It’s not often I get to announce big food world news, but a right place-right time conversation with Scott Conant this morning about his wine program brought this bombshell. Master Sommelier Paolo Barbieri, late of the recently shuttered Restaurant Alex in the Wynn resort, has joined Conant’s team as Wine Director of both Scarpetta and D.O.C.G. in The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
This is not just a coup for Conant and the Cosmo (Barbieri is one of the most respected Somms in the entire US) and Las Vegas (ibid) but in a way for Barbieri as well, since it means he doesn’t have to move, and gets to shift focus from selling big French and California labels to Italian wines, of which the native Roman is undoubtedly well versed.
Well, I expect it’s a coup for him… I’ll look to get a quote from Paolo as soon as the p.r. people get over being upset with me for breaking the news (apparently) early.
UPDATE: Look for my interview with Paolo in the May 2010 issue of THE TASTING PANEL.
BTW, Barbieri is also a winemaker, so no doubt we can expect his California Syrahs to be among the few domestics on Scarpetta’s list.
Conant informs me that Scarpetta and D.O.C.G.’s wine programs, already quite serious, will be expanding even further.