The Little Nell, Aspen's only five star hotel, boasts a Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine cellar overseen by exceedingly knowledgeable sommeliers. The Little Nell has had more masters come through its wine program than any other establishment in the country. The hotel's current wine director, Carlton McCoy, is a talented Master Sommelier who believes wine can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone, especially when spending time with friends and family.
Carlton, originally from Washington D.C., discovered his love of wine and service at The Culinary Institute of America, where he studied on scholarship. He made his way to The Little Nell in November 2011, enthused by the hotel's wine program and property's reputation. Below is a brief interview with Carlton about his love of wine:
ACRA: What made you decide to become a sommelier?
Carlton: I have been involved in the food and beverage industry my entire life. I worked at a restaurant in D.C. and my boss inspired me to focus on wine. I began studying and never turned back!
ACRA: What do you look for in a wine when buying for yourself?
Carlton: I tend to look for light, refreshing whites and more mineral-driven reds with less oak.
ACRA: If you had to choose one dish and wine to pair it with from Element 47, what would it be?
Carlton: I love the Wild Mushroom Gnocchi we are featuring right now, and it pairs extremely well with the 2010 Jean Marc Pillot Chassagne Montrachet Les Chaumes.
ACRA: How would you characterize Aspen's wine and beverage culture?
Carlton: I think Aspen has a wonderful wine culture! I see guests enjoying a nice glass of rose and a great burgundy in the same way.
*Photo courtesy of Aspen Snowmass