Tag Archives: Jill Gubesch

Escape to Topolobampo’s Winter Beach Vacation

Winter is coming. Let’s get out of here.

Escape to Topolobampo, where our chefs have planned the perfect getaway from the blustery cold. The new “Winter Beach Vacation” tasting menu whisks you away to our favorite Mexican beach towns, each of the seven courses capturing the sun, spirit and soul of Mexico.

Your travel package includes exquisitely matched wines by newly minted “Best Sommelier” Jill Gubesch and perfect agave pairings by Spirits Director Lanie Bayless.

Yellowtail Aguachile | Baja hiramasa yellowtail, Baja uni, spicy Beck Grove citrus, avocado, pitahaya (dragon fruit), cucumber, finger lime
Mussels, Bacon, Green Mole | Ensenada mussels, Gunthorp bacon, corn masa “noodles,” calabacitas, oyster-infused Oaxacan green mole (tomatillo, serrano chile, corn masa, 4 herbs)
Tongue Taco | Fresh-made blue corn tortilla, tongue two ways (crispy, cured), black olive-pasilla compote, foie gras crema, añejo cheese
Lobster, Chipotles | Grilled Maine lobster, enchipotlada salsa (chipotle chiles, piloncillo, roasted garlic), winter spinach with sesame & morita chiles, bone marrow-roasted potatoes
Scallop, Traditional Black Recado | Seared Hudson Canyon sea scallop, delicata squash stuffed with scallop “relleno negro,” sauce of recardo negro seasoning paste (charred chiles, garlic, spices, tomato, black beans), charred lima beans, black mint
Tascalate | Tascalate sorbet (cacao, achiote, toasted tortilla, milk), candied cacao nibs and torched corn masa tuile, achiote gelatinas
Tamarind, Chocolate | Tamarind-date cake, chocolate-tamarind ganache, guava sorbet, mamey panna cotta, caramelized pineapple, chocolate pozol

Five Questions with our Newest Sommelier, Jessica Dennis


A server at Topolobampo for the past four years, Jessica Dennis has routinely impressed the restaurant’s guests with her style of friendly, elegant service.

Along the way, she developed an intense interest in wine and began serving as assistant to our longtime sommelier, the impeccable Jill Gubesch.

Earlier this year, Jessica set out to take the Certified Sommelier Exam, a rigorous daylong quiz conducted by the Court of Master Sommeliers that tests a candidate’s knowledge of the world’s wine appellations, grape varieties and other essential service skills.

We’re thrilled to report that she passed.

It’s a huge accomplishment and we couldn’t be more proud. We caught up with Jessica before the start of a recent weeknight service for a few quick questions.

When did you first take a serious interest in wine? Why?

My interest in wine had a lot do with working with Jill at Topolobampo.  It was the first restaurant I had worked in that focused so intensely on perfect wine pairings, and I learned quickly what an impact it had on the food through our menu tastings with the staff.

I was intrigued by a wine’s ability to express a sense of place. So, I would ask a lot of questions, tagged along at different wine tastings and started reading on my own. Still, a major part of learning came from being on the floor and from our wine education program here.

Guests come to Topolo ready for an experience. What part does wine play in that?

The wine pairings have the ability to transform one’s perception of a dish. Our food is phenomenal on its own, but paired with the right wine, you may experience different nuances you hadn’t noticed before. It’s really amazing, and undoubtedly helps to create the ultimate experience.

What’s the sommelier certification test really like? Is there blindfolds? I feel like blindfolds should be involved.

There are no blindfolds! That might give you an edge. There is a deductive tasting format designed by the Court. Each wine is tasted and analyzed, then you come up with your final conclusion based on your deduction. Hopefully you’re right, but the path you take to get there is also important.

Blind tasting is fun and my favorite way to learn about wine.

OK. You’re on a deserted island with an unreasonably and impossibly large wine fridge. What are you stocking it with?

Rosé, Champagne, and Alsatian white wines!