Sommelier Tips Uncorked at Malibu Beach Inn

July 1, 2020 by Hidden Doorways

Set on one of the country’s most coveted beaches, Malibu Beach Inn epitomizes the perfect Southern California experience and seaside getaway. Their terrace, in particular, is a haven where guests forget about any worries and savor picturesque ocean views and beautiful sunny Malibu days while sipping a glass of one of their sought-after wines. We caught up with Joe Cervantes, the hotel’s Sommelier and Restaurant Manager of Carbon Beach Club, who walked us through celebrated terroirs and varietals plus his favorite wines for this summer.

How long have you been a sommelier with Malibu Beach Inn?

I have been the stand -in Sommelier for the Carbon Beach Club for just over 2 years alongside with being the Restaurant Manager for over 3 years.  I have been fortunate enough to have gained my Level 1 Introductory Court of Master Sommelier pin, as well as the WSET Level 2 in wine & spirits certification working alongside legendary Sommeliers like Peter Neptune.


What inspired you to become a sommelier?

The hospitality industry has always intrigued me.  Interacting with guests and having the ability to make their experience a memorable one is the reason why I decided to choose this for a career.  Being a Sommelier is all of that in one.  Not only are you able to talk wine or beverage with your guests, you are not limited to just that!  I feel like that is the best part about being a Sommelier and Restaurant Manager.  We are able to be of service to our guests with literally anything they need, and then wow them with a great California Cabernet.


Another reason why I wanted to continue with my studies in wine is the vast knowledge and history that can be learned just by picking up a book and tasting a wine.  You are then able to transfer bits and pieces of that knowledge to each and every one of your guests.


Can you walk us through CBC Restaurant’s extensive Wine List? What are some characteristics that you look for when selecting a new wine for your guests?

The Carbon Beach Club’s 250+ wine list gives wonderful examples of varietals from all of the world.  Organized by grape and region, you are able to find a beautiful Italian Vermentino for under $45 dollars, or take yourself to the storied vineyards of Opus One and enjoy the 2012 Cabernet which is a 100-point vintage.


When selecting new wines to put on the list, I think of a number of factors. The first factor is, does it have a place or a need on our list.  Meaning, do I already have something similar from that region or does it have the same flavor profile?  Is it interesting or have a background story as so many good wines do?  And lastly is it drinkable? That probably is the most important factor of them all.  Can I see our guests enjoying this wine on a beautiful sunny Malibu day on our terrace?


What are some of your favorite terroirs and which wines are you most excited about on your wine list?

I go through phases as does any wine lover I would presume. I have been really into our Champagne selections over these past couple of months. We have a wide array of bottles and price ranges which make it quite easy to find the perfect match for one of our guests.  I think with being couped up in quarantine for so long, people want to celebrate being out.  What better way than a chilled glass of Henriot Champagne.


Which wines do you recommend drinking this summer?

Summer in Malibu is all about rosé.  We bring magnums out for display to entice our guests to go big! We also have an allocation with Domaine Tempier’s classic Bandol rosé just for the Summer months. Needless to say, that stuff moves very fast. If the guest is looking for something with more character, I would recommend a white Burgundy from one of our Louis Latour selections.


How do you feel the wine industry is evolving?

I see a huge impact with young people and their overall interest in wine. Whether that be in the job industry or as a consumer.  It is now considered “cool” to drink wine, when not so long ago that was not the case for the younger crowd. Millennials demonstrate a high propensity to explore, favoring “new experiences” and varietals when making wine purchase decisions. This need to constantly discover something new has led to a continual rotation of “hot” varietals, which vary year by year. Rosé wines currently hold pride of place as the latest “it” wines: U.S. consumption of rosé grew by around 53% in the 52 weeks in 2019 alone.


Can you share any tips for guests when selecting a wine and common pairings?

I feel one of the easiest ways to pair wines when just starting out, (which a lot of people overlook) is pairing your wine with food from that region.  If you are having a Galician-style octopus, try it with an Albarino from Rias Biaxs Spain.  They go hand in hand!  Another perfect example of this is a cacio e pepe pasta with black truffles.  Sounds amazing by itself, right? Pair it with a Nebbiolo from the Langhe and be prepared to have more than one bottle.


Do you offer unique wine tasting or pairing experience for guests?

We have done a ton of very interesting wine tastings for our guest’s over the years.  Most recently we collaborated with Far Niente for our very first Zoom virtual Wine Maker’s Dinner.  This was during the dark days of quarantine and we were able to deliver a 4-course dinner with 3 bottles of wine paired with each dish right to the front door of our guests. We continue to push the envelope and find interesting ways to pair wine with life.

Where is your favorite place to enjoy a glass of wine at Malibu Beach Inn?

There is really only one answer here, ok maybe two.  Our outside dining terrace that sits over the Pacific Ocean is the ideal spot to relax and forgot your worries with a glass of Sancerre.  Most guest room balconies are ocean facing as well so you can imagine the beauty of having a glass in the privacy of your own personal terrace.



The Malibu Beach Inn
22878 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Toll-free: 1.800.4.MALIBU
Telephone: 310.651.7777

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