The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2015

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Page 89 of 136

july 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  89 R unning the wine program at a popular restaurant in Napa Valley is a tall order. But Anani Lawson, Wine Director for Lucy Restaurant & Bar at the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville, remains unfazed. With a formidable pedigree from places like Thomas Keller's Per Se and French Laundry, and the St. Regis in San Francisco, Lawson is no stranger to host- ing wine aficionados in his restaurants. While Lucy's wine list features wines from Napa, Lawson also selects wines from other appellations in California, explaining, "You can drink Napa wines anywhere. In a location where winemaking is so prominent, I wanted to focus on wineries that aren't over-exposed, from areas like the Anderson Valley and the Russian River." To pair with Chef Victor Scargle's fresh, light, garden-focused cuisine, Lawson opts for expressive wines with moderate alcohol content. As the food on the menu follows seasonal availability, Lawson tweaks the wine menu to reflect those changes. "This past April, we added lighter wines like Riesling, Pinot Noir and Rosé to the menu in anticipation of summer, and in fall when we get a large bounty from our in-house garden, I added earthier wines to complement the vegetable's flavors," Lawson rhapsodizes. Right now, vegetables like pole beans, kale and spinach are being harvested from the garden, as well as guava, which Scargle uses to add texture to many of his dishes. Two of the items on the menu that utilize these veggies, a bigeye tuna ceviche and a softshell crab, Lawson recommends pairing with two local Napa Valley wines, the Tramuntana 2013 "Beyond the Mountains," a Sauvignon Blanc–Semillon blend, or the Lail 2013 "Blueprint" Sauvignon Blanc. Lawson takes pleasure in being able to educate Lucy's din- ers about wines that they might not normally be familiar with, saying, "I chose these as wines that were meant to surprise and impress our guests, like the Remírez de Ganuza 2010 Erre Punto Blanco, a white Rioja from Spain, and the Alain Graillot 2012 Crozes-Hermitage Blanc, of which only a few hundred cases were shipped to the U.S. " Lawson recommends pairing these distinc- tive wines with seafood, especially Lucy's diver scallops with rhubarb and pineapple chutney, Sausalito Springs watercress and bronze fennel. And what is Lawson's pick? "I put wines on the menu I enjoy drinking," he confesses. "Wines that are fragrant and not too heavy. The acidity pairs well with the duck and antelope dishes that occasionally pop up on our menu." ANANI LAWSON PAIRS UNIQUE WINES WITH GARDEN-FOCUSED CUISINE IN NAPA VALLEY by Jesse Hom-Dawson K N O R T W X B I L e Road Le Traveled PHOTO: ALEXANDER RUBIN Anani Lawson, Wine Director for Lucy Restaurant & Bar at the Bardessono Hotel in Yountville, CA.

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