The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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Page 36 of 162

WHO'S WHO Michael King DC'S ON-PREMISE WINE ROYALTY by Scott Greenberg / photo by Mark Finkenstaedt A s if it were not enough to run the wine program at one of Washington, D.C.'s hottest Italian restaurants, Bibiana, Wine Director Michael King is also responsible for the beverage program at the newest outpost in restaurateur Ashok Baja's empire, Nopa Kitchen + Bar. King developed his love of wine as a young man. "My grandmother was a wine enthusiast, and she exposed me to wine at a very early age," recalls King. "Even before I could legally drink, I would read wine books and pay attention to how wine and food enhanced each other. My interest turned to passion as I started developing my skills in the kitchen, which lead to a mutually deeper appreciation of wine." His comprehensive Italian wine-focused list at Bibiana features more than 300 labels, with 25 wines available by the glass. King is very proud that over 30 percent of his hand-picked menu is comprised of wines from producers making fewer than 1,000 cases per year—and in some instances, production is limited to less than 100 cases per year. These rare, small-production wines highlight the various regions of Italy that perfectly complement the culinary accomplishments of Executive Chef Nicholas Stefanelli. The wines, when unavailable in the marketplace or from boutique importers in New York, are imported directly from distributors in Italy—an option that is unique to D.C.—and featured exclusively at the restaurant. Highlights of King's unique selection include the non-vintage De Conciliis Selim, a sparkling wine from Campania that is composed of Fiano, Aglianico and Barbera, and a 2010 Cuomo Furore made from Aglianico and Piedirosso grapes, also from Campania. In addition to his love of wine, Michael produces his own house-made fruit flavor liquors at Bibiana using the season's freshest fruit. These infused liquors are used in cocktails that feature flavors of spring strawberries, early summer blueberries and bountiful cherries, all locally sourced. His critically acclaimed limoncello is the perfect digestif to complete any meal at Bibiana. And lest you think that King's talents lie only in Italy, Nopa Kitchen + Bar, an American brasserie, has an extensive list highlighting French and American wines, featuring an amazing Burgundy selection. Yes, Michael King is one busy guy. 36  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2013 TP0913_034-62.indd 36 8/22/13 9:21 PM

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