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July 28, 2014

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The matchmaker

Going grape with wine sommelier Krista Rediske

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Beverly Poppe

Rao’s sommelier Krista Rediske

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Sourced out of Jameson Canyon in Napa Valley, the cabernet sauvignon is one of three California labels in the Rao's Signature Wines family. With a slightly acidic taste that hints at French oak, the cab complements without overpowering and pairs nicely with the restaurant's veal Parmesan, chicken scarpariello or even the salmone alla harissa sauce. Available at Rao's and at Whole Foods Markets throughout Las Vegas.

After a peripatetic childhood that took her from Louisville to Houston to Iowa following her father, "a bigwig with KFC," Krista Rediske is back where it all began in Las Vegas, sharing her knowledge of wine as head sommelier at Rao's inside Caesars Palace.

Rediske was waiting tables when she "realized at the end of the night, I only had a good night if I was talking about wine with my guests."

That interest became a full-blown passion at Emeril's New Orleans Fish House, where she experienced firsthand Chef Lagasse's celebrated wine program. When Rao's opened three years ago at Caesars, the move was a no-brainer.

"I heard they were opening up and begged and pleaded and did it the obnoxious way," she said.

Rediske now oversees a "lean, focused" list of 300 labels, many from Italy and California, as well as Rao's own signature wines. Part of the fun for Rediske is educating her guests in some of the more esoteric Italian labels.

"A lot of other wine programs, people shoo you away because they think they know everything (by) looking at the list," she said. "With ours — deer in headlights: 'Oh my God, Italian wine. I do not understand this. Help!' So for a sommelier, it's a lot of fun actually. You get to talk to your guests more."

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