A wine professional “dedicated to enjoying and helping others enjoy fermented grape juice”, Dave Lund CSW is the Wine Director at III Forks in Austin, Texas where he oversees an array of fine wines from a spectacular walk-in wine room that houses over 500 selections.

How did you fall in love with wine?

There are very few subject matters where art and science are so beautifully married.

As Wine Director how many selections do you oversee at III Forks?

We serve 470 labels by the bottle and an additional 50 wines by the glass.

What is your approach to selecting wines for the menu?

With a program this size, I’m afforded the opportunity to make sure that the world of wine is well represented while providing a focus on big reds. I seek out wines of value with points of distinction that exhibit a sense of place.

How would you characterize the wine culture in Austin?

Austin has a diverse array of wine drinkers. Everything from the enthusiast who dares not stray from California to geeky young professionals without absolutely any brand loyalty. This range is great because it allows us to play with both the classics and esoterica. It’s also important to mention that Austin has a host of very talented wine professionals who work hard to elevate the wine culture.

Red wine & steak usually goes hand in hand, what kind of white wines can also pair well?

Glad you brought this up! I diligently push wine fans towards certain whites with steak. Vintage Champagne is unbelievably versatile and can accompany almost any cut of steak. German and Austrian dry Riesling with some age can be transcendental, especially with dry-aged cuts. With tenderloin, expand your pairing horizons with a Godello from Valdeorras.

What is your opinion on the 100-point system?

It is important to understand that these ratings come from people, not gods. People have different tastes and even different physiology that makes these numbers very subjective. With that said, if you find a critic that has similar tastes to you, ratings can help you whittle down an otherwise intimidating array of choices.

5 Wine Rules That Really Matter

  1. Don’t let people tell you what characteristics you’re tasting or not tasting. Allow your analysis to come from within.
  2. The more you taste, the better taster you become.
  3. No matter how much you know about wine, someone else knows more. Don’t be pretentious and keep learning!
  4. Drink what you like, but don’t be afraid to let your preferences change.
  5. Wine always tastes better when shared.

Do you have a favorite food-and-wine pairing at the moment?

My most memorable pairing as of late was Peking duck with pear sauce and an orange Pinot Grigio. The hefty phenolics of the wine stood up great to the protein and the pear-focused aromatics danced with the sauce. The increased access to orange wines has opened up new pairing frontiers.

Photo Credit: David Zuhse

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