Star Sommelier

Going 10 Rounds with Sommelier Aldo Sohm

The award-winning wine director at Le Bernardin in New York City tackles our speed round of questions.

Courtesy Daniel Krieger

What do you like to drink after a shift? “Either a Stiegl Beer or Gaffel Koelsch.”

What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song?Depeche Mode, “Enjoy the Silence.””

Name the first good wine you ever drank and where you had it. “1961 Château Latour at the Arlberg Hospiz Hotel in St. Christoph, Austria.”

What book on wine, cocktails, spirits or food is your go-to resource?The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson for wine, The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan for cocktails and The Flavor Bible by Andrew Dornenberg and Karin Page for food.”

Name the wine region that took you the longest to truly understand. “Burgundy is always tricky and I deal with it on a daily basis!”

What’s your favorite wine and food pairing? “It always changes! But right now, it’s barely cooked salmon with a Buddha’s hand salad and citrus-tarragon-olive oil emulsion paired with La del Vivo, La Vizcaina de Vinos, Raul Pérez, Bierzo Blanco, 2014 from Le Bernardin’s Chef’s Tasting Menu.”

Ever appropriate to sip white wine at room temperature? “Everything is appropriate as long as YOU like it. Personally, I even prefer my reds wines a bit cooler—generally around 62 degrees, which would be too cold for room temperature.”

What’s your favorite bottle of wine under $20? “White: Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella, Alto Adige 2016, from Italy. Red: Domaine d’Aupilhac, Coteaux du Languedoc Rouge, Lou Maset 2014 from France.”

What’s your favorite bottle of wine over $1,000? “Oh, there are many! I love Corton-Charlemagne by Coche-Dury 1996 and Richebourg by Romanée-Conti 1971”

What tool do you use to open a bottle? “I designed my own wine key with Laguiole and it’s become my go-to tool!”

Aldo Sohm is the wine director at New York’s acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant and was awarded the titles of Best Sommelier in America in 2007 and Best Sommelier in the World in 2008. In 2009, the restaurant won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.

Interview has been condensed and edited.