Mike Brown is a very busy guy. As beverage director/wine buyer for Bill White Enterprises, he designs the wine programs and purchases wine for White’s Park City restaurants: Grappa, Chimayo, Windy Ridge, Wahso, and now Ghidotti’s (see Dining). When he’s not busy behind the scenes, Brown occasionally still tends bar in the various restaurants. And when I say that he does the wine purchasing, I mean he does the wine purchasing. He can often be found at the wine store pushing a shopping cart full of newly found treasures, which he then delivers to the restaurants himself. He’s sort of a one-man wine distribution center.
Brown’s recent pride and joy is the new Cruvinet-style wine-storage system at Ghidotti’s, made by an Australian company called Oz Winebars. His new baby cost $15,000, but it insures that Ghidotti’s customers who wish to order wine by the glass will be served wine as fresh as when the bottle was opened. The Oz Winebar serves as both a wine cooler, keeping reds at 67 degrees and whites at 47, and a wine dispensing and storage system. Without getting too technical, what happens is that as a serving of wine is “poured” from the automated system, the displaced wine from the bottle is replaced with odorless and tasteless argon gas. The end result is that open wine can be kept for weeks without becoming oxygenated, maderized, and so on.
I was a tad skeptical so I asked to taste a splash of Ferrari-Carano Merlot at Ghidotti’s from a bottle that was nearly empty'there wasn’t more than a splash of wine left in the bottom of the bottle. If you allowed a bottle with that much oxygen to sit even overnight it would likely taste dreadful. But the Merlot poured from the Oz Winebar was as fresh as if the bottle had been uncorked right in front of me. I was impressed.
This is a real treat for diners who prefer to order wines by the glass to accompany various different courses. Ghidotti’s offers a couple dozen wines by the glass in traditional 5-ounce pours, 2-ounce tastes, or a 1/2-ounce splash for anyone who just wants to taste the wine before they buy. The 2-ounce taste is an especially good option for those wishing to create their own customized wine flights. Let’s say you wanted to explore wines from Italy’s Piemonte region, for example. At Ghidotti’s, you could order up to five “tastes” ranging from whites like Saracco Moscato D’Asti, Ceretto Blange Arneis, and M. Chiarlo Cortese di Gavi, to Piemonte reds such as Batasiolo Barbaresco and Baroli Barolo. Viola! You’ve created your own Piemonte wine-tasting flight. Best of all, each wine will be fresh as a daisy.
Sips: My favorite annual wine affair is coming up on Sunday, Nov. 20. That’s the date of the 22nd annual Nouveau Beaujolais Festival at Deer Valley Resort, hosted by the Wasatch Food and Wine Society. As in years past, a full French culinary buffet will accompany the Nouveau Beaujolais wines served at Deer Valley’s Silver Lake Lodge from 3-6 p.m. The buffet includes pates, imported cheeses, rillette, escargot, cassoulet, filet mignon, and brioche, plus a decadent dessert selection. This year’s Nouveau Beaujolais Festival will feature two French Beaujolais wines, one from Georges DuBoeuf and another from Laboure-Roi. The event is an annual sellout and reservations are required. The cost is $80 per person and reservations can be made by phoning Kris Anderson at 435-645-6640 or mailing your payment in advance to Kris Anderson, Deer Valley Resort, P.O. Box 889, Park City, UT 84060.