“As cold weather approaches, our bodies and our palates innately start craving heartier foods,” says Kirsten Fox of the Fox School of Wine and the new Twisted Cork radio show. As winter menus change, so do the wines. “We want to have the same weight, mouth feel and complexity of both food and wine,” says Fox, “so one doesn’t overpower the other.”
Jim Santangelo, co-host of the Twisted Cork and owner of the Wine Academy of Utah agrees. “When I think about winter, I think of richer baked or braised entrees like pork chops, spicy stews and meats, so I like a bigger, low-acidity wine to kick up my mouth.” He recommends Smoke & Mirrors, a Rhone-style red blend that will stand up to, but not overpower roast meats and other rich flavors.
If you prefer whites, Fox’s favorite is the French Viognier. The Viognier is “like a full-bodied opera singer in a velvet dress, with pearls and a heavy dose of fl oral perfume, and it goes well with cassoulet and creamy chicken stews.” Another great choice is Carol Shelton’s Coquille Blanc’ from Paso Robles, California—a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Marsanne grapes. This dry wine goes well with hearty salads, roasted chicken or pork chops.
For seasonal celebrations, it’s good to have some bubbles on hand. “Great sparkling wine isn’t just from Champagne anymore,” says Santangelo. His New Years pick is a Willm ‘Blanc de Blancs’ Brut from the French Alsace region. Or try a Spanish Cava, a very fruit-forward sparkling wine that won’t break the bank. Park City is fortunate to have many well-stocked wine cellars, so bundle up and treat yourself to a winter wine tasting at one of these local restaurants.
Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge
“Deer Valley’s Stein Eriksen Lodge has one of the most extravagant wine lists in Utah,” says Sommelier Ashley Arnot. “We’re very enthusiastic about our wine list—some of our older vintages are so expressive, like our 1960s Chiantis. We also have small niche wines and some vintages that people may not know about like organic chardonnays from Lebanon’s Chateau Musar and some great Greek and South African wines.” Stein’s classic wine cave is perfect for a quick sip before dinner or more in-depth tastings for groups of up to 20 people, and offers Old World wines from over 20 countries, including a large selection of Burgundy, Bordeaux and domestic California Cabernets. “Whatever journey our guests are interested in, we can take them there.” Arnot works closely with the chef to create pairings and flavor profiles that complement or contrast with the menu. Wine selections change seasonally and are also available by the glass. Join Arnot for one of their regionally-focused wine dinners.
Ruth’s Chris Steak House’s expansive wine list features close to 200 bottles with an emphasis on Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux and Bordeaux blends to complement their menu of steaks and chops. “We like to give our guests unique experiences with wine by suggesting unusual pairings,” says Food and Beverage Director Scott Stansfield, “maybe a Merlot with Filet Mignon or a bigger, broader Petite Syrah with our choice Ribeye.” He suggests starting with a “New World” wine that’s a little juicier with appetizers or to drink alone, then switching to an “Old World” wine with heavier entrees. “The ‘Old World’ wines are drier, helping to cleanse your palate and allowing you to taste each bite.” Wines by the glass are available in three or five-ounce pours, allowing patrons to sample award-winning wines like Fattoria dei Barbi’s Brunello di Montalcino, Sonoma County’s La Brisa Pinot Noir, and the Barlow Barrouge Cabernet Sauvignon. If you prefer beer or something stronger, never fear—they also offer 22 beers and over 120 different spirits.
Edge Steakhouse at the Westgate Resort has won many accolades, including the AAA Four Diamond designation, one of USA Today’s Top Restaurants in Park City, as well as one of Forbes Magazine’s Top 12 Steakhouses in the nation.
In addition, Edge has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, numerous OpenTable awards and the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. Edge Steakhouse’s wine cellar holds over 200 labels with an emphasis on popular California and Washington Cabernets and other robust reds like French Bordeaux, Spanish Vega Sicilia and cabernet-style Italian “Super-Tuscans” that pair well with steaks. “We strive for variety,” says manager and sommelier Matthew Sasaki, “and offer a variety of styles, regions and price points—from wines by the glass to $30 bottles and up to the premiere $5000 per bottle La Tache de la Domaine de la Romaneé-Conti from Burgundy. The well-trained staff is adept at discerning guests’ taste preferences to personalize wine pairings. “Our goal is to create unique, new experiences for our guests,” says Sasaki, “whether by introducing them to wines that are new to them or developing custom wine-pairing dinners to create memorable evenings.”
By Corinne Humphrey