“@Levi_opens_wine an amazing wine seer, don’t you think, @DoBianchi?” tweeted Alice at the end of the night after we visited with Levi and Brooklyn Guy uptown last Friday night.
In my view, Levi is arguably the coolest sommelier in the U.S. right now and beyond his razor-sharp expertise in Italian wine, he always seems to be just one step ahead of the curve, shaping the discourse and defining the dialectic — a wine “seer,” as Alice put.
It’s not that I didn’t want to see all of my other friends last week in the City. I only had about 48 hours on the ground and they were consumed mostly by meetings with my top client. And Alice, Brooklyn Guy, and Levi were the people I needed to see on this trip.
It was also great to catch up with celebrity sommelier Michael Madrigale, who was working the floor at Boulud Sud that night with Levi.
But it was Levi who had the goods and the dope that I wanted to smoke.
The first wine he opened was the 2005 Overnoy Arbois Pupillin (made from Savagnin), a wine that Levi knows is hard to find beyond the island of Manhattan. An oxidative, tannic, orange wine from the Jura… In many ways this wine represented a synagoga (a coming together) of fascinations that have exited some of us over the last decade. The wine was salty and dense, with its muscle dominating its grace; its delicacy and nuance emerging and revealing itself only as we patiently observed its evolution.
Brooklyn Guy offered that this was an ideal expression of this wine, noting that he had seen a lot of bottle variation in his purchases.
But the pièce de résistance was the Equipos Navaros Bota de Manzanilla Pasada (Sherry).
Brooklyn Guy (aka “the Brook,” as Eric the Red calls him) and Levi have both visited Jerez in the last few years and it was thrilling to hear them hold court on this wine, produced by a generic, commercial winery that holds back certain privileged casks.
“Sherry is a forgotten wine,” said Brooklyn Guy, as Levi expressed his view that the category delivers wines that should be served with food instead of as an aperitif, as do the English and Anglophilic Americans.
I highly recommend checking both of their blogs — Brooklyn Guy and So You Want to be a Sommelier, respectively — and their threads on Sherry and their discoveries.
Is Sherry going to be the next big thing in the U.S.?
@Levi_opens_wine an amazing wine seer, don’t you think, @DoBianchi?