July 14, 2016. Darby, Montana – The wine program at Triple Creek Ranch has led to 10 consecutive Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence awards since 2005 and a yearly Best Of, Award of Excellence from the publication since 2012. Last month it received a 3-star award, the highest honor, from World of Fine Wine’s “World’s Best Wine Lists Awards.” Behind these accolades is Sommelier Jeremy White, who has been curating the wine selection at Triple Creek Ranch since 2009.
Jeremy, congratulations, you’ve just passed a very important sommelier exam.
Yes, in April I took and passed the Advanced Sommelier Course & Exam from the Court of Master Sommeliers. It’s the third of four levels and one of the top wine certifications in the world. If you’ve seen the film SOMM, you’ve seen how intense the preparation and the competition is for the candidates. The next level is the top, the Master Sommelier. It will take me at least two years to prepare to sit for that exam.
How has the wine program grown at Triple Creek Ranch since you became Sommelier in 2009?
Our owners, Craig and Barbara Barrett, have provided me with an incredible platform. They’ve given me the opportunity and freedom to expand the wine cellar at Triple Creek Ranch. I’ve worked to increase both breadth and the vintage depth, which is starting to show now. Montana has also seen a huge shift in wine consumption since 2009, consumers are getting more interested and sophisticated and the distributors are starting to bring in serious wines. In large part, Triple Creek Ranch has been a driving force behind this by supporting boutique producers. We now have 2,600 bottles and about 700 selections in our cellar.
When you talk about increasing depth of the cellar, what have you been working on?
Let’s take Pinot Noir, for example. We have a wide selection of Burgundies, but I’ve also added a greater selection of wines from the New World and focused more on the Northwest vintners. Many of our European guests don’t have access to Washington State and Oregon wines overseas. Of course, Pinot Noirs also happen to go very well with Chef Jake Leatherman’s food.
What are some of the notable strengths of the Triple Creek Ranch cellar?
California Cabernets are king at Triple Creek Ranch, and the Pinots. In terms of regions, we are very strong in wines from California, the Pacific Northwest and France.
What offerings might surprise a guest when they settle down to look at your list?
The Rieslings. They’ve been called the “sommelier’s grape,” because sommeliers tend to get excited about them. They are so versatile yet many people just don’t know much about them. We have a quite a few from Germany, Austria and Alsace, but also from places you might not expect Riesling to be grown, such as Oregon and Australia.
Are Triple Creek Ranch’s Vintner Events strictly for serious wine aficionados?
Not at all. A certain percentage of the guests might know the vintner from a visit to the vineyard or their wine club, but many of our other guests come just to learn. It’s also important to remember that these are multi-day events, not tastings or just a weekend. At the Vintner Events, you’re not meeting a sales manager, you’re meeting the winemaker or the vineyard owner. You have access to them, to taste, talk and enjoy ranch activities alongside some of the country’s preeminent vintners. People like Cyril and Blakesley Chappellet of Chappellet Winery, who are really hands on. You will sometimes get to physically blend the wine from a producer like Et Fille Wines, a boutique winery from Oregon. With Merry Edwards, from California’s Russian River Valley, we’ve been able to do amazing tastings, like a flight of 10 vintages from her Meredith Estate Pinot Noir. The Vintner Events showcase the best of Triple Creek Ranch – enjoying great wine in a spectacular western setting.
How would you sum up your attitude about wine?
Classic wine makes the food better and the food makes the wine better — if you do it properly! It’s all about synergy, which is a very powerful thing and enhances the entire dining experience.
2016-2017 VINTNER EVENTS AT TRIPLE CREEK RANCH
- November 23- 27, 2016 Thanksgiving Vintner Weekend L’Aventure Winery
2017 WINTER VINTNER AND CULINARY EVENTS
- Jan 26 – 29 Chateau Montelena
- Feb 9 – 12 Spottswoode
14TH ANNUAL SPRING VINTNER SERIES
- May 4 – 7 Et Fille Wines
- May 11 – 14 Merry Edwards
- May 18 – 21 Hill Family Winery
- May 25 – 28 Chappellet Winery
Triple Creek Ranch, which was ranked one of the top 10 hotels in the United States in the Travel + Leisure 2016 World’s Best Awards, is located outside Darby, Montana in the Bitterroot Range of the Rocky Mountains. An all-inclusive retreat for adults and children sixteen years and older, the Ranch is a member of Relais & Châteaux and Virtuoso. Rates start at $950 per couple, per night, based on double occupancy and includes a private log cabin, all meals, house wines, spirits and beers, and a range of outdoor activities including horseback riding, fly fishing, cooking classes, skijoring and more. For reservations, contact [email protected] or 800-654-2943.For more information visit www.triplecreekranch.com