The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

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28  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2017 WHAT'S NEW IN D.C. I n a city accustomed to dark suits and sensible shoes, the opening of the new MGM Grand National Harbor is as close to Las Vegas–style glitz and glamor as our fair metropolis has ever seen. Located just outside the beltway at the Maryland Potomac waterfront, crowds flocked to the slot machines and tables on opening night. Some came for the chance to get rich, but many came to sample the fare at the new restaurants, including Fish by José Andrés. Credited with bringing "small plates" to D.C. with his Jaleo Spanish restaurants, the Michelin-starred Andrés has been shaping D.C.'s palates for years, and his restaurant empire ThinkFoodGroup is based in the District. There is perhaps no better foil for Jose Andres's innovative food than ThinkFoodGroup's Wine Director, Andy Myers, MS. A tireless cheerleader for wines that people would drink if they knew about them, Myers is on a new mission to introduce his customers to two of Spain's underappreciated classics, Cava and Sherry. Myers himself had an epiphany while drinking Cava in Spain: "The Spanish don't drink Cava to celebrate, they drink Cava to live—it is an all-day, every-day kind of wine." As for Sherry, Myers is taking a very guest-centric approach. "If I start talking about Sherry, people's eyes glaze over, but if I just pour it for them, they instantly love it and want to know more." At Fish by José Andrés, Myers pairs Hildago Manzanilla with fried whole porgy. "The natural brininess of the wine plays well with the salt in the crispy breading," he says, "and the hint of dried apricots adds a touch of sweet essence to the richness of the fish." Guests at Fish and the other José Andrés restaurants are bound to encounter more of these Sherry pairings. Myers explains: "My goal with my managers and sommeliers is to have them keep putting Sherry in front of people. We take a beating cost-wise, but our guests walk away with a new favorite." Inside the Beltway, big changes are in store for Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons. A trio of sommeliers who have been employed there, almost since day one, are heading in different directions. The remaining sommelier, Winn Roberton, is taking over the challenge of leading a new wine team at Bourbon Steak, and prom- ises to put his unique stamp on the list. His biggest challenge will be to increase the number of older vintages offered. Roberton also loves the challenge of getting the red-wine-centric clientele at Bourbon Steak to explore white wine pairings. "Being a steak house, our guests naturally tend to gravitate towards red wines, but there are a lot of fantastic offer- ings on our 'White: Secrets of the Sommelier' page." His current favorite paring is August Kessler Riesling Kabinett with the tableside smoked pork belly with fried oyster, served over mushrooms and grits. There's no official word yet on who will be joining Winn on the sommelier team at Bourbon Steak. PHOTO COURTESY OF THINKFOODGROUP DC Glitz and Glamour CHANGES INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY by David D. Denton, CWE, IBWE A fish bisque at Fish by José Andrés, located in the recently opened MGM National Harbor. Winn Roberton, Sommelier at Bourbon Steak. ThinkFoodGroup's Wine Director, Andy Myers, MS. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOURBON STEAK DC PHOTO COURTESY OF THINKFOODGROUP DC

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