The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2015

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Page 37 of 140

september 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  37 Hmmm. So I see surfing in Hawaii, skiing in Europe. I think I get the drift. Kind of reminds me of me! (laughing) We all have to grow up some time! This is a private develop- ment and club with a very limited membership. Members and guests only. So, what is the profile of the wine consumer here? Different from the rest of your experience? We are a California private club, so California Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are very popular. We continue to expand our offerings from other regions of the world. Our members are open-minded and have responded really well to the additional choices. I also enjoy making many recom- mendations, especially with our changing menus. Is it difficult to obtain certain wines being that you are in a smaller market? Allocated items, small- production, reserve wines? Surprisingly, not at all. We work with the major distribu- tors such as Southern/American Wine & Spirits, as well as a number of smaller brokers. We also buy direct from wineries for limited production wines. I only wish that I could taste more of these wines before I buy them. Our remote location is unlike a major market where I would have those opportu- nities almost daily. I'm sitting here, looking out at the Sierra Nevada and thinking about tasting wine. Today we have the Robert Talbott 2013 Sleepy Hollow Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. This is a great wine for today! In fact, any day! Cheers! Everything here is in balance. The fruit, the acid, the finish all come together perfectly. Our members love wines like this. Do your members bring in special wines fairly often? We have some very knowledgeable members, some of whom are big collectors. We look forward to their corkage and we see some notable wines that are not on our list. I've expanded my knowledge of prestigious Burgundy thanks to one member, in particular. He brings the wine, I bring the glassware and the decanter, and pull the cork. He decants the cream off the top and often shares the rest with us. Do you and the chef do the food and wine pairing menus together? We create tasting menus weekly, with selections from featured wineries. We publish a calendar so members know what's coming up. We also do elaborate summer and winter wine dinners with five-course, paired, seasonal menus. Anything on the horizon that's special? Yes, I'll be taking a group of members to Europe next year for a tour of the great wine regions of France. All of us are excited about that opportunity. You have an outstanding cheese cart; we worked it over pretty well last night. And the house-made bread is fantastic! We made a conscious decision to work on elements of our dining experience one at a time, until we get it just right. Our bread program is a great example of that. Okay, let's say I get the GM to give you $100,000 to improve the list. What do you buy? And no wishy washy answers! Burgundy, Bordeaux and Barolo. I'd like to add depth to the vintages and vineyards included on our list. We're already very strong in wines from California. Interesting—even with the European vintages recently being difficult. You'd have to do some seri- ous tasting for that one. Hmm, not a bad idea at all! Time for me to grant you a wish. What do you want to change about the world of wine we live in? This is a different answer than you might expect, and a little selfish: I'd like to have some of the great winemakers produce wines that are specific to their regions, using exactly the same techniques. Then I could really understand the terroir. You realize that you are speaking heresy! I would sure like to see the look on the winemakers' faces with that one! Joshua Plack at the Lodge at Martis Camp, with the Sierra Nevada mountains in the background. BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FRED DAME, MS

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