Pair this! Dinner with the best sommelier (2008) in the world Aldo Sohm

You may remember him from my post some years back now: Austrian-born Aldo Sohm, one of the nicest guys in the biz, one of its brightest stars, and the apotheosis of hospitality and wine and food knowledge. Last night, I was treated to dinner by my friend, photographer Lyn Hughes, who recently “shot” the new website for Le Beranardin, one of New York’s top 5 dining destinations (IMHO), where Aldo holds court. Here are a few images from dinner… Enjoy!

Sea urchin… paired with…

Gaia Santorini Thalassitis. The “sea water” flavors of the Assyrtico were superb with the raw urchin.

Zucchine flowers stuffed with crab… paired with…

Trimbach Pinot Gris. The richness of this wine also went well with the bacalao.

Snapper (shot by Lyn!)… paired with two wines…

Neumeister Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was the quintessence, Aldo explained, of the Austrian interpretation of the grape variety, somewhere between the intensity of New Zealand’s take and the angularity of Sancerre. A simply stunning wine.

Château Simone 1986. One word tasting note: wow. (Check out Wine Doctor’s profile of this incredible estate.)

Here’s one to keep you guessing!

Thanks again, Aldo and Lyn! (Can you believe that? One of NYC’s top celebrity photographers shooting with my camera!)

Stay tuned… Tracie P arrived JFK last night after dinner and our first tasting today is scheduled for 11 a.m. Man, it’s tough job but someone’s got to do it!

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!