The SOMM Journal

February/March 2015

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Page 48 of 92

48 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } FEBRUARY/MARCH 2015 { meet the wine director } PHOTO COURTESY OF SPOON AND STABLE BILL SUMMERVILLE HAS MADE A CAREER OF PERCH- ing on the pinnacles of the Minneapolis dining scene. From his former positions at dearly departed D'Amico Cucina and highly regarded La Belle Vie to his new gig as General Manager and Wine Director for Gavin Kaysen's Spoon and Stable, which opened to wildly enthusiastic fanfare last November, Summerville has played an instrumental role in shaping the fine dining experience of a generation of Minneapolitans. So it's say- ing a lot that he feels like he has a lot to learn. "I wanted to challenge myself to work with a guy like Gavin," Summerville said of his decision to sign on with Kaysen, the James Beard Award–winning chef who counts legendary res- taurateurs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller among his friends and mentors. "I've been in this business a while, but this is like an opportunity to go to grad school." In addition to training staff and carrying out his other front-of- the-house responsibilities, Summerville gave considerable thought to selecting the wines to be included in the restaurant's "collec- tion," as he prefers to call it. ("It's not a wine list," he insists. "A gro- cery list is a list . . . It's insulting to the idea of a great collection of wine.") His Piedmont section, for example, makes no attempt to be comprehensive, but opens a carefully framed window into the region's best wines. "I've got five Barolos, and many of them are from the same producer," he says. "I chose those wines because they are wines that I want people to take a chance on, that I want people to drink, that I want people to love." Summerville likes to introduce guests to new wines, but also to steer them back to wines that may have fallen out of fashion, like Chardonnay. He's particularly excited about some older vintages of Stony Hill Chardonnay in his collection, which is dramatically displayed in a soaring "wine stable" in the center of the dining room. At the end of the day, though, it's not about what he likes but what makes his guests happy. "Anyone coming to Spoon and Stable should trust us that they're going to get a bottle of wine that they're going to really enjoy," Summerville says. "And if the first time they get something and they think, 'This is odd and I don't really like it,' we'll start over." Back on Top MINNEAPOLIS'S HOST WITH THE MOST BILL SUMMERVILLE NOW PRESIDES OVER THE WINE PROGRAM AND DINING ROOM AT SPOON AND STABLE by David Mahoney Bill Summerville oversees wine service at Spoon and Stable.

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