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From Lyon to Vienna: An Early June Eurotrip

Dear Guests,

After two really amazing years here at Bar Boulud, I want to announce that I will be moving on from my post here with Chef Daniel Boulud.

The past couple of years have been immensely rewarding on both a personal and professional level. I will always remember the amazing people on the Dinex team, and the wonderful guests that fill our restaurants each and every evening. I still pinch myself to think that Daniel Johnnes and Raj Vaidya hired me for this position as Chef Sommelier, and it has been a real honor to come to work and make the wine program a little better each day. The core team of sommeliers here at Bar Boulud does such an amazing job, and we are proud to announce that our new Chef Sommelier, Ian Smedley, worked his way up through the ranks here at Dinex Group.

Ian was born in Lewiston, Maine, then attended Bard in the Hudson Valley where he studied Comparative Literature, inculcating a real love of such authors as Italo Calvino and Proust. During this time period, Ian had his first real exposure to wine, when he took a job at Tousey Winery. This nascent interest in wine and how it was made grew during a trip abroad to Florence. The humble table wines that Ian was offered, from unlabeled fiascosung with a sense of place, a feeling of real character, the sense of somewhereness that cannot be mimicked. The hours spent driving amongst the olive groves and vineyards set an imprint in Ian’s mind of what wine could be.

Ian took a job at Boulud Sud after moving to New York City in 2013 to learn about wine, and worked himself up from being a Busser, to Food Runner, then Bartender. Tending bar at Boulud Sud at that time was great exposure for Ian because he had the opportunity to work with Michael Madrigale, and to pour many of Mike’s selections by the glass to an interested and educated audience. Ian was learning at an incredible rate, world-class wines were open every evening, all around him, and he was making the most of it.

Ask any Sommelier, and there is often a bottle that really set the fire off for them, making them want to carry heavy wine boxes in a suit, program POS systems, stare at spreadsheets for hours on end, all in the name of learning more about wine. For Ian, this was a bottle of Pierre Gonon, an iconic Northern Rhône producer in the village of Mauves. The story of how this wine ended up in Ian’s hands would set off a series of events that led him to where he is today.

Basically, Ian asked Madrigale where he should go to learn more about wine, and Mike sent him downtown to meet John ‘Beaver’ Truax. When Ian returned with a bottle of Gonon Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes 2006, Madrigale could not believe Ian had somehow charmed John into bestowing such a special and rare bottle of wine upon him. This friendship with John would lead to a position at Flatiron Wines for Ian, where he continued to learn, before Raj Vaidya called and brought him in as Head Sommelier at DBGB. Ian not only grew an amazing wine and beer selection there, he also grew an amazing red beard. So, if you saw a gentleman talking Proust or Calvino with a big red beard during this time period, that was Ian.

Much to the sommelier community’s chagrin, the beard was eventually shaved, but for a worthy cause, that of working as a Sommelier at DANIEL, under Raj’s tutelage. The quality of the wines opened on a daily basis at DANIEL is rarely believed, even within the Sommelier community, so suffice to say: Ian has grown a lot from his two years at DANIEL, both in terms of service, as well as a running catalog of wines he has tasted, and is ready for the opportunity before him. I am excited for what is to come next for Ian, and for Bar Boulud. I believe there are big things down the road, and this next chapter will prove to be an interesting one.

On a personal level, I want to thank everyone who I have had the opportunity to serve here at Bar Boulud. It has been an unforgettable experience, one that I will remember for a long time. I would also like to thank the Sommeliers who I have had the chance to work with, as well as all kitchen and front of house staff, you are all so truly professional, and continue to inspire me each day. Finally, I want to thank Raj and Daniel Johnnes for believing in me, and supporting me along this path. From the bottom of my heart, thanks to all of you.

Without further ado, since I know he has some amazing wines for you this week, I am proud to present you with our new Chef Sommelier, Ian Smedley.

All the best,

Joe Robitaille

Jean-François Ganevat,
Côtes de Jura Chardonnay ‘Cuvée Marguerite’ 2013

Christian Tschida, Neusiedlersee ‘Domkapitel’ 2013

Ar. Pe. Pe.,
Valtellina Superiore Riserva ‘Sassella – Rocce Rosse’ 1997
Poured from a 3-Liter Jeroboam

Bereche et Fils,
Extra Brut Rosé ‘Campania Remensis’ NV

Domaine Economou,
Thrapsathiri-Vilana 2009

Château Fortia, Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2000
Poured from a 3-Liter Jeroboam

Nahe Riesling Grosses Gewächs ‘Felsenberg’ 2012