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At Grace in Chicago, Michael Muser keeps wine markups amazingly low. Here are 5 life-defining bottles from one of Food & Wine's 2014 Sommeliers of the Year.
1998, At the Water Grill in Los Angeles
1990 Robert Weil Riesling Spätlese
"I'd never experienced balance until I tried this. It was so fresh and alive, so intense and candied. It was just the epitome of the word balance."
2003, At his "crappy" Encino apartment. He spent all his money on wine.
2002 Edmond Vatan Clos la NÉore Sancerre
"I'd love to say I was in Chavignon when I had this electric wine, but I was in Encino. There's no less glamorous a place than Encino, I promise."
2003, While studying to be a sommelier
1997 Domaine de Trévallon
"This Southern French winemaker holds a middle finger to the appellation system by growing and blending whatever he wants."
2007, Dining at I Cugini in Santa Monica, CA
2003 Couly-Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Chinon
"It was like that old man down the street who would yell at you. It was crotchety and opinionated and waved its cane at the modern wine world."
2010, At Littorai's vineyards in Sonoma
2001 Littorai Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir
"There is a real purity to Ted Lemon's wines. Drinking this was like going to the church of Littorai and hearing his sermon."