Claudia Tyagi has set up wine programs at Detroit's high-end restaurants for decades. She currently consults at the Rattlesnake in Detroit and Forest Grill in Birmingham, and wrote the first wine list for the new Joe Muer Seafood in the RenCen. She is the seventh American woman to pass the rigorous British wine exam to be certified a Master Sommelier, in 1997.
How do you begin writing a wine list today compared to past years?
With every project, I change with the season and definitely change as the menu evolves. A wine list is not a static thing — it's dynamic. The more I get an idea of what a chef is doing, what guests perceive, and what wines they enjoy that work with the food, the more the list changes.
Wine lists were more formulaic in the past. When Madeline (Triffon) and I were at La Fontaine in 1977, we were two young women with passably believable French accents. They put us in pretty gowns and put a tastevin around our necks and told us to sell wine. And we did.
Cool feature on our friend Claudia!