Most good sommeliers have a couple of ultra-versatile wines on their lists that pair beautifully with a wide range of dishes. Customers can happily share a bottle even when one person orders ceviche, say, and another gets a steak. Typically, these are bottles that don't hit the extremes of wine style, neither ultra-acidic nor fiercely tannic; nor do they tend to be terribly expensive, as sommeliers don't want to shock their guests with the prices. Instead they are generally subtler, moderately priced bottles, chosen to fit the entire palette of flavors on a chef's menu. What's handy is that diners can remember the key wines to look for and search them out on other wine lists—not to mention stock up on them for meals at home. Here, picks from five top wine directors at restaurants with very different styles of food.
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