Going 10 Rounds with Top Sommelier Sidonie Rodman
The sommelier at acclaimed New York restaurant Rezdôra, tackles our speed round of questions.
What do you like to drink after a shift? “After a shift, I’m usually really thirsty and my palate is toast. So at the end of the night, I want to have something refreshing. I usually go for a dry white wine that’s super crisp and mineral driven—one of my go-tos is a Malvira Roero Arneis from Piemonte.”
What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? ““What’s Love Got to do with It” by Tina Turner.”
Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “The first time I had a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I had that ‘ookkkaayy, I get it now’ moment. I remember I was at the Edge Restaurant at the Inn at Ocean’s Edge in Lincolnville, Maine—the first restaurant I opened in 2005 with my brother. We opened a Vieux Télégraphe 1998 and I fell in love with the ‘barnyard’ notes of this wine. Then I moved on to the Gigondas and Vacqueyras regions chasing these flavors...until I met Italy.”
What book on wine is your go-to resource? “The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson is my go to wine book. Another great reference for people starting out with wine is The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil, I’ve referenced this continuously over the years.”
Name the wine region that took you the longest to truly understand. “Italy! It was the most daunting, which made it the most appealing to me. There are so many grapes and they vary so much in style, you really need to know the producers and understand the history of the region. In my opinion, the DOC and DOCG classifications don’t really stand as a guide for quality, so you really have to taste and read a lot to understand. I’m still learning every single day.”
What’s your favorite wine and food pairing? “I love a challenge and finding a special combination that makes you stop and think. Like white wine with heavier pastas and red wine with fish. At Rezdôra, I pair Vigneti a Prua, a late-harvest Pigato, with the third course on our pasta tasting menu. The dish is our Tortelloni di Ricotta, a house-made tortelloni stuffed with fresh ricotta and served with brown butter and sage. The late-harvest Pigato has honey notes and a viscosity that matches the body of the ricotta but is completely dry with great minerality. The wine cuts through the fat in the butter sauce, leaving you wanting more of both.”
What’s the most common wine myth you have to debunk? “Big wine is also big in body. Everyday people say they like a full-bodied wine at Rezdôra, I like to steer them to a Barbaresco, a Gattinara or a Barolo. Nebbiolo can be so full in structure, but not body, which makes it amazing with food.”
What’s your favorite bottle of wine under $20? “Vallana Spanna, 2010. Spanna predates Barolo and has an incredible smokiness and tannic structure.”
What’s your favorite bottle of wine over $1,000? “Giuseppe Mascarello Barolo, 1982. Giuseppe Mascarello is one of the biggest names in Barolo. His Barolos are true to reputation and amazingly integrated with traditional and tannic structure that gives them incredible age potential. 1982 was a fantastic year and this is the kind of wine you remember forever. I’ve had 1950s Mascarellos and they are still alive and well.”
What tool do you use to open a bottle? “The Pulltex. I was surprised at how smooth it made every bottle opening; it gently does the work for you.”
Sidonie Rodman is the sommelier at acclaimed New York restaurant Rezdôra.
Interview has been condensed and edited.