One of Austin’s best wine programs has someone at the helm of it again.
A few weeks after Vilma Mazaite announced that she was leaving her post as wine director at LaV — to take on the role of executive consultant with the East Austin restaurant — LaV now has Nick Barb, formerly of the Little Nell in Aspen, Colo., taking over the position.
He’s got some big shoes to fill — LaV wouldn’t have such a highly regarded wine program without Mazaite’s considerable talent and influence to start it off — but Barb’s resumé certainly suggests he knows how to step up. At the Little Nell, he was integral as head sommelier there “in building a Wine Spectator ‘Grand Award’ wine list for the hotel,” according to a press release. (Mazaite, before joining LaV, also hailed from that Colorado spot.) Before that, he earned sommelier chops at a New York Michelin three-star restaurant, Eleven Madison Park.
And for LaV, he already has ideas on how to continue transforming the top-notch wine list. He wants to add more wines to it from classic wine regions like France, as well as from “new and exciting, up-and-coming winemakers from around the world,” according to the press release. Plus, keeping many of the wines at an accessible price point for anyone to enjoy is also important to him.
“The most exciting part of my job is being able to connect with people and share my love of wine with them. And I am looking forward to doing that here at laV,” Barb said in the press release.
Barb is joining the restaurant at a time of change. Shortly after Mazaite’s shift in position was announced, two other LaV staffers departed: Award-winning executive pastry chef Janina O’Leary and her husband, interim executive chef Sean O’Leary, decided to part ways with LaV at the end of last month.