What do you like to drink after a shift? “It depends on my mood, but sometimes it’s a cup of English-style tea with milk and sugar or Japanese whisky—Hibiki 21-Year-Old.”
What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “The Cure, “Friday I’m in Love.””
Name the first good wine you ever drank and where you had it. “Côte-Rôtie 1985 from Chapoutier while eating lunch at my cousin’s boyfriend’s house. It was just across the vineyards from Chapoutier.”
What book on wine, cocktails, spirits or food is your go-to resource? “Michael Broadbent’s The New Great Vintage Wine Book, the French magazine Bourgogne d’Aujourd’hui, and a variety of blogs, including one by Colin Shearn. I also like to listen to the podcast I’ll Drink to That by Levi Dalton.”
Name the wine region that took you the longest to truly understand. “Piemonte, because the spirit is similar to Burgundy; it’s all about parcels and the difference in soils, microclimates, and different farming philosophies from one vineyard to the next—it’s a lot of work understanding so many varying differences in such a small region, so many complexities from one plot to the next.
What’s your favorite wine and food pairing? “A really good red Burgundy with extremely simple food, so that the flavor of the food doesn’t overpower the wine, like steamed potatoes, a green salad, and cured meats and cheese. Or sweetbreads and a poached egg on toast with a Puligny-Montrachet.”
Ever appropriate to sip white wine at room temperature? “Yes, absolutely. The idea is that you drink cold white when the quality of the wine isn’t that great. When the quality improves, you want to enjoy the complexities and nuances of the wine that you wouldn’t get if the wine was too cold. White wines with age, such as old Rhone or old Burgundies, really need to be served at room temperature in order to capture the true essence of the wine.”
What’s your favorite bottle of wine under $20? “Cabernet Franc from Matthieu and Sylvanie Bouchet called Le Sylphe, 2013.”
What’s your favorite bottle of wine over $1,000? “1985 Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux from Henri Jayer”
What tool do you use to open a bottle? “A classic Laguiole wine opener or a two-prong corkscrew for older wine.”
Philippe Sauriat is the head sommelier at New York’s acclaimed Gabriel Kreuther.
Interview has been condensed and edited.