I recently wrote a column about restaurant wine lists—particularly, what goes into making a good or great one [“Wine List Anatomy 101, July 21, City Weekly]. As I said then, less is often more. It’s not always the biggest wine lists that are the best. It’s the wine selections and how well they complement the cuisine that matters, not necessarily the size of the list. The list at Silver Fork Lodge (see p. 32) is an example of a petite but very appealing wine selection. But, that’s just one of many appeals of the beverage program at Silver Fork.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the Silver Fork list, here is my favorite aspect of wine drinking there: no corkage fee. That’s right, there’s never a corkage fee. I know of no other restaurant with an everyday, 24/7/365 no-corkage policy. So, feel free to bring your own.
However, you might not want to, because there are some treasures on the interesting wine list, created by owner Dan Knopp. For example, he’s a fan of big, voluptuous wines, so you’ll find Orin Swift “The Prisoner” on the wine list, selling for a mere $60 (it retails here for $36, and is priced higher than that in most other states). That’s a fairly friendly markup in a market where I commonly see restaurateurs charge double and triple the retail wine price. You can even get a magnum (1,500 ml) of “The Prisoner” at Silver Fork for $130. Veuve Clicquot yellow label nonvintage Champagne goes for $85; I’ve seen it in restaurants here for $140. So, that’s another thing to love about this wine list: You won’t feel like you’ve been mugged buying wine to drink with dinner.
In each wine varietal category, you’ll find a range of wines, expressing light-, medium- and heavy-bodied styles. For example, the Chardonnay options run the gamut from inexpensive Alice White from Australia through Rodney Strong, Beringer and Deloach California Chards to Burgundies from France such as Alex Gambal and Latour Montagny 1er Cru Blagny. There is something for everybody and every pocketbook.
And when I say “something for everybody,” I mean it. In the pink wine section of the list, there’s the inexplicably popular Sutter Home White Zinfandel available, but there is also Chateau d’Aquéria Tavel Rosé from France, which is one of my favorite Rosé wines. The extensive Cabernet Sauvignon selection ranges from inexpensive Chilean Santa Rita and Los Vascos Cabernets through to mid-priced Columbia Crest, Liberty School and Beringer Knight’s Valley, and on to more opulent and higher-priced choices like Jordan, Pine Ridge, Stag’s Leap and Mount Veeder.
In addition to wine, Silver Fork has a very respectable beer selection—a nice mix of imported and domestic brews—not to mention a full liquor cabinet. But, perhaps the best way to enjoy beer and wine at the restaurant is to attend one of the monthly wine or beer dinners. The dinners are informal—food is served family-style—and inexpensive. Most wine and beer dinners run $50 or $60 per person for beverages and a five-course meal. These are really fun, friendly events. Upcoming dinners include a Squatters and Wasatch beer pairing dinner ($50 per person) on Thursday, Aug. 18; a Fisher Winery dinner on Thursday, Aug. 25 ($60 per person); and an Epic Brewery and High West Distillery dinner on Thursday, Sep. 22 ($50 per person). Silver Fork Lodge also offers wine/beer pairing dinner getaways with rooms priced at $90 plus tax, including breakfast for two. For more information, call 801-533-9977.