John Ragan of CAMPTON PLACE
340 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108
Fresh from numerous honors garnered for an acclaimed wine program developed at St. Helena’s Martini House, Sommelier John Ragan brought his wine expertise to San Francisco’s elegant Campton Place Restaurant inApril 2004. Together with Executive Chef Daniel Humm, he has helped create an unparalleled food and wine program. In awarding the restaurant Four Stars, San Francisco Chronicle Executive Food and Wine Editor Michael Bauer said, “John Ragan is as brilliant in his beverage pairings as Humm is in creating the food.” Humm and Ragan were one of only two chef/sommelier teams to receive StarChefs.com magazine’s San Francisco Rising Star Awards in 2005.
Each night Ragan carefully selects wine pairings for Humm’s different tasting menus. He enjoys selecting complementary wines to highlight the pure and distinct flavors of the food. Ragan eagerly encourages guests to discover new wines and concepts in wine and food pairing.
“I never want the wines to either overshadow or distract from the essence of the dishes,” Ragan says. “Instead, my goal is to create pairings that heighten and bring forth the true flavors of the cuisine. The wine must be ‘for the table’ in the sense that the wines should help tune the dish while also considering each diner’s preferences.”
Ragan’s latest fascinations are on display with Chef Humm’s tasting menus. “For me, a tasting menu is the ideal format to refocus the traditional views of wines for food and introduce the guest to the whole world of wine.” Ideas such as a Junmai Daiginjo Sak é with a trio of tartare, Vin Jaune paired to parsnip velout é with sweetbreads, and a Manzanilla Sherry with young goat’s cheese in olive oil all find themselves on the menu along with traditional notions such as Meursault with an exquisite fish or Ch âteauneuf-du-Pape with Humm’s seasonal squab preparations.
Overseeing a dynamic list of over one thousand entries and managing the restaurant and hotel wine programs, Ragan also has introduced an aggressive, ongoing staff education program. Not surprisingly, this accomplished young sommelier won the prestigious 2004 Chaine des Rotisseures Jeaune Sommelier Competition, Pacific Northwest and serves on the Wines of Germany Advisory Board.