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Sommelier Favorites

Top sommeliers are great at finding excellent new wines, even when they're obscure.

    By Ray Isle

NV Medici Ermete Solo Reggiano Secco ($18)

Flavorful, crisp artisanal Lambrusco—not sugary Riunite—is terrific with food. Another pick: NV Lini Labrusca ($15).

2009 Domaine Luneau-Papin Domaine Pierre de la Grange Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie ($14)

Top-quality Muscadet, like this fragrant, zesty bottling, costs next to nothing and goes with just about everything.

2009 Lioco Sonoma County Chardonnay ($20)

Sommeliers like Kevin O'Connor (formerly of Spago Beverly Hills) are busy drinking wines they made themselves.

2008 Clos des Fées Côtes du Roussillon Les Sorcières ($22)

The Côtes du Roussillon in southern France is a sommeliers' secret for robust, Grenache-based reds that go amazingly well with roast meats.

2008 Quattro Mani [toh-kai] ($12)

Slovenia is still a sommeliers' darling, and this flamboyant white from winemaker Ales Kristancic is an excellent introduction.

2008 Marco Felluga Molamatta ($21)

A lot of sommeliers are thrilled about Italian whites from Friuli, like this sleek blend of Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Pinot Bianco.

NV Pierre Gimonnet & Fils Selection Belles Annees Brut ($37)

It's rare to find a sommelier without a glass of Champagne nearby. These days, that's usually grower Champagne, i.e. from small producers like Gimonnet that own their own vineyards.

2007 Les Halos de Jupiter Côtes du Rhône ($21)

When sommeliers can't find a wine they'd like to drink, sometimes they import bottles themselves. Daniel Johnnes imports Rhône winemaker Philippe Cambie's Halos de Jupiter.

2007 Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Clos Saint Jacques ($125)

The 2007 Burgundy vintage isn't particularly ripe, which may be why top sommeliers like it: The wines have a lean, vivid raciness that makes them especially good with food.

2008 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner ($27)

Kerner is a lovely, aromatic white grape that a German viticulturist bred back in the 1960s by crossing Riesling with Schiava Grossa, an obscure red variety.

2003 Gravner Breg ($120)

Josko Gravner of Italy's Friuli region ferments and ages this inimitable, exotic white in huge terracotta pots.

100 Bottles to Drink Right Now

Video: Pairing Tips from Sommelier Robert Bohr

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Published October 2010

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