The Grapevine: The Wright Stuff 

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One of the more impressive wine lists I’ve dug into in quite some time is that of La Caille (see Dining). Since Wine director/sommelier Joseph (Joe to his regular customers) Wright took over the wine program at La Caille it has become one of the most formidable in Utah. His current wine inventory consists of more than 2,000 bottles with some 800 different wine selections.

There is great breadth to La Caille’s wine list, beginning with a healthy selection of wines by the glass priced from $7 for a glass of Perrin Rhone Reserve red or Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port to $21 for a serving of Frog’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and a high of $27 for a single-serving bottle of Perrier Jouët Grand Brut Champagne. For something you’ve probably never tasted, take a glass of La Caille Seyval Blanc from the restaurant’s own vineyard for a spin.

I lost count of La Caille’s Chardonnay offerings at somewhere around 50, and that didn’t even include French white Burgundies. And I applaud restaurants that stock half-bottles. La Caille has a selection of a dozen or so Chardonnays by the split, including Chalk Hill, Coppola, Grgich Hills and Sonoma-Cutrer.

Even more impressive, though, is the depth of the wine list at La Caille. And the list really starts to pop when you take a gander at the reds. For example, it’s possible (if you’ve enough money) to do vertical tastings of red wines like Caymus “Special Select,” Beringer “Private Reserve,” Far Niente, Silver Oak, Jordan, and Heitz Cabernets, among others. And I noted with admiration more than one vintage of Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel by the half-bottle at La Caille. You don’t see that often. And how about 20-plus bottles of Meritage? That’s cool. Meritage choices run the gamut from Water Wheel “Memsie”—an Australian Meritage—for a mere $30 to names like Opus One, Viader, Pahlmeyer and tasty Joseph Phelps “Insignia” 2001 for $360.

But it’s in Bordeaux where Wright has really gone to town. There is a refreshing abundance of French Bordeaux on the La Caille wine list beginning with respectable starter wines like Chateau LaRose-Trintaudon and Chateau Des Annereaux and on to big daddies such as Haut Brion, Petrus, Margaux, Lafite-Rothschild, Cheval-Blanc and Mouton Rothschild. Whew! For less than the cost of a new professional gas range for your kitchen, you might opt to compare the 1955 vintage of Chateau Haut Brion, Graves ($3,000) with say, the 2003 vintage, priced at a bargain $1,400. I say this only half-jokingly. There actually are some bargains on the La Caille list. The markup on some of the more expensive offerings—Domaine Romanée-Conti La Tache 2001, priced at $1,200, for example—are actually right in line with the market retail price on many web wine-sellers’ sites. 

Sips: Pine restaurant is celebrating its second anniversary with a beer dinner featuring Uinta Brewing Company. On Tuesday, Oct. 16, chef/owner Greg Neville will team up with Uinta’s Will Hamill and Steve Kuftinec for a six-course harvest menu with beer-friendly dishes like Uinta Cutthroat Pale Ale duck confit, King’s Peak Porter Gelato, Pilsner-glazed sea scallops and steamed Hefeweizen mussels. Along with beer pairings, wine pairings also will be available. To get in on the fun call 288-2211 for reservations.

• On Tuesday, Nov. 20, La Caille will host a Beaujolais Nouveau 2007 party to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The festivities include a selection of French cuisine and wines, music, dancing, and a silent auction. For more information, contact Vickie Moschetti at 438-0280 or e-mail vmoschetti@mdausa.org
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