Posts Tagged ‘New York’

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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ASA Austrian Wines Class with Aldo Sohm

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Austria Wine USA, 2010

Today I had the opportunity to sit in on a class with the
American Sommelier Association ( on German and Austrian wines hosted by sommelier, Aldo Sohm. I’m the type of person that learns through repetition so it was a great opportunity for me to reinforce my Austrian wine knowledge and learn a little more about Germany.

Aldo Sohm has currently earned the title of the “Best Sommelier in the World”
through the Worldwide Sommelier Association and has previously been awarded the titles of “Best Sommelier in America” by the American Sommelier Association, “Best Sommelier in New York” by New York Magazine and “Best Sommelier in Austria.” Sohm has also recently received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service. When he’s not winning “Best of” awards, Sohm is the top sommelier at NYC’s 4 star restaurant, Le Bernardin.

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World’s Best Sommelier vs. World’s worst costumer

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Food & Wine, January 2010

Aldo Sohm of New York City’s Le Bernardin is as good at pairing wines as he is charming customers. But to truly test his mettle, F&W secretly enlisted critic Frank Bruni to play the role of nightmare diner. Read on to find out how Sohm survived the ordeal – and to see the exeptional matches he chose for star chef Eric Ripert’s elegant recipes.

I vetoed the Champagne that Le Bernardin’s Aldo Sohm suggested at the meal’s start, telling him my mood wasn’t so bubbly. Rejecting his advice again, I insisted on having a red instead of a white for the charred octopus, then I staged a tabletop tantrum over the price of the Montrachet that he initially paired with the monkfisch.

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Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Slashfood, May 2009, by Pervaiz Shallwani

In just two years as the sommelier and wine director at New York’s world-renowned Le Bernardin restaurant, 37-year-old Aldo Sohm has become a wine world heavyweight, having been recognized as “Best Sommelier” in the World” in 2008 and earlier this month for “Best Wine Service” at the James Beard Awards. Trained in his native Austria, Sohm came to the United States to improve on his then “dumpy” English so he could better compete at wine competitions. We caught up with Sohm this morning to chat about the unwritten rule of pairing fish with white wine, which vino goes well with grilled salmon and that other reason why he now lives in America.

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Sommelier Talk: Aldo Sohm

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Wine Spectator, October 2008, by Tanya Roqueta

In his spare time, the sommelier at Best of Award of Excellence-winning Le Bernardin is the “Best Sommelier in the World”.

Aldo Sohm, 37, is the wine director of New York restaurant Le Bernardin, which holds a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for its wine list.

Sohm attended tourism school in his native Austria before working at Tirol restaurants Alberg Hopiz and Bio Hotel Stanglwirt. In 1999, Sohm became exposed to sommelier competition culture through a friend, and began preparing himself to compete. He has since won the titles of “Best Sommelier in Austria” at the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 Austrian competitions.

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Tips From the Top Sommelier

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Bloomberg Markets, October 2008, by Elin McCoy

Le Bernardin’s Aldo Sohm reveals how to get the most from a restaurant wine experience and tells how he earned the title “World’s Best”.

While Jogging around Manhattan’s Uper West Side one weekend, Aldo Sohm dreamed up an unusual food-and–wine pairing: the little-known Domaine de Montbourgeau Savignin l’Ètoile vin jaune from France’s Jura region with a tangy French blue cheese, Fourme d’Abert.

The wine’s high acidity would break the sharpness of the cheese, he decided. When he tried it later, it worked.

Matching food and wine is always on Sohm’s mind. And what else would you expect from the Best Sommelier in the World? The Worldwide Sommelier Association gave him that title on May 24 at La Pergola, the three-Michelin-star restaurant in the Rome Cavalieri Hilton, after a grueling two-day competition.