Perfect pairings |

Perfect pairings

Kelly J. Hayes
Aspen Times Weekly
Tim Baldwin, director of wine at The Broadmoor, samples a glass in the wine cellar of the Penrose Room.

One of the great advantages of attending Steve Raichlen’s BBQ-U is the outstanding facilities provided on “campus” at The Broadmoor Hotel. There are three premier restaurants on the property, each with unique wine programs.

At the top of the list is the Penrose Room. This classic European-style restaurant was the first in Colorado to be awarded the AAA Five-Diamond designation when it achieved that status last year. Complementing the elegance of the Penrose Room are two Four-Diamond restaurants, the ultra-contemporary Summit, designed by New York’s Adam Tihany, and the lakeside Charles Court.

The Broadmoor’s 28-year-old wine director, Tim Baldwin, says that his goal is to offer completely different experiences at each restaurant. “We want to give each wine list a separate identity so guests on the property can do something different each evening they are here,” he relates.

To achieve this, Baldwin says the wine lists are paired with the restaurants. “At Penrose we want a classic, ‘Old World’ list with not only great Burgundy and Barbera, but also terrific values from established regions of Spain.”

Charles Court features seasonal American cuisine. “We have a list that is all American,” Baldwin explains. “Currently we have selections from California, Oregon, Washington and New York, mostly, but we are actively sourcing wines from other states like Colorado, Texas, even Virginia and Missouri. After all, wine is now made in all 50 states.”

Finally, there is the eclectic list at Summit. “This is where we can be really creative,” he enthuses. “This is the wine list sommeliers would do for sommeliers. We have a Hungarian Pinot Noir and Slovenian Chardonnay along with affordable, interesting finds from winemakers around the world who have yet to be discovered by aficionados.”

So what would Baldwin suggest with barbecue? We asked him to pair wines from each of the three restaurants with three very different dishes that Steven Raichlen prepared at BBQ-U.

The first dish was a “Honey Sesame Shrimp on the Barbie,” a lighter appetizer that is a little sweet and has hints of Asian flavors. Baldwin went to the American list at Charles Court to select a Soter, Beacon Hill, Brut Rose, from Oregon. A pink sparkler, this Pinot Noir-based wine is light enough to refresh but sturdy enough to stand up to smoke. Besides, it looks gorgeous in a flute next to the shrimp.

Our main course was “spatchcock game hens cooked under a brick with basil marinade.” Big and flavorful fowl called for an Old World wine. Baldwin suggested a wine from the list at the Penrose Room, the Descendientes de J. Palacios, Corullon, Las Lamas, Bierzo, Spain, 2003. This wine is made from a grape called Mencia and is grown in an emerging region in the northwestern corner of Spain.

And for desert we had a “Smoked Roasted Raspberry-Pear Crumble.” Again, both smoky and sweet, and again Baldwin took us to Spain to pair a wine from the Summit list, the Silvano Garcia, Monastrell Dulce, Jumilla, Spain, 2006 . This intense, dark purple desert wine is made from 100 percent monastrell, a grape variety that is known as mourvedre in other parts of the world. It has dark fruit flavor and perfectly pairs with the fruits in the desert.

All three are inspiring choices that make me want to fire up a grill and open some wine.