The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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Malt Disney "T his is an adult Disneyland," says Martin Kari, Spirits Manager of Wades Wines & Spirits in Westlake Village, California. Kari walks me through what he refers to as "the widest, broadest selection of spirits" available. With 650 different malt whiskies, 600 varying tequilas and a collection of 160 vodkas, he claims that the store can "respond to virtually any request." Hard to obtain, rare and inde- pendent bottlings are his specialty as is the growing artisanal section. Kari has been a fan of single malts for over 40 years. "I tasted my irst in 1973," he recalls, speciically a time when he was in the audio- visual business in Minneapolis. He began working at Wades in 2010 after running a small store and internet business. Situated in an industrial park off the 101 Freeway, Wades doesn't have a sign that attracts customers; rather, it's a destination wine and spirits store with a tasting bar that has expanded into craft beer with 103 selections on tap and 40 wines, also on tap. And at Wades, unlike at theme parks, there are no long lines. —Meridith May Amari, Amore J eff Faile is sweet on bitter. As Beverage Director for Fiola and Casa Luca in Washington, D.C., he gained a following for his amari-based cocktails (including an entire section dedicated to Negroni variants.) Faile recently brought his passion and skills to Neighborhood Restaurant Group, where he serves as Beverage Director for its 14 concepts in D.C. and Northern Virginia. At the recently re-opened Iron Gate, Faile focuses on Italian and Greek spirits, including marsala, grappa, tsipouro, ouzo and yes, amari. The menu features sips like Heart Alive, with gin, grapefruit, curaçao, chocolate bitters, and Cappelletti, an Italian wine-based bitter liqueur. The most dificult challenge in managing the restaurant group's breadth and depth of beverage programs is staying focused. "I've had to realize I'm not able to be in every spot every day!" Faile plans to add kegged cocktails and housemade sodas and amari to the various menus. "I will keep the recipes on the simpler side so the lavor of the spirits will shine through." —Kelly A. Magyarics Trouble in Texas I was at the Formula One Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, with cars rac- ing around the track with a high-pitch whining/guttural growling sonic overload. "They're some of the most sophisticated machines— in the world," yelled Austin Hope. "Formula One is the epitome of motor sports. It's as big and fast and smart as anything in the world. And there is so much strategy going on." Hope, too, was demonstrating a bit of strategy—marketing strategy. Hope is winemaker for Paso Robles–based Hope Family Wines, which produces Austin Hope, Candor, Liberty School, Treana and Troublemaker. We were atop his Troublemaker bus—a 40-foot Airstream coach with bench seating on top. Painted bright red from stem to stern with kegs and a refrigeration unit built into the side, it's the centerpiece of the Troublemaker Tour and designed to bring Hope Family Wines directly to consumers in the form of a mobile tasting room. Although many selections from the Hope Family Wines portfolio are available, the bus itself is named for Troublemaker, a non-vintage blend originally launched in 2010 that has grown to 30,000 cases a year. Now on Blend 7 (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Zinfandel), it's become a run-away bestseller for Hope. —Anthony Head february 2014 / the tasting panel / 17 Austin Hope is in the driver's seat of the Troublemaker bus, which pulled up to the F1 races in Austin, Texas, last November. It's Not Such a Small World After All: Martin Kari has helped to expand the spirits business at Wades Wines in Southern California. Beverage Manager Jeff Faile outside Iron Gate in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: KELLY A. MAGYARICS PHOTO: KIRK WEDDLE PHOTO: ROB BROWN

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