Alex Cruz, Sommelier
"In late October, I go from Montreal, where it's freezing, to the Okanagan Valley, where I'm outside in a T-shirt tasting wines next to rattlesnakes."
Such is the professional life of Alex Cruz, the 27-year-old wine director of Montreal's DNA (the D is for chef Derek Dammann, the A is for Alex). Cruz travels through Canada assembling his peerless list; few of the 160 bottles are available in the U.S. and many are hard to get even in Canada. One of his favorite finds is Madcap Red, a Merlot blend from Fairview Cellars (its vineyard is on an Okanagan golf course, hence the name), a terrific match for Dammann's sourdough gnocchi with sausage ragù.
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Indeed, pairings as good as that help explain why Cruz is busy replacing Italian wines on his list with Canadian onesa bold move for an Italian-inspired restaurant.