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Fork in the road


Deep Fork Grill has a new GM who happens to be a certified sommelier, and his new wine list is created with the customer in mind.

Greg Horton August 3rd, 2011

Joshua Strother took over as general manager of Deep Fork Grill, 5418 N. Western, in early July. A certified sommelier before he arrived at the restaurant, Strother brought his love of and expertise in wine to bear immediately, making small changes to an already very good list.

“We wanted more diversity on the list,” Strother (pictured) said. “Our philosophy at Deep Fork remains the same: Two pages is better than six. I just wanted a better selection of regions and styles within those parameters.”

For example, Strother said he added David Arthur Sauvignon Blanc and Domaine du Salvard Unique Sauvignon Blanc to the list. The goal was to get representation for French Sauvignon Blanc, as well as a different style from Napa. The list now allows customers to choose a variety from three of the four major Sauvignon Blanc regions in the world: Napa, Marlborough and the Loire Valley.

The Domaine du Salvard is a light, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, featuring lemon, petrol, minerality and herbal notes. It has enough acid to pair well with food, and is retail priced at or less than $15. It’s available at Broadway Wine Merchants, 824 N. Broadway, and 2nd Street Wine Co., 1340 E. Second in Edmond.

The list features 32 wines by the glass, representing nine different categories. Strother has also added a few half bottles and eliminated some high-end wines by the glass.

“We wanted to ensure the wine was always as fresh as possible,” he said, “so we eliminated a few selections and added some popular wines in the halfbottle format, including Rombauer Chardonnay, Plumpjack Cabernet, L’Ecole Merlot, and Veuve Clicquot (yellow label).”

Strother also implemented two new policies that are sure to please customers. All glass pours are now 6 ounces instead of the traditional 5. Wines from the “premium cellar” list now include a built-in price break.

“We wanted to sell the premium wines, not sit on them,” he said, “so we gave customers an incentive to buy those wines. For example, we marked Bond down from $500 to $375.”

The premium cellar wines aren’t all that expensive, although the argument that Bond is a bargain at that price is an easy one to make. The premium wines range from $60 to $375, and include some traditional local favorites like Silver Oak, Caymus and Justin Isosceles, as well as some new, highquality favorites like Blackbird Arise and 32 Winds Cabernet.

The notoriously reserved wine critic Stephen Tanzer gave the Arise 92 points, and wrote: “Supple, intense and energetic, with lovely rose petal lift and restrained sweetness to its seamless red fruit flavors. A sentimental favorite in my recent tastings.” It’s available at Edmond Wine Shop, 1520 S.

Boulevard in Edmond, and Spirit Shop, 1117 Garver in Norman.

On the more affordable end of the spectrum, Strother added Casal Garcia Vinho Verde by the glass. Vinho Verdes are Portuguese white wines, and this time of year (especially this year), they are a light, refreshing patio escape or a nice accompaniment to light lunches.

Vinho Verde will probably never render you speechless like an amazing Burgundy or Napa Cabernet, but they are solid, reliable, quaffable wines priced to sell, typically less than $10. The Casal Garcia is available at Wild Turkey Finer Wines, 12021 N. MacArthur.

For fans of big reds, Strother has added Ben Glaetzer’s Wallace Shiraz. Glaetzer is one of Australia’s premiere winemakers, and Wallace is an excellent introduction to his bold, but balanced, style. Wine Spectator gave the wine a 90-point rating and wrote, “This refreshing, exuberant style trumpets its cherry, rhubarb, and raspberry fruit, but tempers it with fine tannins and deft balance of acidity.”

The Wallace is also available by the glass at West, 6714 N. Western, and Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, 7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive.

Glass prices on the new list range from $6 (Casal Garcia) to $18 (Honig Cabernet). The bottle prices on the non-premium list range from $21 to $82, with nearly 20 selections less than $40 per bottle.

Photo by Mark Hancock

 
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