The World’s Best Sommelier (and other virtual news)…

My friend Aldo Sohm — one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet in the highly competitive world of wine stewardship — has been named the “best sommelier in the world” by the Worldwide Sommelier Asssociation. You may remember a post I did late last year on him and New York’s Best Kept Secret: the Bar at Le Bernardin.

Held in Rome this year, the final competition included the following examinations: blind tasting, editing a wine list, pairing, and service. For the service test, a restaurant environment was simulated on a stage, with celebrity chef Gianfranco Vissani, television personality Gioacchino Bonsignore, RAI TV sommelier Adua Villa, and noted food writer Clara Barra as guests at the table.

Aldo (above, left) won the competition as an “American” sommelier (and indeed, he has worked in New York for many years) but he is actually Austrian. Check out this Washington Post profile from last year and the Herculean effort it takes to compete and become the “world’s best sommelier.”

In other news…

Good news from Montalcino: the U.S. government has agreed to postpone its deadline for answers to its request for information regarding the Brunello controversy. Italy’s new minister of agriculture, Luca Zaia, has opened talks with U.S. officials and a U.S. delegation will travel to Rome and Siena for meetings on June 8. You can read all about it at

My friend and collaborator Franco Ziliani and I have both signed the Petition for Authentic and Traditional Brunello and I have translated the petition text here.

In other other news…

It hasn’t been officially announced but it seems that my friend Alice Feiring, author of The Battle for Wine and Love or How I Saved the World from Parkerization will be doing a Q&A at Lou on Vine on June 19 in Los Angeles. I’ll be in town then since Nous Non Plus will be performing the next night at Bordello in downtown.

Hope to see you then!

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