Scott Gardner, Finca
Secret weapon: Old cocktails. Scott finds a lot of inspiration in his research.
The contemporary cocktail is concocted with attention to the way flavor moves through the nose and palate, with awareness of a beginning, middle and end. We have a lot of passionate mixologists in Utah, but Scott is a star. You can appreciate his cocktails like you do wine—they have a flavor story. They change seasonally and make the nighttime brighter. 1291 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-487-0699
Food & Wine Education Award
Look at the list: If you see Latour, Carol Shelton, Saracina and Jeriko on the wine list, then Francis has been here.
It’s not easy to be a wine broker in Utah. It takes a combination of diplomacy, hucksterism and sheer hard-headedness to simultaneously deal with the all-powerful Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverages, independent restaurant owners and winemakers. You have to be a teacher and mentor, educating wineries about Utah laws, educating restaurant owners about little-known wineries and educating Utahns about wine. Few have devoted themselves to raising Utah’s wine IQ with more passion than Francis Fecteau, owner of Libation, Inc. Besides teaching classes and holding tastings, he has hosted many in Utah’s food community at his “wine camps,” where chefs, servers, restaurant owners and writers experience winemaking hands on. libation-online.com
Best Wine List
Tipple this: Carmins del Priorat, a reasonably priced blend of garnacha, carignane, cabernet sauvignon and syrah.
The authenticity of a cuisine lies in more than just ingredients; there’s a cultural philosophy and attitude towards food that is typical of its origins. So the food at Finca is about the spirit of Spain, not a Disney-style re-creation of clichés. But the wine is purely Spanish. Scott Evans has developed a wine list that showcases the best Spain has to offer, region by region, including traditional wines but also the freshest in Spanish wine styles, made by winemakers like Alvaro Palacios, who play in the old terroir with new ideas. 1291 S. 1100 East, SLC, 801-487-0699