. Another favorite of mine is Regusci Cabernet Sauvignon. I would hold on to it for a few years and pop it on just the right occasion.
What is the one thing you wish everyone would keep in mind when buying and drinking wine?
Drink what makes you happy! Rosé makes me jubilant.
Besides your own establishment, where is your go-to place when you want to have a glass or bottle?
I love Sonoma on Richmond; it’s quaint and accommodating.
What was your “wine eureka moment” — the incident/taste/encounter that put you and wine on an intimate plane forever?
Although I was ecstatic to earn my Level I Pin with The Court of Master Sommeliers, I first fell in love with wine while working at Pesce. I was lucky enough to work with a group of individuals who were really passionate about food and wine. I learned so much working there for three years, and it motivated me to continue studying and learning about wine.
What has been the strangest (or most interesting) incident involving wine that you have experienced in your career?
One busy night at the restaurant, I couldn’t get a bottle of Champagne open. I was struggling so much that I almost gave up. Then I looked down at the cork, and at that very moment it popped right off and shot straight into my forehead! It stung for a minute, but the lasting bruise was definitely a conversation starter for a few days.
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