Dinner with a Master Sommelier
My wife and I were on a weekend getaway in Boulder, Colorado the weekend prior to the craziness of Thanksgiving. We both graduated from the University of Colorado and we were on a mission to go back, stay at a nice hotel and eat a couple great meals.
We were unaware that top Chefs were leaving places like Paris and Napa to join the eco-friendly Boulder environment. Who knew that Boulder had become a trendsetter of elegant restaurants?
On my flight out, a gentleman sitting next to me said, “You must try this restaurant, Frasca, it’s winning all kinds of awards.” The next day, a customer I was meeting with stated, “If you can get a reservation, you and your wife should try Frasca. It’s the creation of a top chef from the French Laundry and a Master Sommelier.” Almost everyone I spoke to was talking about this “Frasca” restaurant. I was curious.
According the www.mastersommelier.org the Master Sommelier is the highest level of Sommelier that can be reached. There are only 96 in North America. A chance to meet this mysterious Master Sommelier, maybe we should go?
I googled the website and found www.frascafoodandwine.com. Not only did the Chef come from the French Laundry, in 2005 he was named 1 of 10 “Best New Chefs” from Food and Wine Magazine. A Master Sommelier and a top chef, we had to go.
With a little perseverance, my wife and I had a reservation for 8:30 on a Saturday night.
The place was jammed with people in good spirits. In typical Boulder fashion, some were in jeans and some were in suits. The place was visibly popular and crowded. The host was genuinely excited to see us, and with a short wait (we were early) showed us to our table. Napkins were placed on our laps, water poured and menus presented.
As I scrolled through the wine list, I could not tell what was up, or what was down. So many different wines, so many different choices. Our server came to the table and asked if I needed help. “Yes, please.”
“Perhaps you would like the Sommelier to help you both.” He said.
Was it going to be Bobby Stuckey, the Master Sommelier? I was a little nervous. Soon I heard a voice:
“Can I help you with your wine selection tonight?”
It was Bobby and he was pleasant and patient as we both walked through various choices. After a back and forth discussion about the different types of wine, the meals we were going to choose and our favorites varietals, Bobby made a recommendation, “Try the La Spinetta, you will love it.” And we did.
A 2006, La Spinetta Langhe Nebbiolo from Piemonte, Italy. The bottle was $59. I’m guessing I either need to upgrade my wardrobe, or that’s what makes a Sommelier a Master, he can recommend a $59 bottle and he knows it will be great. Even when it sits next to a 1990 Domaine De La Romanee-Conti La Tache from Burgundy (Grand Cru), France (also on the wine list) for $5,182.
On to the dinner.
Acording to their website, Frasca's menu is a tribute to the food of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy. Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson is worthy of every designation he has been given and should be the #1 Chef on www.gottannins.com. My wife and I chose the “Quattro Piatti” with four courses; Antipasti, Primo, Secondi and Dolci. We enjoyed warmed salad, Brussels Sprout Gnocchi, Striped Bass and Gelato. The meal was simply incredible. Go there and try it.
Bobby and Lachlan did not know I was there to write an article for GotTannins, but my wife and I felt like we were their #1 customer that night. Every aspect of the service, food and wine was top notch. Pretty amazing considering Bobby recommended and we ordered a $59 bottle of wine.
Bobby Stuckey didn't eat dinner with us that night, but I know what he expects from a restaurant.
Brad van Dillen for GotTannins