Delta Sky Magazine: Mark Eberwein on 3 Sommelier Favorites

Mark Eberwein on 3 Sommelier Favorites
By Sarah Elbert

April 1 2012 | Delta Sky Magazine

Mark Eberwein had spent less than a year in Park City, Utah, as the director of food and beverage at the St. Regis Deer Valley resort when Food & Wine named him one of the top sommeliers of 2011. Building and maintaining the upscale ski resort’s 12,000-bottle cellar is a particular challenge in Utah, where all wine sales must funnel through the state liquor authority. But Eberwein has managed to do just that, creating a wine list that’s equal to the refined American menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s elegant but cozy J & G Grill. After a day on the slopes (with cosseting service from the St. Regis’ ski valets) and a massage at the airy Remède Spa, it’s hard to beat the Clark’s Farm lamb chops paired with a bottle of Robert Sinskey’s POV at the J & G Grill.

Eberwein learned his craft at Rancho Bernardo Inn’s El Bizcocho in San Diego, but he says he’s been collecting wine memories all around the world, from glasses enjoyed on a balcony at the Lemonthyme Resort in Tasmania, Australia, to those savored on summer evening hikes above Utah’s Provo River Falls. “My best wine-drinking experiences have always happened when I was with my best friends,” he says. When it comes to three eclectic sure wine bets, Eberwein points diners toward El Bizcocho, M. Chapoutier winery in France and Café Boulud in NYC.

1. El Bizcocho in San Diego

LOCALE: Rancho Bernardo Inn, 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive

CHEF: Once the kitchen of Gavin Kaysen, El Bizcocho now falls under the helm of executive chef Nicolas Bour, who previously worked at The Farmhouse in Georgia. While he was there, The Farmhouse received a “Best Farm to Table” award from Gourmet magazine—a fitting accolade considering Bour’s childhood growing up on a working organic farm.

RESTAURANT: If you’re looking for romance, a stay at the Rancho Bernardo Inn is nearly a sure bet—and that goes for an evening at El Bizcocho, as well. The dining room embodies comfortable, Old World elegance, with a menu of traditional French dishes prepared with a soupçon of California flair. And if you can’t find the perfect bottle on the huge wine list, you aren’t looking hard enough.

BACKSTORY: Eberwein worked at El Bizcocho for six years, though he started out as a “cellar rat” for the inn, running across the property to fetch whatever bottles were needed. “At the end of the night, we got to taste wine, and we got to taste wine every day. What that does for your palate is amazing,” Eberwein says. “I grew up there and it is where I fell in love with wine.”