Anyone who’s ever spent time in Austrian wine country in the months following harvest has probably wandered into a heuriger—a cozy, casual wine tavern serving up the recently fermented vintage alongside comfort fare. That theme of coziness is something we all seek around this time of year, so we asked Austrian native and Le Bernardin wine director Aldo Sohm for the mixed case he would want stocked in his own fantasy version of the tavern tradition.
“In Austria, it would be the new vintage,” says Sohm. “Austrians like these clean, fresh flavors, where you can just sit down and enjoy your company and not have to think too much. We have a German word—gemütlichkeit—that there’s no real English equivalent for. If you sit in a chair, and it’s really comfortable, that’s gemütlichkeit. Or you can use it as a verb: You get together with friends and have a blast talking, eating, and drinking… that’s gemütlichkeit too.”
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Sohm, who deals in some of the world’s finest wines at both the Michelin three-star restaurant Le Bernardin and the now year-old Aldo Sohm Wine Bar, drew up a list of 12 no-fuss comfort bottles from around the world that he finds facilitate that sort of environment. “You’ll just want cold cuts or charcuterie and these easy wines,” he says.