The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2017

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Page 85 of 102

march 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  83 So, a prime location and the beautiful hotel right on the water. I would guess that you get a lot of stars? Well, that would be a good guess. We go out of our way to protect the privacy of our guests. I would guess that wine tastes better when you are overlooking the Pacific Ocean? Absolutely! Especially rosé! They must drink more than rosé, as much as we all love it. It's very interesting. We start off with cool mornings, so white wines are dominant. As the day warms, mineral-driven whites and rosés are flowing through lunch, especially Sauvignon Blanc; as the night cools, we shift to red wines, the favorites being Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. I was having lunch here yesterday and was struck by the balance of the by-the-glass program. I guess that reflects how much the weather impacts selection. Correct. This bout of rain has really launched sales of Syrah and red Burgundy. What is the percentage of white to red consumption? White wines are 65 percent of sales here. Last year our top seller was Pinot Grigio from Italy. Sauvignon Blanc was second and Chardonnay running a close third. Well, we just happen to have a lovely bottle of Comte Lafond Sancerre chilled and ready to taste. How fortuitous! Lovely! I don't have a Sancerre by the glass currently but am going to be adding it. If we don't have a particular wine, per guest request, we will open a bottle and pour it as long as two glasses are ordered. It has a great weave of fruit, acid, minerality and a long finish. Delicious! Do you sell a lot of French wine? We do, especially Chablis. As soon as we added it by the glass, it really took off. How many covers a day do you do here? You are open all day, correct? Yes, that's correct. Right now we are at around 200 covers, but we can easily triple that in prime season. We only have 98 seats total. We have a new chef, Cody Dickey. In fact, he is preparing the bone-in ribeye for you today! Excellent! How many of your customers come from the hotel? Many of our guests dine with us, and with this view, we get a lot of walk-in business. How long have you been here? One year. This is my first Wine Director position since I passed my Advanced Sommelier Examination. How many wines are on the list? And what are annual sales numbers? 196. We're going to keep it right at that number. Our owners are big Bordeaux fans, so we have a strong offering there. A fair number of locals come in asking for vintage Bordeaux. We do just short of $750,000 in wine sales annually. (Laughing) I have to admit that Château Lafite isn't the first wine I thought of when I sat down! What does Laurie Sutton like to drink? Dry Riesling. And I love Chablis. Tempranillo for red—love it! Who sells the wine here? Are you the only floor sommelier? Yes, but we have been doing a lot of staff training and tasting. Especially with the evening special. It's really increased sales and made it more fun for everyone. What about the world of wine? Do we need to change? I think that we need to break down more of the stereo- types that people have about regions and varieties. There is so much changing all the time. "I think that we need to break down more of the stereotypes that people have about regions and varieties. There is so much changing all the time."

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