The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FRED DAME Fred Dame enjoys tasting with Fandango owner Pierre Bain. A Conversation with Pierre Bain Owner, Fandango Restaurant, Pacific Grove, CA photos by John Curley Fred Dame: What a perfect day to overlook the Monterey Peninsula and sample these two superb wines, Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2011 and DeLille Le Chasseur 2007. Pierre, what is your favorite wine to enjoy? Pierre Bain: Well, I'm French and love Chablis, particularly the grand cru wines. Fred: I think this Flowers, being from the Sonoma Coast, has many of the same qualities as those wines, yet with its lovely California fruit signature. Pierre: I agree, this wine brings back some fond memories. Fred: You began on the Monterey Peninsula at Club 19 at Pebble Beach in 1966. I remember being schooled by you when I was learning about wine. When you took over Fandango in 1986, how many wines did you have? Pierre: It was a bistro menu with 40 wines. We quickly rose to 450 wines because I love wine and our Continental Basque cuisine is perfectly suited to many different varieties. Fred: That's a big jump. Do you feature French wines? Pierre: We started with a balance of California and France but quickly found that 32  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013 the rest of the world had wonderful wines as well. At one point we had 1200 wines on the list. In fact, I rented an adjacent home and converted it into a wine cellar to store the inventory. However, our customers really love California wines so today we have 950 wines, with 60% being California. Fred: The neighbors must love you on a busy night! So you have a full bar—has the cocktail revolution hit here? Pierre: To a small extent. Our sales continue to be 95% wine and 5% spirits. I enjoy being a restaurateur because I like to see my guests enjoying themselves and drinking big Martinis and fine wines! Fred: You have always been a "customers' man." What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to wine? Pierre: Well, I'd better say sharing it with my beautiful wife and partner Marietta. Fred: That would be very wise indeed! Pierre: I will tell you that I love to have a glass of champagne while I peruse a menu. There is just something wonderful about that moment of leisure before the dining experience begins.

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