Cheers July/August 2012

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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THE BARONS OF BURGUNDY Th is revered French region is home to some of the most elegant The Jefferson Plume features a private wine cellar with many pinots. earth [mushroom, smoke, forest fl oor, wet soil] that typically doesn't emerge as much in the other styles." But while he calls Burgundy the hallmark for pinot noir, he notes that as prices steadily increase for the best producers, it pushes the region even further into the category of special occasion wines. Entry- level bottles from the area will still have the grape's trademark earthiness and elegance, but will lack the length, layers and age- worthiness. "For a good value, the village wines of Burgundy are and expensive pinot noirs in the world. Scaffi di says Burgundy is "the 'Mount Everest" of the wine world. Undisputedly, Burgundy's winemakers have traditionally produced the loftiest expression of pinot noir. Mineral-driven, with elegance, fi nesse, a velvety mouth feel, high acidity and relative low alcohol, high- end Burgundian Pinot Noir is complex, multi layered and age worthy. Oak is used often, but well integrated rather than overt. Th ese wines, say Wildy, "Are distinguished by a level of Pinot Perceptions and Guest Education When asked for a brief description of how guests view pinot noir, Parr uses the words "soft, round, juicy and easy to drink." Hanauer believes domestic wine fans see it as a lighter-bodied alternative red wine with an emphasis on fruit and oak. Burgundy lovers, on the other hand, view the region and its native grape as something magical. "Burgundy drinkers are always trying to recreate a prior experience while drinking a producer or vineyard." They can also be, he says, vocally upset about pinot noir produced in other areas of the world. Sca ffi di also sometimes sees a rift between fans of Burgundy and New World Pinot. "New World [wine] lovers think the wines from Burgundy are too light, and Old World lovers see the wines from the USA as fruit juice. I adore both regions and can easily see an argument for each taste." Ongoing staff education and tasting can provide teachable moments for wait staff in the great grape debate, giving the chance to open up a dialogue about characteristics, comparisons and contrasts around the world. Baldwin views California as the easiest go-to region for guests ordering pinot noir, and New Zealand as the wild card, but sees diners truly intimidated by Burgundy. "The server and sommelier need to be able to walk them through it in a non-stressful way." Broadmoor staff members receive ongoing wine education about pinot noir, including the history of the grape and stylistic differences among regions, through training handout sheets and many tastings. One of the Vetri's managers recently launched a "Burgundy Club" on Saturday afternoons, where beverage staff is invited to discuss a different part of the region each week. And Cotton Row servers are given a sound, foolproof piece of food pairing advice. "If a table orders fi sh and beef, our staff is trained to suggest pinot noir as a crossover," says Boyce. Overall, Scaffi di believes most wine directors simply adore pinot noir from the best regions. "It is the grape that keeps giving back." 32 | JULY/AUGUST 2012

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