The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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Page 38 of 152

BEHIND THE SCENES WITH FRED DAME A Conversation with Each month, Master Sommelier Fred Dame, VP of Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits, talks to some of California���s most prominent professionals. Joseph Vaccaro Ella Dining Room & Bar, Sacramento photos by Jay Cowle Fred Dame: Joseph, we can look down the street and see the California State Capitol. Today I brought a Bersano 2008 Barbaresco Mantico DOCG. I decided to drink something out of character for Sacramento and just love the classic qualities of this lovely Nebbiolo. We���re here early enough that the assemblymen, senators and lobbyists won���t see that we aren���t drinking California wine! Joseph Vaccaro: Over the last ive years, Italy has become my Achilles heel. Sixty percent of the wine we sell here at Ella Dining Room & Bar is from California, for obvious reasons. I���ve never visited Piemonte, but I���m a big fan of the wines. I don���t buy much, I don���t sell much, but I���m always looking for great value. My ancestors are rolling in their graves! FD: Tell me about the wines do sell at Ella. What do the Democrats drink that the Republicans don���t? I would venture that lobbyists are at the upper end of the purchase scale. What is the most popular varietal that you sell? Joseph: We sell a mix of 60 percent red wine and 40 percent white. Cabernet Sauvignon is in the number one spot, followed by Pinot Noir. Because our menu changes daily, it would be hard to say what producer or region of California dominates. We are at the forefront of the ���farm fresh to table��� movement, and because we���re located here in Sacramento, we are surrounded by fantastic farmers and ranchers. We feature 30 wines by the glass in addition to the wine list. We have a lot of fun with the wines we feature at our Raw Bar. ���This Bersano 2008 Barbaresco Mantico has dark cherry, a rich wine. Going into the fall menus, it���s the braised meat season. This would be a great match for those dishes.��� FD: I had lunch here recently and saw the fresh oyster which was paired with a Muscadet. That is right out of the traditional French pairing manual. I���m glad to see that the many options are constantly explored and that staff is thoroughly engaged. I had a lovely note from one of your servers after my visit. Perfect! Tell me about a pairing you���re currently featuring. Joseph: Braised beef cheeks paired with Domaine L���Arlot Bourgogne 2009. We also have been experimenting with beer pairing as well. FD: I won���t mention that���s the second French pairing. Maybe the Ambassador���s in town! So, tell me, what does the Governor of California like to drink? Joseph: When Arnold was Governor, we used to see him all the time. He was always in chatting up the room and enjoying his meals. I���ve only seen Governor Brown in Ella Dining Room once, and oddly, it was to visit a Republican event. I think he just wanted to get his point across. I can say that when we have out-oftown guests being hosted they are almost always served California wines. All of us in Sacramento have a lot of pride in the wines produced here. Joseph Vaccaro (left), Sommelier for Ella Dining Room & Bar in Sacramento with Fred Dame. 38 / the tasting panel / december 2012 FD: Thank you, Joseph. I���m watching the oysters being chilled on a bed of ice right here at the bar. Ella Dining Room & Bar has brought a lot to the capital with its great cuisine, wines and service. I think in deference I���ll drink a ���ne California Sauvignon Blanc as a perfect pairing!

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