Posts Tagged ‘2011’

Seasonal Wine Seminars: Wine for the Beach

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

You’re headed to the beach, cooler packed with chilled shrimp ceviche along with some fantatstic wines that have been carefully selected to create the perfect match. In this seminar, I will be discussing food and wine pairings specifically tailored for the beach and how you can get the full pairing experience, even on location.

The seminar will be held in Le Bernardin’s private salons:
155 West 51st, New York, NY 10019
Saturday, June 4th 2011
3:00pm – 4:30pm

$125 per person. All inclusive.
Reservations required. Please contact for further information

Days of Wine and Poseurs

Monday, May 9th, 2011

GQ Magazine, April 29th 2011, by Alan Richman

GQ’s Alan Richman competes in the 2011 Best Sommelier in America contest—and lives to tell about it.

“I came close. Very close.  – Not to winning the Best Sommelier in America 2011 contest.”

To becoming a legend among sommeliers by setting fire to my $3000 Zegna Su Misura suit during the decanting portion of the competition. Decanting includes holding a bottle above a lit candle, which is playing with fire for someone like me.

2011 Best Sommelier in America contestJust in time, Aldo Sohm, one of the organizers, raced in from the sidelines and lifted my arm from the flame. Actually, I wouldn’t have been the first to add conflagration to my credentials. A judge, Roger Dagorn, told me about a long-ago competitor, a former sommelier at Restaurant Daniel in New York, who carelessly allowed the wicker basket holding his wine to become engulfed in flames.

I entered the two-day contest, hosted by American Sommelier and held earlier this month in New York, with dual status. I was not quite a participant and by no means a challenger for the title. I was permitted to take the same tests as the 29 genuine entrants, and I was given a bye into the second-day finals, usually limited to those who have placed in the top four on day one. For me, it meant an opportunity to get an insider’s look at an arcane profession that is rapidly gaining popularity even as mass-market interest in the ceremony and formality of fine dining decreases.

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The Celebrity Sommelier

Monday, May 9th, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, April 22nd 2011, by Jay McInerney

A couple of decades after the rise of the celebrity chef, we may be on the verge of a new phenomenon: the celebrity sommelier.  In the wake of Emeril Lagasse cookware and Mario Battali tomato sauce, we now have stemware and a corkscrew designed by Aldo Sohm, the sommelier at Le Bernardin, New York’s Michelin three star seafood eatery.

The Austrian born Sohm came to New York in 2004 after serving in some of Austria’s top restaurants and started off as wine director at Wallse, Kurt Guttenbrunner’s West Village Austrian restaurant.

In 2006, New York magazine voted him “Best Sommelier in New York.” The following year he moved to Le Bernardin and won the title of  “Best Sommelier in America,” a feat which he topped in 2008 when he was named “Best Sommelier in the World,” by the Worldwide Sommelier Association, after a grueling competition which included blind tastings, a written exam, and mock table service.

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The Odd Couple of Food and Wine

Monday, May 9th, 2011

The Wall Street Journal, April 23rd 2011, by Jay McInerney

Is there such a thing as the perfect match? As someone who has been married four times, I’ve done my share of research on the subject of compatibility in the realm of Eros. The subject of food-and-wine pairing is perhaps even more bedeviling. Is there a perfect wine for oysters? For Camembert? For baked lobster with red-wine-braised sunchoke and fava-sprout bergamot emulsion? Does fish always call for white wine?

You could do worse in your search for answers to these questions than to go to New York’s Le Bernardin, the Michelin three-star temple of piscine cuisine. Aldo Sohm, 39, who was named Best Sommelier in America in 2007 and Best Sommelier in the World in 2008 (in a contest organized by the World Sommelier Association), is a master of matching food and wine. He has converted more than one skeptic, including my wife, to the concept of pairing. “I can make the food look good,” he says. On the other hand, chef Eric Ripert, his boss, likes to drink red Bordeaux with pretty much everything, including oysters. This makes for some interesting discussions in the kitchen.

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ASA Best Sommelier in America 2011. And the winner is…

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011, April 20th 2011, by Aldo Sohm

…Alexander LaPratt, of New York’s db Bistro Moderne, won the coveted title on Sunday night. It was a close competition. 30 candidates competed for the title of Best Sommelier in America, including my apprentice sommelier at Le Bernardin, Jared Fischer who reached the final four alongside LaPratt, Christopher Bates of the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, Pennsylvania and Michael Meagher of Treasury Wine Estates in Waltham, Massachusetts who were all put through thier paces via rigorous tests and obstacles including: food and wine pairings, a blind spirits tasting, cigar service test, navigating a ‘mock dining room’ as well as a written exam.

It was an honor to judge the awards alongside Andrew Bell, co-founder of ASA, Rajat Parr, wine director of Mina Group and Andre Compeyre, Chief Sommelier of Ardour Alain Ducasse. To add to what was a wonderful and exciting weekend of judging, Le Bernardin was presented with the ASA’s inagural Art of Service Award for embracing the importance of impeccable service and providing the highest-quality dining and wine experience. The award honors an establishment that provides a platform for trained sommeliers to exercise their craft.

Thank you to all at the ASA for a great weekend and evening and congratulations to Alexander!

Best Sommelier in America is Named

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, April 18th 2011, by Kara Newman

Alexander LaPratt, of New York’s db Bistro Moderne, won the title of “Best Sommelier in America” on Sunday night in a competition hosted by the American Sommelier Association, an organization dedicated to wine education and the sommelier industry in America.

LaPratt competed against 30 candidates from 12 states in a grueling two-day competition held at the Jumeirah Essex House hotel in New York. While all the competitors completed a blind tasting test and a written exam, four finalists—LaPratt, Christopher Bates of the Hotel Fauchere in Milford, Pennsylvania, Jared Fischer of Le Bernardin in New York and Michael Meagher of Treasury Wine Estates in Waltham, Massachusetts—ran an additional gauntlet.

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