A look at what rests in the bottles and beyond of Lake Placid Lodge’s otherworldly Wine Cellar.
It’s not unusual for Anniko Senape, director of food and beverage at Lake Placid Lodge, to bring a couple of guests down to the resort’s Wine Cellar for a quick peek, then not emerge for close to 40 minutes. “We can get carried away talking,” she says. “Because, just like much of the lodge, there’s a lot to show them and a lot to take in. Personally, it’s my favorite room.”
As the person who oversees the Wine Cellar’s impressive 1,300-bottle collection, you might think she’s a bit biased. But, upon closer inspection, there certainly plenty to be impressed by about this space, including what’s in the bottles and beyond.
Located on the ground level of the lodge, the cellar boasts a lot of similar charm as the rest of the lodge: vines and saplings stretch up the walls and across the ceiling, rustic chandeliers hang overhead, an Adirondack-style rug lays underfoot. But there are other amazing features to behold, like the arched ceiling composed of herringbone brick, a series of lit alcoves where hundreds of bottles lay tucked away to slumber, and one impressive 13-foot dining table.
“That table was actually fashioned out of a door from an old Spanish Mission,” notes Senape. “In fact, the keyhole is still intact. If you stood that table up, you would need a ladder – or, in the case of the Spanish Missionaries, a horse – to unlock it.” There’s also a vintage pre-Castro cigar rolling table from Cuba that serves as a side table.
A Functioning Wine Cellar
As much as guests might think the Wine Cellar is all about creating a stunning space for the lodge’s private dinners and function space (whether for meetings or weddings), it also serves as a functioning wine cellar for the rare vintages that call it home. “I keep it at an optimum temperature between 52 to 58 degrees Fahrenheit and roughly 60 to 63 percent humidity,” says Senape, who knows plenty about the art of aging wine (prior to coming to the lodge in 2018, she already had 30 years working in the food and wine industry under her belt).
While a gauge allows her to constantly monitor the conditions, the antique cigar table sometimes comes into play too. “If the room ever reaches above 64 degrees, you can actually smell a little bit of the residual tobacco,” she says. “That lets me know things are getting a little too warm. It’s like my own personal canary but not in a coal mine – a canary in a Wine Cellar.”
The Latest on the List
Lake Placid Lodge is actually a Relais & Châteaux resort, a distinction that you might assume comes largely from its legendary farm-to-table Artisans restaurant (only open to lodge guests at this time) that makes its home on the second floor of the lodge. But the 28-page wine list doesn’t hurt, either. We’re talking a stock of 1,300 bottles – the best of it being kept in the Wine Cellar, of course – covering all the major varietals from all the major wine regions of the world: France, Spain, Italy, Australia and New Zealand, Chili and Argentina, Napa and Oregon, and more.
“There’s a lot I can get my hands on,” says Senape, who even has the ability to secure certain wines for guests’ upcoming visits. That’s owed to the fact that the lodge has connections to very high-end distribution houses, like New York City’s Skurnik Wine & Spirits, a 30-year company that has been the importer and distributor of the finest estate-bottled wines and spirits from around the world.
However, since the pandemic put a bit of a squeeze on international importing, Senape has recently beefed up the list’s collection of stateside wines. A few she’s most excited about as a result (and you should be, too, if you’re planning a visit):
- DAOU Vineyards [Paso Robles, CA] Their flagship wine, Soul of a Lion, is a cabernet sauvignon that is dark and complex. In fact, recently, Senape had a corporate event completely drink her out of that wine.
- Owen Roe [Wapato, WA] They’re known for their pinots, but The Kilmore pinot from Yamhill is particularly good and probably represents the darkest and fullest bodied pinot they make.
- Frank Family Vineyards [Castistoga, CA] Senape particularly loves their Carneros chardonnay. Situated on the northern end of the San Pablo Bay (between Napa and Sonoma), Carneros is considered by many to be America’s best region for growing chardonnay.
- Orin Swift Cellars [St. Helena, CA] If you like cabernet sauvignon, this winemaker’s Mercury Head label is the one people tend to go crazy for as it is a blend of the best cabernet sourced from well-regarded vineyards from across Napa Valley.
- Rombauer Vineyards [St. Helena, CA] Despite this winery’s first-ever vintage being a cabernet sauvignon, Rombauer is most associated with chardonnay and zinfandel. However, Senape particularly enjoys their merlot.
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