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Austria

    My Column

    MY TOP 10 WINES OF THE 2016

     

    1. Musigny, Drouhin 1971

    2. Barbaresco, Sori Tildin, Gaja 1978

    3. Le Pin, Pomerol 1991 (from the half bottle) 

    4. Cht. Haut Brion 1961 

    5. Cote Roti, La Mouline 1985 

    6. Clos Vougeot, Rene Engel 1937 

    7. Bienvenue Batard Montrachet, Domaine Leflaive 1979

    8. Riesling Kabinett, Scharzhofberger, Egon Mueller 1979

    9. Pinot Blanc, Chalone Vineyard, California 1981

    10. Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Scharzhofberger, Egon Mueller 1976

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    My Today

    A drink with Aldo Sohm / The internationally acclaimed sommelier on the truth about pairing, his new wine bar, and why now is the time to stock up on Northern Rhône

    Aldo Sohm, wine director at New York’s Le Bernardin, won the ‘Best Sommelier In The World’ competition in 2008, but his lofty reputation is based more on his years working the floor of the restaurant, gently guiding diners through thousands of bottles to pair with chef Eric Ripert’s uncommonly delicate cuisine. Last fall, he and Ripert opened Aldo Sohm Wine Bar next door, offering rustic cuisine in a casual living-room environment without sacrificing luxuriousness.

    The Austrian sommelier recently made forays into winemaking himself, launching a line of Single Vineyard and Old Vine Grüner Veltliners in his homeland with famed winemaker Gerhard Kracher. Head of Christie’s Wine Department Per Holmberg chatted with Aldo at the wine bar before lunch, finding that, for a man whose name graces one of New York’s finest wine establishments, his charm and modesty are well intact: ‘Ego is your worst enemy,’ Aldo says. ‘The moment you think you are the best, you are already on the decline.’ 

     

    Per Holmberg: Wine pairing is a big part of the experience at Le Bernardin, and you’re known for your inventive pairings with the tasting menu — sake with caviar, vin jaune with bleu cheese. What do you think are some misconceptions about wine and food pairing?

    Aldo Sohm: If someone likes to drink big Bordeaux with their oysters, that’s great. If you’re happy, we’re happy. But just talking about pairing wines successfully, it’s not about whether the other person likes the wine, it’s whether the combination works. Wine can make a dish look good, and it can make a dish look bad. The other [misconception] is one I face every day: white wine with fish and chicken, and red with dark meat. That’s nonsense. If you go to Italy, you get a chicken breast with tomato sauce, served with red wine. In Austria, you get a classic tafelspitz [boiled beef with vegetables], it’s served with white wine and it’s delicious. It’s more often about the sauce. 

    Any tips for navigating wine lists or finding interesting bottles?

    Talk to the sommelier — the sommelier will know the wine list. If there’s no sommelier, ask the server which wine he likes. It’s very simple: The server will always give you the wine he gets the best responses from. I don’t know everything – the wine world is too complex for that – so I have to listen. Give me something interesting. It’s not always successful but so what? 

    For our parents’ generation, wine wasn’t the focus of the meal; they might have a glass if wine was on the table, but they were martini drinkers. Now you have a generation getting interested in wine as part of the overall food culture. Do you see that here and at Le Bernardin?

    It’s true, every day we see younger people who are very curious. They might not buy the big Burgundies or Bordeaux, but they might buy a Chablis because it’s more accessible, or a Bourgogne blanc. We all know that it’s a question of evolving; our tastes change as we try more. Most people start with Australian Shiraz because it’s softer. And people may raise their eyebrows at those wines, but they are very, very important, because then you have much more complex versions of Australian Shiraz, and you go from there. It’s a ladder you keep climbing. You start with Bourgogne blanc, then you move into village level, then to premier cru, then, if you’re fortunate enough, you move into grand crus, then you get into age. As human beings we always want more — especially New Yorkers! 

    Of course I love Grüner Veltliner, and 2013 is a phenomenal year in Austria. The development of Blaufränkisch is very promising. I like Northern Rhônes. I like old California — ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s. Inglenook of course, but even take Beaulieu Vineyards: until ’85 they’re fantastic, and not crazy expensive for that age. For the summer, nothing is more undervalued than Muscadet. And they can age — they can taste like medium Meursaults. Great wine doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. 

    What would you recommend for someone buying wine for cellaring? What are you buying?

    Buy Northern Rhône. A lot. It’s coming. And you don’t have to go to Hermitage or Côte-Rôtie; I think there are huge developments in St. Joseph. I still buy Jamet, a lot — I think that’s going to get higher and higher. And I buy grower Champagnes, even though I would never dismiss the [major Champagne] houses — [the latter are] very strong. 

    What are your five desert island wines?

