Food & Drink

Top Sommeliers The Denver Area

October 24, 2012 12:00 PM

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(credit: barologrilldenver.com)

(credit: barologrilldenver.com)

Robert Louis Stevenson said “wine is poetry in a bottle.” That might explain why we get tongue tied and nervous when ordering wine, poetry is intimidating. Sommeliers used to just buy wine and put it on the wine list. Now they must act as interpreters of a foreign language. A good sommelier is like a tour guide in a foreign country, one who holds your hand and helps you step out into unfamiliar territory. While this list is not exhaustive, it’s a good start for Denver-area experts who know their wine and better yet, can communicate its nuances.
wine Top Sommeliers The Denver Area

(credit: barologrilldenver.com)

Ryan Fletter
Sommelier, Wine Director Barolo Grill
30303 E. 6th Ave.
Denver, CO 80206
(303) 393-1040
www.barologrilldenver.com

Barolo Grill’s Ryan Fletter was awarded a regional Top/Somm award in 2011 by the Guild of Sommeliers Education Foundation. It’s a very big award for someone who pays close attention to the restaurant’s menu and wine list to make sure they are in complete agreement. Fletter puts his opinion on the line with a list of favorites from the cellar. This list will help nervous diners make a solid decision about what type of wine to choose. It also takes away some of the fear of failure that is so often associated with buying a good wine. As a food writer who moved to Colorado from southern Italy, it’s nice to see recommended wines that Americans may not recognize but should definitely try like Taurasi ’Riserva’ by Vesevo from Campania.

Bobby Stuckey
Sommelier and Co-owner Frasca
1738 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-6966
www.frascafoodandwine.com

Stuckey, a master Sommelier and co-owner of Frasca, has been getting accolades from the James Beard Foundation since 2000 when he was the Sommelier at The Little Nell in Aspen. Since then, he has been nominated numerous times for his work at Frasca as an “outstanding wine and spirits professional.” Every Monday, Stuckey and his team produce a posting online called Monday Wine. Here they tell a story about the people behind the wine flight of the week. Even if you have never cared much about wine, these stories are enough to engage you into coming in and trying a glass. This is one example of Stuckey’s expertise and, more importantly, his work to mentor up-and-coming sommeliers and wine enthusiasts (see Mathew Mather below).

Matthew Mather
Pizzeria Locale Sommelier
1730 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-3003
www.pizzerialocale.com

While pizza and wine may go together, pies and sommeliers are somewhat of a misnomer. But then again, this is Pizzeria Locale, not just any pizza place. Mather has learned a thing or two from its older sister restaurant (Frasca) and applied that to its casual wine and fare. Mather, who won a Food and Wine Sommelier of the Year Award in 2012, believes that affordable wine can be just as fun to try as something more expensive. Most of the wine list bottiglias are less than $50. If you aren’t convinced, the wine menu has a little history lesson that explains to customers why Pizzeria Locale’s list includes oak-free reds and soft acidic white wines that go well with pizza, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Evan Williams
Table 6 Sommelier
609 Corona St.
Denver, CO 80218
(303) 831-8800
www.table6denver.com

Who needs Robert Parker when you have Evan Williams at Table 6? He is a very soft-spoken man but has a very big wine memory. Ask him anything about a vintage and he will likely have a little-known story. Evan has a history at Rioja and the Cellar Wine Bar. Now that he is at Table 6, he is bringing his visionary wine mind to the eclectic bistro. Table 6 is about approachable food with high standards and Williams does the same with wine. The restaurant offers an off-the-beaten-path wine list for varietals that you may not recognize but will forever remember. For instance, the 2005 Orin Swift “The Prisoner” Zin/Cab/Syrah from Napa Valley, California, a top 10 from major wine magazines, is hard to find but it is on the Table 6 wine list.

Melanie Kaman
Flagstaff House Wine Director
1138 Flagstaff Road
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 442-4640
www.flagstaffhouse.com

Flagstaff House has a new sommelier on its staff. The certified sommelier has a resume that includes Spago and Postrio in Las Vegas and Mirepoix Restaurant in Colorado. Kaman brings a fresh new approach to a long-established, award-winning wine program. She has inherited a wine program that has won the Wine Spectator grand award since 1983. Karman is working on a new cocktail program that is gaining some fans. She is also expanding the restaurant’s 15,000-bottle cellar with new Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italian wines.

Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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