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Buying Guide: The Wines Sommeliers Love

Sommeliers hate certain wines, but there are others they adore as much, if not more. Here are the love-hate relationships of the sommeliers I spoke with, and the wines they worship from their lists.

Sommelier

Hates

Loves

Favorite

Jordan Salcito Eleven Madison Park, New York

Zinfandel
“Too big, too alcoholic.”

Riesling
“It’s a great wine with food.”

2004 Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan Forster Jesuitengarten Riesling Spätlese ($45)
“This Riesling from Germany is delightful to drink, with bright fruit flavors and terrific structure, minerality and acidity.”

Chris Blanchard Redd, Napa Valley

Napa Cabernet
“It always tastes the same.”

Châteauneuf- du-Pape
“It’s a really cool wine.”

2005 Bosquet des Papes Cuvée Chante Le Merle ($70)
“A classy wine with the smell of leather seats in an Oldsmobile on a summer day—peppery, meaty and gamey.”

Paul Grieco Insieme and Hearth, New York

Over-Oaked Chardonnay
“It’s boring.”

Zierfandler
“A great, obscure food wine.”

2006 Stadlmann Mandel-Höh Zierfandler ($27)
“An Austrian white with a great balance of acid and fruit, and an awesome sense of place.”

Rajat Parr Mina Group, San Francisco

Alsace Whites
“Too unreliable— sometimes sweet, sometimes dry.”

Austrian Riesling
“The quality is very high.”

2000 Prager Dürnsteiner Kaiserberg Riesling Smaragd ($30)
“One of my favorite wines on our list, from a top Wachau producer, the best region for Riesling in Austria. It’s very clean, pure and precise.”

Robert Bohr Cru, New York

Vernaccia
“Tastes like paint thinner.”

Burgundy
“The greatest wines in the world.”

2005 Jacques Bavard Les Champs Perriers Bourgogne Blanc ($35) “This wine is from a simple appellation but tastes more like a Puligny-Montrachet in depth, complexity and flavor intensity. Bavard is a great new talent.”

Andrew Myers CityZen, Washington, DC

White Rhônes
“They’re big and alcoholic.”

German Riesling
“It’s yummy.”

2005 Willi Schaefer Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese ($27)
“This Riesling blew me away. There’s a perfect balance between juicy honeydew and pear flavors.”

Belinda Chang The Modern, New York

Grüner Veltliner
“It’s over- exposed.”

Roussanne
“It’s definitely not trendy.”

2006 Éric Texier Brézème Roussanne Côtes-du-Rhone Blanc ($23)
“It pairs amazingly well with chef Gabriel Kreuther’s green asparagus soup and seasonal vegetables.”

Paul Roberts French Laundry, Napa Valley

Pinotage
“It’s just not good.”

Sangiovese
“Pleases a wide range of palates.”

2001 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino ($88)
“I Iove Sangiovese from the Montalcino region of Italy. This wine is the perfect fusion of earth and red fruit.”

Published July 2008
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