Washington is losing one of its top sommeliers. Michael Flynn, who has been a fixture of the DC restaurant scene for nearly three decades and has most notably helmed the wine programs for Bob Kinkead’s restaurants, leaves town tomorrow to become wine and beverage director at the Mansion at Turtle Creek in Dallas.
“I love Washington and its diners, and I certainly had no desire to leave town,” Flynn told me. “But this was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”
Flynn has been written up in national food magazines as a leading sommelier in the mid-Atlantic region, and the wine program he created at Kinkead’s has consistently ranked near the top of any sensible ranking of the best DC wine lists. He created a thermometer-style gauge on the list that gave diners a visual representation of wines from light to full-bodied to help them in their selections and food pairings. He has also penned articles for magazines aimed at the restaurant wine trade.
In addition to running the drinks program at Kinkead’s, Flynn oversaw the wine list at the chef’s Colvin Run Tavern in Tysons Corner. The recent decision to close that restaurant for at least a year and seek a new location reduced Flynn’s responsibilities and made him more receptive to new challenges. “I was not looking forward to a hiatus,” he said.
The Mansion at Turtle Creek has just undergone a $20-million renovation and is scheduled to re-open in late October —so the restaurant was eager to have a new sommelier on board immediately, Flynn explained. He got the job offer at the end of August after four interviews with his new bosses.
In Dallas he will oversee a list of about 750 selections that is “chock full of trophy wines.” He said he hopes to instill an “Eastern sensibility” that will introduce more “elegant European wines” to the list. “Here on the East Coast we have an idea that ‘anything goes,’ ” he said, adding that he will promote a sense of exploration with his wine selections.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t become a Cowboys fan.