Though food was Rajat Parr’s first love, wine became his great passion. Luckily, Parr works in the best of both worlds as wine director for Mina Group and its signature restaurant, MICHAEL MINA, where he presides over a list that comprises wines from all over the world, including an in-depth list from Burgundy. Parr also presides over the RN74 wine list, a Wine Spectator 2010 Grand Award of Excellence winner.
“At Mina Group, I have the opportunity and challenge to find wines that can match the wide range of flavors presented within each restaurant, and even within a single dish at one restaurant,” says Parr. “In building multiple cellars, I have put an emphasis on mature wines which have the depth to fully complement the cuisine. Nothing is more pleasing than finding the perfect pairing.”
In 2003, Parr was named wine director of Mina Group where he is responsible for developing and managing the wine programs at each restaurant: MICHAEL MINA Bellagio (formerly AQUA Bellagio), ARCADIA (San Jose), NOBHILL TAVERN, SEABLUE, AMERICAN FISH and STRIPSTEAK (Las Vegas), SEABLUE (Atlantic City), MICHAEL MINA, RN74, BOURBON STEAK and CLOCK BAR (San Francisco), STONEHILL TAVERN (Dana Point),BOURBON STEAK (Scottsdale, Miami and Washington D.C.), SALTWATER and BOURBON STEAK (Detroit) and XIV (Los Angeles).
Parr released his first book, co-authored by Jordan MacKay, in 2010 – “Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals.” “Secrets of the Sommeliers” is a fascinating exploration of the inside world of sommeliers, sharing their unique perspectives, extensive expertise, and best stories. Parr’s profound knowledge of wines, enduring relationships with producers and renowned tasting abilities have made him a legend in the business.
Never resting on his laurels, Parr recently introduced, Sandhi, a new wine with Charles Banks, the former owner of Jonata Wines and Screaming Eagle, and esteemed winemaker Sashi Moorman. Sandhi will produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a focus on select vineyards of Santa Barbara County. The inaugural release was April 2011.
Parr began his career as an apprentice to one of the industry’s most acclaimed master sommeliers, Larry Stone at Rubicon. There, he worked closely with Stone to gain extensive knowledge of great wines from around the world, as well as an affection for wines of Burgundy. In 1999, Parr brought his expertise to Fifth Floor in San Francisco, which quickly received rave reviews and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator after only 2 years of its opening.
After earning a bachelors degree from the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Parr entered the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York.
Born in Calcutta, Parr credits his uncle in London for first introducing him to great wines.
At 37 years old, Parr is an ardent wine educator who has been invited to host seminars as well as lead panel discussions at several of the country’s most prestigious food and wine gatherings. He enjoys creating and hosting wine dinners that share his love of wine with others.