Photo by Erin Cooper

Norman Acosta is Lead Sommelier at Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar located in Monte Carlo Las Vegas Resort & Casino.  Acosta has worked in the Las Vegas food and beverage industry for the past 13 years, and is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to help shape the wine program at such an exciting new restaurant on the Strip. Join us as we shine a spotlight on his path to success, and get better acquainted with the man behind the wine list.  

How did you first become interested in wine?

Attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco was when I started to experience and appreciate wine as much more than an alcoholic beverage. I became fascinated in learning more about it.

What accreditations do you have within the industry, and which have you found to be the most difficult to attain?

I have a certification from The Sake Education Council but as for now, attaining the Advanced Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers has been the most challenging.

What was your initial reaction when you were told that you would be running your own wine program on the Las Vegas Strip?

Excited! Having spent years working with some of my colleagues in town, it was a great feeling to realize that I’ll be up for a new and different set of challenges and responsibilities that come along with the position. 

What most excites you about the wine program at Bavette’s Steakhouse & Bar? 

The size of the wine list! I initially had a perception that this wine program would require, at the least, 500 selections. Getting to learn the philosophy and culture behind Hogsalt Hospitality and what it brings to Las Vegas, managing a wine list of around 200 selections has definitely become, for me, the highlight of the program.

What is the most interesting, or your favorite, wine pairing with their menu? 

I think both of these pairings meet the interesting and favorite category, so I’ll give you two: 

- Peppered Duck & Goat Cheese Terrine served with warm buttered sourdough toast and apricot mostarda paired with a Pinot Noir from any region 

- Double-Bone Berkshire Pork Chop served with a citrus herb butter jus, topped with seasonal mushrooms paired with a Smaragd Gruner Veltliner

If you had to choose one wine to describe your personality on the floor at work and one to describe your personality relaxing at home, what would they be?

At work: A Bordeaux blend from Red Mountain AVA in WA; the wine displays great color in the glass, is bold, structured and yet balanced in all its components.

At home: A Kabinett Riesling; easy drinking with lively acidity and a little residual sugar once in a while ;)

Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

In building upon the experiences and gained knowledge from the next 5 years, I see myself taking what I’ve learned and applying them to newer or more challenging opportunities within the wine industry.