Wine and dine at Six89 with sommelier Bill Bentley
CARBONDALE Asking Bill Bentley, Six89’s self-titled “wine guy,” if he has seen the Oscar-winning movie “Sideways” is like wondering if wine is made from grapes.”If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if I saw that movie … ” said Bentley, who has completed the introductory sommelier course of the Court of Master Sommeliers, an international examining body for wine stewards. “But people who ask a lot of questions about wine, that’s good.”
Bentley (husband of Post Independent graphic artist Patti) and Six89 chef and owner Mark Fischer orchestrated the pairings for Thursday’s Tandem Winery winemaker’s dinner at the highly acclaimed Carbondale restaurant. The food-and-wine-pairing event, which sold out two weeks after its announcement, will feature Fischer’s eclectic six-course meal and five fruit-forward summer labels from the Sonoma County winery.”I’m very appreciative of chefs and sommeliers who have the gift and awareness of flavors,” said Greg Bjornstad, an Arvada native and Colorado State University alumnus who co-owns Tandem Winery with Greg Lafollette in Sebastopol, Calif. “These type of dinners really make our wine shine, and I enjoy a very intimate setting where there are people there who are very serious about food and wine.”
Worldwide restaurant guide the Zagat Survey recently called Bentley a “genius sommelier with a stellar cellar.” Naturally humble, he prefers a less formal title and approach to food and wine pairing.”I like to be called the ‘wine guy’ instead of sommelier,” said Bentley, who hails from New England and came to Colorado to rock climb. “We try to keep the pretension out of the equation as much as possible.”
Starting his experience in the restaurant industry at 15, Bentley said he became interested in wine tasting and pairing through hands-on learning from influential co-workers at the Flagstaff House Restaurant in Boulder. He said wine’s popularity has increased in the seven years since he has worked at Six89.”I was always curious why people spent so much money on it,” he said. “Wine has really exploded in the last five years. The more I get into it, the more I want to make it simple. People need to remember that wine is all a bunch of grape juice anyway.”Somehow, pairing grape juice with truffled summer risotto and huitlacoche-and-squab enchiladas doesn’t have the same ring.Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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