(Snoqualmie Falls, Washington) - Under the direction of Randy Austin, Cellar Master, the Salish Lodge & Spa has created one of the most unique and extensive wine collections in the world.
With the largest selection of Washington wines available in the world and the most extensive wine list in Washington State, the wine cellar at Salish Lodge & Spa lends another dimension of excellence to the Salish experience. Nurtured by cellar master Randy Austin, the wine cellar at Salish Lodge & Spa has grown from a 100-item list in the 1980s to its current collection of 1,080 wines and over 7,000 bottles in the wine cellar. Nearly 40% of these labels are from Washington State wineries, with numerous Pacific Northwest, California and French wines represented as well.
Salish Lodge & Spa has been honored with a “Best of Award of Excellence” for 14 years (1988-2002) from Wine Spectator magazine, a “Best Cellar” award by the Washington Wine Press, “Best Washington Wine List” from Wine Press Northwest from 1999-2002, a “Distinguished Restaurants of North America” citation, and a four-diamond rating from Northwest Wine Magazine.
The wine program at Salish Lodge & Spa extends beyond the collection itself to a philosophy that fully expresses the culinary potential of both wine and food. The culinary staff shares Randy Austin`s reverence for fine wine, which is reflected in the menus of the Dining Room, the Attic, room service and catered events. Each dish conceived by the culinary team starts with wine selected by Mr. Austin. All of the qualities of wine are considered-including weight or mouth feel, then tasting the wine for an identifiable food component, or “bridge of flavor” such as black cherry or citrus. The discovery of these bridges of flavor inspires the culinary team to enhance dishes in a particular way, such as adding dried cherries or citrus zest.
“Our absolute goal,” says Mr. Austin, “is to create a marriage of food and wine that elevates each to a higher point.” For the diner, this passionate commitment to fine wine and exquisitely fresh and flavorful food results in a powerful sensory experience like no other.
Unlike most fine restaurants, The Dining Room at Salish Lodge & Spa has a sommelier present in the restaurant seven days a week, for every meal served. Diners are encouraged to discuss their taste preferences with the sommelier, who then navigates them through the wine list to the perfect wine to accompany their meal. Every diner, from the most erudite wine connoisseur to the wine novice wishing to mark a special occasion with a special wine, is given full consideration by the sommelier.
“We do everything we can to create a wine experience that is memorable for every guest,” adds Mr. Austin.
Salish Lodge & Spa features a number of special amenities built around its wine program. Even sleepy Sunday mornings are enlivened by the presence of the sommelier, brandishing a Jeroboam of fine champagne as the most festive part of The Dining Room`s renowned, five-course Country Breakfast.
Asked about the wineries to watch for this year, Mr. Austin points to four Walla Walla, Washington wineries that have captured his attention: Three Rivers, whose recently released Chardonnay has received high marks. He also suggests the wines of Chuck Reineger, Dunham Winery and its Cabernet, and Walla Walla Vintners` Cabernet Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
For anyone interested in developing a personal approach to wine observation, Mr. Austin recommends purchasing a case of wine, opening a bottle now and recording one`s reaction to the wine. He then recommends opening one bottle a year for the next eleven years, and making written observations for each bottle opened. In this way, one develops a record of the wine`s properties as it ages, as well as a language for wine tasting.
Consistently ranked among the best small resorts in the world, Salish Lodge & Spa is located 30 miles east of Seattle, overlooking the 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls. Each of the 91 guest rooms has a bedside wood-burning fireplace, two-person whirlpool tub, goosedown comforter, votive candles, and balcony or window seat. The resort offers a variety of recreational activities, treatments at the award-winning Spa, contemporary Northwest cuisine, and personalized service.
For more information or reservations, please call 1-800-826-6124, a travel professional or visit the Salish Lodge & Spa website at www.salishlodge.com.