On his way to becoming a sommelier, WinetasteTV contributor Chris Blanchard took an unusual route. He had a successful stint as a hip-hop artist under the name, DJ Vitamix. Blanchard recorded a hit song, "That's the Way Girls Are," but he abruptly switched careers after his record contract was terminated. He decided on law school and got a job as a salesman for E & J Gallo to help pay his tuition. That's when he fell in love with the wine business and didn't look back.
Blanchard, who has since worked as a sommelier at various restaurants, including the renowned Auberge Du Soleil, is now wine director at Redd in Yountville, located in California's Napa Valley. Besides appearing on camera for WineTasteTV, he writes the site's Wine Funk blog.
Videos Featuring Chris Blanchard:
Chris Blanchard loves discovering under-the-radar wines and combining them with innovative California cuisine. Now he uncorks Joseph George Sauvignon Blanc, a thrilling Napa Valley wine that is always on his list. More »
The Hudson Vineyard is already used in some of California's finest chardonnay. Now Chris Blanchard introduces us to Hudson's own bottling of the precious fruit. It's the perfect companion for lobster risotto, but it will do just fine all by itself. More »
You could go to Redd and order a great bottle of wine for $900. Or, you could get a perfectly delcious bottle for $45. That's what Chris Blanchard calls a steal. In this tasting, he turns us on to Baldacci Four Sons Cabernet Sauvignon, a great value that pairs with everything from chocolate cake to a thick cut steak. More »
Crocker & Starr Cabernet Franc makes Chris Blanchard sing, packing all the richness and flavor intensity of Cabernet Sauvignon, but with a rustic edge. It's another insider find from Napa Valley. More »
Super ripe and loaded with fruit. Chris Blanchard shares his affection for Brown Estate Zinfandel, a pure and distinctive Napa Valley insider's find. More »
Gargiulo Vineyards Merlot reminds Chris Blanchard of ripe cherries and blackberry pie. Now you'll discovery why he loves this under-the-radar find from Napa Valley. More »
Master Sommelier Chris Blanchard turns us on to another one of his rare Napa Valley discoveries, Shibumi Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon. See how power and elegance combine in this insider's find. More »
Chardonnay isn't just popular, it's one of the world's top wine choices. But why do we love chardonnay more than any other white wine varietal? As he kicks off his Grape Guide series, WineTasteTV's Chris Blanchard talks chardonnay basics: from the effects of oak to some of the best chardonnay food and wine pairings. Lobster risotto anyone? More »
Cabernet Sauvignon is King in Napa Valley. In his continuing Guide to Grapes, Chris Blanchard takes on the tannic power of cabernet sauvignon and talks about what he loves about this powerful red wine varietal. Smokey notes of espresso, chocolate, and rich, voluptuous fruit all make cab compelling. More »
Pinot Noir has been called the winemaker's wine. Beautiful to drink, but difficult to make. What makes pinot noir so versatile on the table, and what are some of the best pinot pairing choices? Chris Blanchard talks about why he loves pinot noir, in his continuing Guide to Grapes series. More »
Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect Spring wine. In another installment of his Guide to Grapes series, Chris Blanchard shares his respect for the fresh and refreshing characteristics of sauvignon blanc and describes some ideal food and wine pairing ideas for an afternoon party. More »
Syrah is one of Chris Blanchard's favorite varietals. Whether it's from the Rhone valley or the Napa Valley, find out why Syrah's massive aromatics make it the perfect varietal for food and wine pairing with meats and barbeque. More »
Ray Coursen's Elyse Winery has been turning out world class wines from top vineyard sources. Chris Blanchard visits with Ray and tastes 3 of his favorite wines. After 25 years in Napa Valley, it's all about tasting the fruit and staying down to earth. More »