    Is it a cold environment or a warm environment? Of course Champagne. I love Champagne from Chartogne Taillet. I like old Dom Perignon — it’s a large house but very consistent, ‘73, ‘75, ’69. I also like Roederer a lot. Definitely Burgundy, white and red. 82 Leflaive Montrachet; ‘78 is fine too. Seventy-one La Tache without a doubt, is one of the greatest red Burgundies ever made. Egon Muller ‘71 Riesling kabinett. A trockenbeerenauslese would be cool too. And of course my wine! Is that more than five?

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    My Yesterday

    CELLAR CONSULTING

    As wine director of Le Bernardin, I oversee a 15,000-bottle wine collection of 900 selections from 12 countries, with vintages that date back to 1875!

    I use over 25 years of experience in wine buying, my contacts for rare wines with great provenance, endless tasting, and educational trips to wine regions of the world to supplement my knowledge and consulting scope.

    I prefer to work closely with my clients in order to identify their preferences and long- and short-term goals for their collections, and I’m dedicated to build lasting relationships based on integrity and mutual trust. I regularly review clients’ purchases and inventory to make sure their collections continue to reflect their high standards.

    For more information on my private wine cellar consulting services please use my contact form to get in touch.

     

    ALDO SOHM & GERHARD KRACHER​

    The idea to create this wine materialized in 2008, over a casual lunch with Gerard Kracher in a Thai restaurant in Queens, New York City. With our individual knowledge and passion it was a natural progression for us to combine our expertise. We decided on Grüner Veltliner because we had never worked with it and it was an opportunity to work with one of our favorite grape varieties.

    After careful consideration, we shied away from these major areas in favor of Weinviertel, a region rich in old-vine vineyards, great soils, and various microclimates. We eventually focused on two small vineyards. The first vineyard, Gaisbuckel (which means “the goat’s back,” hence the goat on the label), with 50- year old Grüner Veltliner vines planted on pure limestone rocks with a gravelly topsoil.
    The second vineyard is home to 35-year old vines with a similar soil structure and slightly more sandy components. After several tastings, debates, and discussions surrounding the best white wine producing areas in Europe, we started to define our style of Grüner Veltliner and establish how we wanted to produce this wonderful grape.

    In mid-September 2009, we harvested at 19.2 degrees KMW* and made a slow, spontaneous fermentation in four different barrels. The focus was to keep the wine reductive and as pure as possible, and for this reason we decided on a longer maturation period and released it based on our internationally compared areas.

    We are very honored that the 2009 Sohm & Kracher Niederosterreich Grüner Veltliner was ranked in the Top 100 wines of Wine + Spirits Magazine 2012. During our second vintage (2010) we were excited to add a second label, Vineyards of Lower Austria (100% Grüner Veltliner), which was made from vines aging 20-40 years on unique limestone subsoils. It fermented and aged only in stainless steel for eight months.

    For more information and inquiries please contact: Sohmkracher@terlatowines.com

     

     

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    My Tomorrow

    RAW OYSTERS WITH PIERRE PÉTERS CHAMPAGNE

    This year, to me, has been about finding classic and stand-out expressions from a wide spectrum of producers. Now that the holiday season is in full swing, I’ve come around to the pairing I’ll be looking for at every event and gathering: I love oysters and champagne. A glass of crisp (as always) and slightly austere (the particular characteristic I’ve been looking for) Blanc de Blanc Champagne is what is calling my name these days. Pierre Péters is located in the Grand Cru Village of Le Mesnil sur Oger, one of the best Côte des Blancs villages for Chardonnay. Rodolphe is a fanatic with regards to pure and focused wines! Additional Tip: try his single vineyard champange, Les Chetillions – it’s significantly more affordable then any grand marque champagne and easily measures up to all them!

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    Me

    As wine director of Le Bernardin, New York’s longest rated four-star restaurant, Aldo Sohm oversees a 15,000 bottle wine collection made up of 900 wine selections from 12 countries with vintages from as early as 1875.

    Additionally, he trains the sommeliers in enticing food and wine pairings that range from classic to daring. Sohm joined the team in May of 2007, and under his direction, Le Bernardin won the 2009 James Beard Award for “Outstanding Wine Service.”

    Sohm’s fascination with wine began at the age of 19 after visiting an Italian vineyard with his father. Captivated with what he encountered and learned, he knew right then and there that he wanted to pursue a career in wine. Soon after, Sohm attended tourism school in Saint Johann, Tirol, located near his hometown of Inzing.

    Following his 1989 graduation, Sohm spent the next 15 years working at restaurants throughout Austria, only taking a break to fulfill military duty and to study Italian in Florence. While working at the Steigenberger Alpenkönig restaurant in 1998, Sohm passed the official Austrian sommelier exam.

     

    He then worked for four years as a sommelier at the Robinson Select Alpenkönig restaurant, while simultaneously teaching at the tourism school from which he graduated in St. Johann in Tirol. That same year he attended, but did not compete in, the World Sommelier Competition with his friend Norbert Waldnig, who won third place.

