The SOMM Journal

February/March 2015

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Page 42 of 92

42 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015 { carte blanche } Elizabeth Huettinger, Beverage Director of the Addison at the Grand Del Mar Local: San Diego So Cal drinking culture in a nutshell: Craft-driven "San Diego is a great beer mecca, but I also think our cocktail scene is really thriving. There's been an influx of great craft cocktail bars that are just killing it right now. I see amaro everywhere, and mezcal is a hot thing here as well. I also see more awareness and overall interest in sommeliers and what they do. This, coupled with the fact that our guests are coming in with a more open mindset to try new things and experi- ment, has given us a lot of freedom with what we pour." Chloe Helfand, Sommelier with the SLS Group (Bazaar Meat, Cleo and Katsuya) Local: Las Vegas Sin City drinking culture in a nutshell: Curious "I feel we have a more educated consumer with technology at their fingertips. I see more customers taking out their cell phones and using apps like Vivino and Delectable to con- nect with the wine on the table. I do feel that a lot of our guests like the interaction with a sommelier on the floor, whether it is to discuss a certain food and wine pairing, affirmation on choosing a particular bottle, or discussing a personal collection." Eric Larkee, Wine Director for The Genuine Hospitality Group Local: Miami The Magic City's drinking culture in a nutshell: Food-oriented "Commodity categories like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and Argentine Malbec are still big sellers. There isn't really brand loyalty, and guests are usually happy with the wines as long as they fit into the expected profile. If you see something on our list that seems really well-priced, be it red Burgundy, dry German or Austrian Riesling, grower Champagne, Madeira—it's because we want you to drink it with our food." Scott Ota, Manager and Sommelier at Arro Local: Austin Lone Star drinking culture in a nutshell: Independent "Seasonality has always been important in the kitchen, but we are finally starting to see seasonality in bever- age programs. It's so refreshing to see a wine list or cocktail program that reflects the time of year. With Austin's growth, I'm very happy to see the number of corporate-set lists fade away. Independent restaurants and bars are opening everyday with well-chosen, crafted selections that reflect the personality of the buyer and the guests being served." Mark Bright, co-owner/Sommelier at Saison Local: San Francisco Nor Cal drinking culture in a nutshell: Returning to the classics "People here are returning to basics of the Old World—Loire, Rhône and Burgundy, especially some of the funky regions of Italy and cool wines coming from the rural areas. For cocktails, people are really in love with amaro and savory mixed drinks, especially at Saison. People are always asking for cocktails that are not sweet; the old bombs of sugar and alcohol are going away. For wine, people are learning and loving more wines from the Loire and you see a push back from the bigger structured New World wines. Balance is in." Somm Culture from Coast to Coast

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