The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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Page 101 of 164

Bringing the EPTS ONC C GREAT Farm to Town by Meridith May / photos by Rob Brown HOMEY AND HONEST, FARMSHOP IS OUR "GREAT CONCEPT" PICK OF THE MONTH W e've all attended (and worked) wine dinners. You know the routine: Pair each course with a preselected item. How tired are you of short ribs with your Cab? At FARMSHOP in Los Angeles's Brentwood neighborhood, Restaurant Director Michel Darmon offers his customers a way out of the maze. As the restaurant kicked off the first of its"free form" wine dinners in late February, THE TASTING PANEL got to experience Darmon's idea firsthand: Here's the wine—order whatever you want off the menu. The themed "Paso Comes to FARMSHOP" event was well-attended, and the selection of Paso Robles wineries was stellar. "The Central Coast wine region is a gem," says Darmon. "And in my mind, Paso Robles in particular." The Wines Pomar Junction Winery 2010 Viognier : A sensational floral and peach number from one of our top-rated wineries in the area. We dubbed it "The Future of Paso" in a recent issue. Adelaida Cellars 2011 White: a viscous blend of Roussanne and Grenache Blanc that speaks of the über-calcareous soils and high-elevation vineyards. Round and fragrant. Tablas Creek Vineyard 2010 Esprit de Beaucastel: it's deep, dark, high-toned spiced minerality and wild brambliness speaks to the blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache, Syrah and Counoise. Cypher Winery 2010 Grenache: A small-production cranberry and rhubarb madness that melts with a teasingly exotic juiciness. L'Aventure 2010 Estate Cuvée: From Paso pioneer winemaker Stephan Asseo, this blend of Syrah, Cab Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grown in the windy Templeton Gap displays his signature Old World edge. It is structured and clean, with lines defined by minerality and filled out by cassis and espresso undertones. FARMSHOP owner Chef Jeff Cerciello and Restaurant Director Michel Darmon. Note the gourmet grocery store on the far end. Concept: FARMSHOP With an open kitchen, a wine bar, a gourmet grocery and deli and a chef/owner (Jeff Cerciello) who was Thomas Keller's Culinary Director and wrote the Bouchon cookbook, FARMSHOP takes on a personality that spins the American culinary dream to new heights. Take out or eat in, L.A.'s fortunate foodies love it. Paris-born Michel Darmon worked the high-end restaurant side, with such notables as Guy Savoy in Paris, River Café and Per Se in New York and Ad Hoc in Napa, where he worked with Cerciello. "Jeff and I were able to join forces again," notes Darmon, who is wont to admit that he is in love with American wines, especially from California. "My first loves included Kistler, Pahlmeyer, Tapestry and Rubissow," he confesses. "We are celebrating California with this restaurant, telling the stories about artisanal producers, whether it be a farmer, a honey producer, a cheesemaker or a winemaker." Cerciello is getting ready to open a FARMSHOP in Marin, in Northern California, this spring. "We won't have an artisan market, so the focus will be on a bigger restaurant," he explains. "Still, it will have the sensibilities of a NorCal approach as well as a 50-seat cocktail bar, high-end wine on tap and craft beer." april 2013  /  the tasting panel  /  101

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