The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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40  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 40  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 IN THE BIZ l n a location that's hard to find, with a sign that's hard to see, Wine Watch is a way of life for Andrew Lampasone and the patrons of this unique wine venue. The business was estab- lished in 1983 by wine guru Jim Turner, who sold, served and wrote about wine. It fell into the hands of sommelier Andrew Lampasone upon Turner's untimely death in 1998. Lampasone stepped in and purchased the business, growing it from 80,000 bottles to over a million. His focus is sharing the enjoyment of wine and food in a comfortable setting with like- minded people and giving his patrons the opportunity to taste some of the world's greatest, most legendary wines. For Lampasone, attention to the smallest detail enhances the wine experience. The depth and breadth of his inventory covers multiple vintages of Old World wines from France, Italy and Spain, as well as offerings from New World wine-producing countries. Wine Watch is unusual in Florida, where most wine is bought and consumed in full-service restaurants or pur- chased at liquor retailers, where it competes for attention with spirits and beer. Lampasone puts together tastings of epic proportions, with collections of multiple-vintage esoteric offerings, such as verticals of the Domaine de la Romanée Conti, single châteaux like La Mission Haut-Brion or an in-depth tasting of Riesling from Joh. Jos. Prüm, which took place on the opening night of the store's new wine bar. Rare wines are sourced from private collectors who maintain impeccable storage conditions and from the 50 to 60 distributors throughout the state. "I look for lists that feature multiple vintages and lesser-known wines," says Lampasone. He especially likes "finding and offering a good Champagne or sparkling wine, because it's more difficult to make than most other wines and shows the art of the winemaker." The menu ideas are creative, inspirational and offer unusual pairings that provide an educational and delicious experience. Dishes such as five-spice duck confit and wild mushroom duxelle tacos finished with foie gras mousse, or bacon-fat–fried prosciutto and Parmigiano Reggiano–dusted French fries marry surprisingly well with the wine pairings that have been selected. Upcoming events include comparisons of the wines of Chile vs. Argentina, a super Syrah tasting, a close look at Pinot Noir from Oregon and many more. A schedule is available at "Our goal is to offer customers good service and reliable information on the wines we have," says Lampasone. "To that end, we have created an info source on all our wines accessible online and via the phone." PROPRIETOR-SOMMELIER, WINE WATCH, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL story and photo by Rachel and David Michael Cane IN THE BIZ PROPRIETOR-SOMMELIER, WINE WATCH, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL Andrew Lampasone Andrew Lampasone has an inventory that covers multiple vintages of Old and New World wines.

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