Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora
Written by Janelle Carter of The Cork Chronicles
André Hueston Mack, winemaker and owner of Mouton Noir Wines, thinks of himself as something of a black sheep within the wine industry, hence the name “Mouton Noir” which is French for “black sheep.” But, I think of him as something closer to genius. Just six months into his career as a sommelier, he won the prized distinction: Best Young Sommelier in America in 2003. With such a quick ascension among the ranks of sommeliers, you might be surprised to learn that André is self-taught. As a waiter in a Texas steakhouse, he realized that wine must be significant if the most expensive meal on the menu was $50, but the most expensive wine was $5000. His work ethic motivated him to study wine for hours after work, reading every wine book and tasting every type of wine he could get his hands on. For he knows that you aren’t necessarily born with a gifted palate, you get better with practice. He then mastered the role of wine director at Thomas Keller’s distinguished three Michelin starred restaurants—French Laundry and Per Se—before becoming a winemaker and creating his own label, Mouton Noir.
André is exceptional, not only for his ability to quickly master the world of wine and create his own thriving wine label where he is the winemaker and sole owner, but also for his ability to think differently to connect with wine consumers in innovative ways. Indeed, that is where his passion in wine lies. He is most gratified by the excitement in someone’s facial expression when they take the first sip of a wine he presented. This is what made 16 hour work days as a sommelier worth it, and it is what motivates him to create high quality wines that drink well above their price point.
Mouton Noir Wines distinguishes itself from other wine producers by its tongue-in-cheek wine labels. The labels’ cultural references highlight the personality of the wine inside the bottle as well as the man who made it. With names like Ante Up, Faux Originale, Love Drunk, and O.P.P., Mouton Noir wines must have huge personalities. A wine with lots of personality that tastes great is one that I’ll drink again and again. You can purchase Mouton Noir wine directly from their website. It is also sold in a limited number of high end restaurants around the country.
An African American owned wine shop located in Brooklyn, BedVyne Wine, is giving away another bottle of wine and a tote bag to one randomly selected reader who “LIKES” Kwanzaa Culinarians on Facebook and leaves a comment below.
BedVyne Wine A boutique wine shop in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. We offer a large selection of carefully curated wines from all over the globe. Our wines are arranged by taste, not by region, so our customers are able to enjoy wines from many regions that will fit their palette. Cheers!
CONTEST DETAILS: Contest starts Wed., Dec. 14, 2011 and ends Wed., Dec. 23 at 10 p.m./PST. Winner announced on Wed., Dec. 28th. Contest open to residents of the continental United States, excluding Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. foreign territories over age 21. No additional purchase or shipping expenses are necessary. Prize cannot be exchanged. If wine shipping is restricted in your state, you may be ineligible to win. Must provide an email used only to notify the winner and for shipping information.