Over the holidays, I enjoyed an evening at the Wine Vault for apres ski appetizers and a champagne sabering ceremony, a cocktail hour tradition celebrated world-wide. The Wine Vault is a private dining room room located inside the St. Regis, halfway up on a ski area in Deer Valley, Utah, with a spectacular view.
I traveled up the mountainside in a ‘funicular’, a unique old-fashioned single railway car that traverses up and down the mountain on rails. Once on top, a separate open-air pavilion features a bar and a fire pit surrounded by large stones, and a gorgeous view.
I learned the art of sabrage has a history that stretches back more than 200 years, and the story goes that Napoleon Bonaparte and the Light Brigade troops opened champagne bottles with their sabers to impress the young widow, Madame Clicquot. The general famously said, “Champagne: in victory, one deserves it; in defeat, one needs it.”
Each night at the resort, as the sun begins to set, a St. Regis sommelier gives a brief history of the saber, Madame Clicquot and of the making of champagne, and then demonstrates the sabering technique on a bottle of champagne. With a quick cut of his sword, the champagne is uncorked, and the beautiful view is then toasted by all with a raised glass.
Back inside, the hostess takes me to the private room known as the Wine Vault, hidden from the main dining room. The Wine Vault’s muted shades and simple table settings set the stage for the wine collection, housed in floor-to-ceiling clear refrigerated cases.
In addition to champagne and hot chocolate I enjoyed small platings of tuna tartare and bacon garnished grilled brussel sprouts while sipping on an ABC – a delicious mix of Amaretto, Bailey’s, and Cointreau.
When dining out, for me the most memorable places have great atmosphere and a light menu, with attention to aesthetic detail and an overall relaxed experience, and the Wine Vault is on point for all. If you find yourself dining out and about in Deer Valley, the Wine Vault is a must-have moment, or as Napoleon would say, one simply needs it.