What goes with plin? That will be one of Christie Dufault's key assignments now that she has taken the reins as sommelier at Quince.
Plin are tiny ravioli, one of the culinary stars on Piedmont, where they drink Barbera or Dolcetto. Dufault will have wider options at Quince, which makes the best plin I have found in the United States. Dufault has been hired to expand the wine list and help customers with just that sort of question.
Quince signaled its intention to upgrade its wine program when it hired Dufault as its sommelier earlier this month. Dufault has a history of building big, enticing wine lists. She was the sommelier of record when Restaurant Gary Danko won a Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2001. Earlier she took the short 150-wine list at Phoenix mainstay Vincent Guerithault on Camelback to 900 wines and a Best of Award of Excellence, and worked with Debbie Zachareas opening Bacar in San Francisco, a venue that pours 200 wines by the glass.
Quince, one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, already has a smart wine program, keeping about 350 listings in the book, with an eclectic mix of limited-production California, Italian and French wines. The list primarily contains current vintages but has a few older wines, mostly French, for bigger spenders. Dufault's task, according to co-owner Lindsay Tusk, is to beef up the fine and rare wines and find more options that go with her husband Michael's food.
"It is important to me and Mike that Christie chooses balanced wines to best complement Mike's food," Lindsay writes in an e-mail. "With that in mind, she will be adding more elegant styles of Northwest Pinot Noir, Burgundy and Italian reds to the list."
Dufault will also choose wines for a new tasting menu that will change nightly and be introduced in December. The Tusks didn't have the confidence that they could do it well themselves, even though I have always found Lindsay's suggestions for what to drink with dinner to be right on the mark.
John B Vlahos — Cupertino Ca. — November 28, 2006 7:33pm ET
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