Feel the Local Love at FnB
Arizona wine has come a long way in the past decade. One of the first Valley restaurants to showcase Arizona wines was FnB, a hidden gem in Old Town Scottsdale with a loyal following. FnB was opened nine years ago by experienced restaurant and beverage manager Pavle Milic and James Beard nominated chef Charleen Badman. When guests enter this intimate and inviting space, they are welcomed warmly by Pavle, who loves to mingle with guests and share his wine knowledge. Guests also have the opportunity to see Charleen working in the kitchen, creating beautiful, fresh and delicious dishes.
Local seasonal ingredients and Arizona wines have been a consistent focus with FnB launching the first Arizona-only wine program. Although there are wines from other regions on the current menu, Arizona wines continue to play a prominent role with Pavle partnering with winemakers across the state. “We love to showcase local wines and engage the local community,” says Pavle. “Our menu reflects what’s going on in Arizona agriculture and wine.”
Now in its ninth year, FnB hosts a series of luncheons highlighting Arizona winemakers, pairing their wines with Charleen’s award-winning cuisine. “Year after year we see many of the same guests come back to our winemaker luncheons, in addition to new people who want to learn more about Arizona wines,” says Pavle.
Pavle has his own boutique wine label called Los Milics, which is produced in collaboration with Dos Cabezos WineWorks in Southern Arizona. The first luncheon of the summer this year featured Los Milics wines. The first course paired Los Milics Rose with a salad of melon, shrimp, avocado and cucumber. Other courses included burrata with leek vinaigrette, goat skewers and fig leaf ice cream for dessert. The summer’s second winemaker luncheon highlighted the wines of Chateau Tumbleweed in Clarkdale in Arizona’s Verde Valley with dishes such as charred sweet potatoes and carrots with a harissa vinaigrette, and vegetable tagine. Upcoming winemaker luncheons feature Dos Cabezas on June 9, Rune Wines from Sonoita on June 16, and Callaghan Vineyards from Elgin on July 28. Tickets can be purchased online for $63.95 plus fees.
FnB has received national and local accolades for its wine and cuisine. FnB’s wine program received a James Beard nomination for outstanding beverage program in 2017. Charleen has garnered several James Beard nominations for best chef in the Southwest. FnB has been praised by several local publications, and Charleen and Pavle were inducted into the Arizona Culinary Hall Fame in 2013.
Nine years after opening FnB and launching the winemaker luncheon series, Pavle continues to be excited and energized by Arizona’s wine industry. “It’s still a relatively new industry,” he says. “You have the opportunity to engage directly with winemakers and get to taste a dynamic range of styles and flavors. More people are now familiar with Arizona wines, and you don’t have to sell it like you did nine years ago.”
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