With the exception of the Mendocino County Fair in Boonville, where the sight of gold ribbons festooning our apples has been known to make us giddy, we are not generally award seekers. Sure, it’s great to be acknowledged, but the desire to impress critics and judges too often shifts focus from the real people we should be pleasing... our customers. Take your eye off the ball for even a minute with a dining experience like ours, which strives to engage all the senses, and you can blow it. Talent without consistency is like only being able to sing a perfect aria in the shower. You need to hit the high notes with every performance.
At the end of day diners here know Ryan holds their pleasure as the hallmark of our achievement. We’re with him.
That being said, earlier this year we made an exception and gave our deeply talented wine director and somm Alexis Laconis the resources to expand our cellar, and giddy we were when we learned Barndiva has earned a coveted 'two glasses' in the Wine Spectator’s Best Of Awards “for excellent breadth across multiple wine growing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation."
To win in this category you need a minimum of 350 or more selections (or faces) within two specialties. Ours were California and France, which befits our food profile. For all his drive and innovation Ryan has never strayed far from a love of a California/French style of cooking in great part inspired from his years working alongside Thomas Keller at both The French Laundry and Per Se.
Here in town, Dry Creek Kitchen has justly held two glasses for many years, with Charlie Palmer’s deep bank of California wines and his wonderful Pinot Festival a hallmark on the wine calendar. This award puts us in some esteemed company with restaurants we admire -Atelier Crenn, Coi, Quince, Auberge du soleil. (To check out all the winners, click here.)
Also breaking news: three of the selections on our “award winning” list will soon have a Barndiva label on them. Thanks to Alexis, Wells Guthrie, and the talented folks at Copain Winery, we are adding three Barndiva Label wines this Fall: an elegant Chardonnay with aromas of honeysuckle, jasmine and lemon curd, with a lively palate of fresh orchard and crushed stone; a Tous Ensembles Syrah in classic Wells style, exhibiting great tension and balance; a Pinot Noir with a nose of fresh red fruits, rose petal and vanilla, a body redolent of dark stone fruit and apple skins. (don't you just love wine nomenclature?) All three will be available BTG in Barndiva and The Gallery Bar & bistro this Fall. We are especially pleased the organic grapes for the Chardonnay were grown not far from Barndiva's Farm in Anderson Valley.
Alexis, Cathryn and Lukka have also been hard at work this year expanding our reach in wine events, especially those which showcase excellence, talent, and, yes, as important to wine making as it is to food, consistency. In the gallery and gardens we've twice hosted the wonderful local collaborative that throws the White and Pink Parties, catered many individual winery launches and tastings, and will continue through Fall to host a very special “last Friday of the month" lunch with Lioco winemakers, which is open to the public.
Working with Alexis - a new mom again - we have all been reinvigorated by the depth of her passion. Though her knowledge is prodigious, (Our Cup Runneth Over), her abiding goal is that our cellar reflects an expansive range that's exciting but approachable. She is just as happy to discover a unknown gem from a small vineyard as she is to go deep with classic producers and vintages that never fail to make intriguing connections to the finer nuances of Ryan Fancher menus. She does not miss a beat.
It’s not just that Alexis understands the connection between wine and food. It's that she 'gets' the connection between wine and life, the almost magical way that by enhancing the experience of one, you invariably lift all there is to celebrate about the other.
If you craft or represent a superior wine you'd like us to consider, you can reach Alexis at email@example.com. To host a wine related event in The Gallery or in one of our beautiful gardens, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.