The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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right touch of oak. It's really well made. Fred: Agreed, I think this wine also has an amazingly long finish. So let's taste the Delas Frères Cornas from the Northern Rhône—a pure expression of Syrah. Peter: The Cornas is so different from a California Syrah. It's not overly fruity, rather restrained and earthy. I would decant this wine before serving it. Fred: So two lovely wines to start. Tell me about the wine program at Buckeye Roadhouse. Peter: As I mentioned earlier, we feature California wines. I like to offer a lot of diversity of varietals from many different wineries and a broad range of prices so that everyone can enjoy a glass. Fred: You've done a great job of it. These are good prices and excellent wineries. I also note that you are featuring the local Marin wineries. Peter: Absolutely. It's a symbiotic relationship. When personal relationships are intertwined with food and wine, the experience becomes more personal and less pretentious. Fred: What really sells? Peter: Of course the big names do very well here. But we have a very savvy clientele, so we are constantly looking for hidden gems and new producers that will interest them. Our smoked items and Zinfandels are a match made in the U.S. that no one else does better. But Pinot Noir is king here. Our guests love our Pinot Noir selection, especially the not as well-known Russian River and Sonoma Coast little family producers. Fred: Peter, how about staff training? Peter: We have service meetings every lunch and dinner, where we taste the daily additions, try some wine and decide what pairs best. We also schedule monthly mandatory wine seminars. The real secret to a knowledgeable staff is the length of their tenure. It takes a long time to get familiar with a large wine list, so our seven-year tenure is key. Fred: Where do your diners hail from? Peter: Many of our guests come from San Francisco, Napa and Sonoma counties. We are certainly a destination restaurant for many. But at the end of the day, the majority of our guests come from right here in Marin. We spend a considerable amount of time and effort supporting local schools and causes, and therefore creating a bond with the local community. Fred: I noted that you are using kegs for wine on tap. How is thet going for you? Peter: I love keg wines. They keep the wine fresh and are environmentally responsible. We are able to offer an excellent selection of wines at a reasonable price that are served at a perfect temperature. Fred: What would you change about the wine industry? Peter: I mentioned earlier that wine and food is about relationships and should be consumed with friends and family. Wine should be appreciated with almost every dinner, thus making the special occasion obsolete. Wine ought to be part of our lives, like good food, it is essential to a well-balanced lifestyle. I also think many people who enjoy a glass of wine at home while cooking dinner or having a simple meal would love to be able to find more domestic wines with lower alcohol content. Peter Schumacher is owner of the stellar Buckeye Roadhouse in Marin County, CA, which intertwines Old World charm with contemporary American cuisine. The wines tasted over conversation: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Karia Chardonnay and Delas Frères Cornas. november 2013  /  the tasting panel  /  33 TP1113_001-33.indd 33 10/24/13 8:47 AM

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