    Sohm later entered the competition and won, being named “Best Sommelier of Austria 2002.” He upheld this title for four consecutive years, a feat never before or since accomplished.

    In July 2004, Sohm relocated to the United States, partly to perfect his English in order to compete in national and international sommelier competitions. He began working as wine director at Wallsé, Blaue Gans, and Café Sabarsky, and in 2006, New York magazine voted him “Best Sommelier in New York.” The following year Sohm joined Le Bernardin and also competed for and won the title of “Best Sommelier in America 2007.” Sohm reached the pinnacle of wine competitions when he was awarded the highly-coveted title, “Best Sommelier in the World 2008,” by the World Sommelier Association.

    He was the first representative of America to win this title. The two-day competition was held in Rome in May of 2008, and consisted of food and wine pairings, blind tastings, a written exam, editing a wine list and performing table service in a mock restaurant.

    In 2011, Sohm was voted “Wine Person of the Year” by “Wo isst Österreich”, one of Austria’s renowned food and wine guide. Following that, he was honored with the Austrian Bacchus Wine Prize in 2012.

     

    Aldo Sohm - About Bild2

    In 2008, Sohm partnered with the famous Austrian sweet winemaker Kracher, to create a dry Gruner Veltliner from the Weinviertel region in Lower Austria. The first vintage, 2009, was released in the spring of 2011, following the launch of Sohm’s custom wine key made in collaboration with Château Laguiole.

    Additionally, Sohm serves as Brand Ambassador for Zalto, an Austria-based glassware manufacturer known for their carefully crafted products, and conducts wine seminars, offers competition training for sommeliers and curates wine cellars for private clients.

    Throughout his career, Sohm has never altered his signature approach to wine: infectious enthusiasm and abundant knowledge with no pretentiousness. Food and wine pairings are a passion of Sohm’s and a trait for which he has become well known.

    His favorite pairing at Le Bernardin is scallops with morels and Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon, Defaix 2000. Sohm has appeared on AVEC ERIC, chef Eric Ripert’s Emmy Award winning PBS series to discuss wine and food pairings, as well as on the Today Show, the CBS Early Show, and frequently Martha Stewart’s Radio “Winesday.”

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  6 Wines  from  3 Producers 

"Musigny 1957, 1959 and 1961 from Domaine Joseph Faiveley, Burgundy, France."

9d 11h ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  6 Wines  from  4 Producers 

I love Champagne from Chartogne Taillet. I like old Dom Perignon — it’s a large house but very consistent, ‘73, ‘75, ’69. I also like Roederer a lot. Definitely Burgundy, white and red. 82 Leflaive Montrachet; ‘78 is fine too.

Seventy-one La Tache without a doubt, is one of the greatest red Burgundies ever made. Egon Muller ‘71 Riesling kabinett. A trockenbeerenauslese would be cool too.

3m 14d ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  10 Wines  from  9 Producers 

"MY TOP 10 WINES OF THE 2016"

6m 20d ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  9 Wines  from  9 Producers 

MY TOP 10 WINES OF THE 2016

8m 3d ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  5 Wines  from  2 Producers 

"“Noël Verset, whose perseverance laboring in the steep, granite vineyards of Cornas, in the Rhône Valley of France, helped the Cornas appellation survive to be discovered by a new generation of wine lovers.

During Mr. Verset’s 75-year career as a vigneron, Cornas evolved from a little-known backwater to one of the world’s most renowned regions for red wines made from the syrah grape. By the turn of the millennium, his wines, made in tiny quantities, were being celebrated as among the purest expressions of what Cornas had to offer.”"

1y 1m ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  6 Wines  from  5 Producers 

"Here are some of the best wines I have tasted lately."

1y 2m ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  7 Wines  from  6 Producers 

"Some of my favourite wines I have tasted lately."

1y 3m ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  3 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"The flagship of the 6 hectare Domaine René Engel is a wonderful Clos Vougeot from near the top of the Clos, along with a very fine Grands Echezeaux. These were supported by a third grand cru, Echezeaux, premier cru Vosne Romanée Les Brulées and a delicious village Vosne Romanée."

1y 5m ago

Aldo Sohm / Best Sommelier in the World 2008, Pro (Austria)  had a tasting of  4 Wines  from  1 Producers 

"Noël Verset, whose perseverance laboring in the steep, granite vineyards of Cornas, in the Rhône Valley of France, helped the Cornas appellation survive to be discovered by a new generation of wine lovers.

During Mr. Verset’s 75-year career as a vigneron, Cornas evolved from a little-known backwater to one of the world’s most renowned regions for red wines made from the syrah grape. By the turn of the millennium, his wines, made in tiny quantities, were being celebrated as among the purest expressions of what Cornas had to offer."

1y 7m ago

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BWW-Best Wine of the World -competition 2017

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Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2010, Domaine de Chevalier
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Redoma 2010, Niepoort
Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2006, Bollinger
Renaissance 2008, Cattier