The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2014

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Page 106 of 132

106  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2014 RINO ARMENI, PRESIDENT Liquids Unleashed "I have something for everyone," Rino Armeni proudly proclaims. While this bold statement might seem an impossible feat considering the endless possibilities when it comes to a guest's preferences, Armeni has the experience and know-how to back up that claim—he has worked in the food and beverage industry for over 30 years. Now, he uses that exper- tise in his brokerage com- pany, Liquids Unleashes, where he focuses on finding a wine for each of his customers. "Some wines that we carry are for the general market and some are special. For me, it's about where the brand fits." Most importantly, Armeni notes that he is "not into particulars"—he decides his preferences based on taste alone. Wente Vineyards 2010 Reliz Creek Pinot Noir Armeni's Notes: Components of earth and ripe cherries balance the medium acidity and tannins in the wine—there are subtle mushroom and forest floors notes as well. Armeni's Pairing: This went well with the lamb—the spice flavors in the crust as well as the vegetable croquettes themselves accompanied the earthy tones of the wine. The acidity and tannins held up well against the meaty lamb but did not overpower. A few of the men who ensure Vegas-goers can experi- ence Wente (left to right): Ryan Boyce, Division Manager at Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada; Larry DiPietro, VP Sales West for Wente Family Estates; and Thomas Olson, Division Manager, Resort Wine at Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. IVO ANGELOV, GENERAL MANAGER Le Cirque, Bellagio Ivo Angelov, a native of Bulgaria, has a lot of practice when it comes to service—after attending school in France, he worked 16 hours days, seven days a week for four years in the restaurants of cruise ships. After this impressive stint, he settled down in Vegas in 2008 and now uses this training in his role of General Manager at Le Cirque, a French- inspired concept at Bellagio. At Le Cirque, the menu features multiple levels of pairings for every dish, which a panel—made up of Le Cirque staff members—selects. As General Manager, Angelov gives his two cents on these pairings as well as on the additions that the Wine Director makes to their 30 wines by the glass and over 1,000 wines by the bottle. And while a majority of these hail from France, Angelov points out that the list also features a wide variety of wines from countries like Italy and the U.S. Above all, Angelov wants his guests to enjoy great wines no matter the price point, which explains his intentions with the numerous pairing options and the wines from outside France. "Good wine at a good price point is difficult to find. Wente has those value wines that hold up when it comes to the question of quality. They are approachable and appeal to a broad range of palates. All in all, they are a great introductory wine especially for the younger crowd looking to taste a quality, yet affordable wine," explains Angelov. Wente Vineyards 2012 Riva Ranch Chardonnay Angelov's Notes: An elegant California-type Chard with rich texture, a full body and oak notes. This is a wine that goes great on its own—absolutely delicious! Angelov's Pairing: It was a little too rich for the first course, but reflected the Dungoness crab beautifully. At Le Cirque, this would be a good wine to match with the truffle risotto— a very rich dish indeed. PHOTO: JEREMY BALL

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