Add another master to the Nell
The Little Nell has added a new Master Sommelier to its team. Sabato Sagaria, the director of food and beverage for the hotel, has just received his Master Sommelier diploma, joining an elite group of 122 top wine professionals in North America.
The Little Nell has had nine masters working on the property. It hosted the Master Sommelier exam in Aspen May 20-23. The exam, dubbed “the hardest test in the world,” has a pass rate of approximately 10 percent and was being held for the first time in Colorado.
As a Master Sommelier, Sagaria has now achieved the highest distinction afforded in the wine industry by successfully completing an intense examination. It consists of a verbal theory test where other masters ask 150 questions on anything and everything relating to wine, spirits and sake, while a service test expects candidates to correctly address mock service scenarios, including wine decanting, champagne service and pairing different wines with food. Finally the candidate must also blind taste six wines in less than 25 minutes, successfully determining the wine’s origin, grape and vintage.
Fifty candidates sat for the exam at The Little Nell this week, with just four passing. Among the candidates was Little Nell assistant wine director Carlton McCoy, who passed both the tasting and the verbal theory portions of the exam on his first try.
The Little Nell’s wine director Jonathan Pullis received his Master Sommelier diploma in 2009.
New chef at the Artisan
The Stonebridge Inn’s Artisan Restaurant in Snowmass Village has hired Randall Baldwin as executive chef. Baldwin will oversee all of the back-of-the-house culinary operations at the 93-room hotel.
Baldwin joins the Artisan from the Sage Restaurant at the Snowmass Club. A graduate of The Art Institute of Colorado (culinary arts department), Baldwin honed his skills as executive chef at The Motherlode, Takah Sushi, Maroon Creek Club and the Limelight.
A native of Steamboat Springs, Baldwin’s Colorado roots and use of fresh local ingredients are showcased through his cuisine. Baldwin believes in using fresh, simple, local ingredients — Colorado-grown beef, cheeses and vegetables — to accent his dishes by blending global contemporary cuisine with traditional local favorites. He will also be incorporating more vegetarian and healthy options for diners, including gluten free options.
Aspen Club ready to build
Schematic designs for the 90,000 square feet of additional space are complete and the development team is in place for the healthy living retreat that will soon be The Aspen Club and Auberge Residences.
The $60 million project, drawn up by Poss Architecture + Planning, includes 20 fractional ownership condominiums and 14 affordable housing units. It also will consist of $5 million in capital improvements and programming to the existing Aspen Club, with an indoor/outdoor swimming pool. The construction process is estimated to take about two years and is projected to begin in early 2013.
The Aspen Club & Auberge Residences will combine health, spa and performance programming of The Aspen Club, along with the hospitality of Auberge Resorts. The residences will feature two-, three- and four-bedroom town homes.
The Auberge Residence owners will have the opportunity to rent their units when not occupied, creating a year-round revenue stream.
The development team for the project includes Mark Harmon (CEO) and Eric Calderon (COO) of Auberge Resorts and Hotels; Bill Poss and Chris Ridings of Poss Architecture + Planning; development owners representative Jack Donovan of Steeplechase Development Partners; landscape architect Greg Mozian of Greg Mozian and Associates, Inc.; interior designer Todd-Avery Lenahan of ABA Design Studio; and real estate marketing, sales and communication consultant RJ Gallagher of Forte International.