Jill Zimorski even has a nickname for her Code38 wine knife. At the suggestion of one of her colleagues, she calls it Gwyneth Paltrow – “for her sleek lines, high end price tag…” The name stuck, she tells me.
The Sommelier and Wine Director for Volt Restaurant in Frederick, MD (about 40 miles outside of Washington DC) used her knife most recently to open a 2001 Lopez de Heredia ‘Vina Tondonia’ Reserva Rioja – but the first serious bottle she opened with it was a 1998 Ch.Haut Brion. “She worked like a charm”, Jill says. “I had just returned from a wine event where I tasted seven vintages of Haut Brion from quite old to more recent, and I was giddy with excitement to talk about it with the guest.”
Jill even proposes a runner-up – a bottle of 2009 Dom. Forey Morey-Saint-Denis. “They only made one barrel of this wine – just 25 cases – and I was able to get a hold of six bottles. It’s a baby, but I was excited to taste it.”
While she’s loving a lot of wines at the moment it’s pink ones she is favouring. “Spring has gotten me amped up on pink wine”, she tells me. “I’ve got a ton of it coming into the restaurant and my current great love is 2010 Chateau Simone Palette Rosé.” Ridiculously good, she says of it. Nominating favourite variety and wine region proved a bit tricky for Jill – but she came up with Riesling and, as far as region went, Champagne. “Or the Loire. Or the Rheingau. Ugh, too hard to pick!” Unlike, however, her current favourite white which – for summer – she unhesitatingly says is a 2010 Sigalas Assyrtiko/Athiri blend from Greece’s Santorini. As for a red, it would be an Umbrian blend of Sagrantino, Sangiovese and Montepulciano, the 2007 Paolo Bea ‘San Valentino’.
Jill says that all her memorable wine moments involve Champagne. “The first wine I remember really blowing my mind was Champagne – I was 20 and it was 1990 Perrier-Jouet ‘Fleur de Champagne’ and I thought ‘dang, this is really, really good.’ Or… fast forward to my 30th birthday party where the only beverages served were my favourite can beers and half bottles of Champagne. Friends and family had the bottles in beer huggies (‘coozies?’) and were drinking straight from the bottle. Both extraordinarily classy and also easy to clean up afterwards.”
And a suggested wine for other Code38 members? That would be a 2010 Francois Villard ‘Les Contours de Deponcins’ VdP Viognier from the Northern Rhone. “This wine”, she says, “is essentially a baby Condrieu and I like to pair it with Chef’s butter-poached lobster with black forbidden rice, papaya and Madras curry.” (The mind boggles – but in the nicest possible way.) It’s imported by Elite Imports out of Virginia for those wanting to whip up the dish and serve it alongside… Jill possesses the Code38 Stealth model – a gift engraved with her monogram. “So it’s uniquely mine”, she says. “It cost more than a lot of the wine that I open with it – but only I know that.” (Not any more Jill!) “I love how it feels in my hand, I love the look. I love its distinctive look and look forward to guests inquiring about it.” That’s her Gwyneth Paltrow!