VAIL VALLEY’S ONLY SAKE SOMMELIER BRINGS EXOTIC FLAVOR TO THE LODGE AT VAIL, A ROCKRESORT
**Sommelier Derek George introduces a sake-pairing menu at fine dining restaurant, The Wildflower**
Vail, CO – January 29, 2009 – Something new is brewing at The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort. This winter, the resort’s award-winning AAA Four Diamond restaurant, The Wildflower, introduces an unconventional twist to its typical Colorado regional fare. Vail Valley’s only certified sake sommelier, Derek George, is infusing new flavors with a series of sake pairing menus.
Though The Wildflower is known for its eclectic array of creative American cuisine, George aims to demonstrate that sake can work in the same way wine and beer traditionally have, interacting with the finest ingredients. The beverage complements all genres of food, from sushi rolls to a rack of Colorado lamb.
The Wildflower’s winter menu includes such pairings as Seared Diver Sea Scallops with Rihaku “Wandering Poet” Junmai Ginjo sake, Onion Soup with Tentaki Kuni “Hawk in the Heavens” Junmai sake, and Pan Roasted Alaska Halibut with Rihaku “Dreamy Clouds” Tokubtesu Junmai Nigori sake.
George has been sommelier and wine buyer at The Lodge at Vail since 2006. Originally from Northern California, he grew up in a strongly Japanese-influenced community, which struck his interest in sake at a young age. After being exposed to premium sakes while visiting Japan and throughout his culinary career, he began to understand the infinite possibilities of food pairings. Finally in the spring of 2008, he took his passion to the next level by attending International sake educator John Gauntner’s Certified Sake Course. The multi-day intensive training session highlighted everything from the production process to cultural ceremonies involving the beverage. After passing the exam, George became a certified sake sommelier - currently the only one in Vail Valley.
To create the pairing menu at The Wildflower, George tasted more than one hundred sakes to determine which would best enhance the existing style of cuisine. By working closely with Chef de Cuisine Justin Kalaluhi, George updates the sake selection on a weekly basis to harmonize with the varying menu. By this summer, George plans to create special sake dinners and seminars at The Lodge.
The AAA Four-Diamond Lodge at Vail offers relaxed luxury and impeccable personal service, and is situated in the heart of Vail Village. Featuring mountain and village views, The Lodge’s 165 rooms and suites are reminiscent of a fine European chalet with accents of mahogany and marble. The intimate alpine resort features two exceptional restaurants including The Wildflower and Cucina Rustica, as well as Mickey’s Bar, a Vail institution with live entertainment. A new, 11,000-square-foot RockResorts Spa opened in July 2008.
Derek George is available for interviews and can provide sake-related tips and trends. For more information about The Lodge at Vail visit WWW.ROCKRESORTS.COM or call 877-LAV-ROCK (528-7625).
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RockResorts, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vail Resorts, owns and operates luxury resort hotels that offer casually elegant accommodations, lavish RockResorts Spas™, renowned golf courses, award-winning dining and a variety of exciting outdoor adventures. The RockResorts collection includes The Arrabelle at Vail Square and The Lodge at Vail in Vail, Colo.; Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colo.; The Osprey at Beaver Creek and The Pines Lodge in Beaver Creek, Colo.; Keystone Lodge & Spa in Keystone, Colo.; La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa in Santa Fe, N.M.; Snake River Lodge & Spa in Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and The Landings St. Lucia, Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Future RockResorts include: Tempo Miami in Miami, Fla. (scheduled to open in 2009); One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, Colo. (scheduled to open in spring/summer 2009/2010); The Mansfield Inn at Stowe in Stowe, Vt. (scheduled to open in winter 2010/2011); Rum Cay Resort Marina, The Bahamas (scheduled to open in 2011); and the Third Turtle Club & Spa, Turks and Caicos (scheduled to open in 2011).