Uncorked with Council Oak’s Wine Sommelier

Did you know that there is a proper way to taste wine? There are five steps to be exact. Assistant manager and wine sommelier, Elise Cordell shares her secrets to pairing a glass of wine with your dinner at the Seminole Hard Rock Tampa’s award-winning restaurant Council Oak Steaks & Seafood.

There are five steps to tasting a glass of wine, she says: see it, swirl it, sniff it, sip it and then swish it. It seems simple, right? But it’s known that many guests sip their wine without even smelling it first. The five-step process allows a customer to become knowledgeable of the flavors and colors, which is crucial especially when pairing a glass of wine with your dinner.

Elise grew up in Ohio and was inspired by wine at a young age when visiting both vineyards and a wine cellar that her family had in their Ohio home. Her father was also involved in planting vineyards in the Great Lake region. In addition, Elise’s entire family took vacations to places that educated them on international food, wine and their many different cultures. Elise emphasized, “I may not have had the greatest clothes, but the vacations were a breath of cultural understanding.”

Following in her father’s footsteps Elise went away to college earning her degree from Cornell University. Shortly after graduation, she became uncorked and ready to dive in to the food and beverage industry. Elise worked for prestigious companies such as ABC Fine Wine & Spirits, Bern’s Steak House and now she is happier than ever at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Tampa.

Elise is classically trained to provide impeccable and unforgettable service to Hard Rock Tampa guests. She not only focuses on managing Council Oak employees, but she also provides advice to guests in need of a connoisseur suggestion.

Elise is always looking beyond the horizon when it comes to bringing in new wines and pairing them. She says with a smile, “I’ll never be an expert. There’s always something new to learn. There’s always a new trend. I’ll never grow tired of it because it’s ever evolving. I’ll only know a mere fraction of what there is to know.”

For those interested in learning more about wines, Elise recommends a book that Cornell chose as a college textbook, Wine for Dummies, written by Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan in 1995. She says it is the perfect book that has all of the terms and basic information that a person would be interested in wine.