The SOMM Journal

June / July 2015

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Page 97 of 100

{ }  97 lates to better food pairing. These are great 'stepping stones' to wines from the Old World, because the flavors aren't quite so obvious, the textures aren't so rich and the alcohol isn't so high. We have a big range of styles on the list—you'll find wines like Marcassin—but by and large the IPOB and similar-style producers get more real estate on our list. They mesh better with our food, in particular." Bernard Sun is Brand Director, French Portfolio at Kobrand Corp. and a restau- rant consultant. He oversaw the beverage program for the renowned Jean-Georges Restaurant Group for nearly ten years. "We had an international clientele," he offered; "guests came from all over the world. I liked to have a few IPOB wines on the list because they're a good option for Europeans. When they come here, they love to try American wines. They've heard all about them, but they're difficult to get over there. Usually, I'll ask 'Would you like something in a classic California style (buttery, oaky) or something more French or European (more acidity or minerality)?' IPOB wines have a more Old World palate." Arnaud Tronche is Partner and Beverage Director at Racines NY, one of New York's hottest restaurants. "I have a few IPOB wines on the list. We're a French restaurant. Guests are used to domestic wines, but when they come, they want to try something French. We poured Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Chard by the glass. It worked very well; people loved it. It's not as big, and it's a good way to interest them in something that's a bit different than a big, buttery California Chardonnay." Arnaud liked the Copain DuPratt Chard 2013. However, for the same price, he felt the IPOB Chards were a bit too forward, ripe, and lacked the texture of Burgundies. Christy Canterbury, MW found that, overall, most IPOB Chards showed "a lot of 'leesy-ness' that overtakes the expression of fruit, and sometimes the wines are lack- ing a bit of energy because they're not entirely balanced." Standouts were the Liquid Farms La Hermana 2013 and White Hill 2013, which showed "harmony, deliciousness, exuberance and balance." She also "loved the Sandhi Chards, which are always off- the-charts, brilliant and fantastic." Tristan Prat-Vincent, Wine Director at the Park Hyatt New York, said, "I have a non-conservative list and a conservative clientele [who come from everywhere, at all ages and income levels]. There's something for everybody. My most expensive Pinot is $200. I have a bunch of IPOB wines on the list. It's nice to introduce guests to IPOB wines, which have some California fruit but without the heaviness. These wines actu- ally make it easier to sell more than one bottle. Wines with more moderate alcohol drink faster. Whether it's a Chardonnay or Pinot, if it's a three- or four-top, they're not just stuck at that one bottle that's so alcoholic and heavy that they're done. You can get that second bottle sale much more easily with these kinds of wines. They're much easier to drink with your meal. You can either have that expensive, high-octane $200 bottle of Pinot or you can get two $125 bottles with more moderate alcohol. At the end, the customer perceives a better value. They pay less and get more." For the Pinots, the group found Copain "easy to understand," while Knez Anderson Valley, Demuth and Cerise Vineyard 2012s were "beautifully structured, with Old World textures, earthy and rustic." Alternately, Drew Gatekeepers, Morning Dew Ranch 2013s and Balo Vineyard 2012 were "very California, pure, forward, fresh and expressive," while Peay Sonoma Coast 2013, Scallop Shelf 2012 and Pomarium 2013 showed a "nice balance between New World fruit and Old World earthy-ness and acidity." Calera's Central Coast 2013 was "super accessible, charming and easy to like." Finally, the group was encouraged by the IPOB style of California wines, which repre- sents a different, potent option aside from the classic 'big flavor' to offer guests and wine consumers. Everyone left the tasting interested in continuing to follow the evolution of IPOB and its great potential to improve the quality of California wines. Jeffrey Patten, owner of Flatiron Wines & Spirits, NYC. Charles Puglia, Wine Director of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Tarrytown, NY. "It's a matter of slowly pushing people outside of what they normally drink from California. We have a big range of styles on the list—you'll find wines like Marcassin—but by and large the IPOB and similar-style producers get more real estate on our list. They mesh better with our food, in particular." Jennifer DiDomizio is the owner of California Wine Merchants in NYC. Christy Canterbury, MW.

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