The Wines from Spain in the Americas’ Top Rests III 1
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The Wines from Spain in the Americas’ Top Rests III

Aldo Sohm, Wine Director, Le Bernardin (New York)

Aldo Sohm, Wine Director, Le Bernardin (New York)

Born and trained in France, raised in Andorra, and very familiar with Spanish, Caribbean and Latin American flavors because of friends and family ties, Chef and TV personality Eric Ripert has brought seafood to a new zenith, and has made flavors from the sea a column of internationally acclaimed fine dining icon Le Bernardin, a three Michelin starred restaurant in New York City that has consistently also attained New York Times four star rating. Le Bernardin was born in Paris in 1972 and opened its New York location in 1986.

Wine is an essential component of Le Bernardin’s excellence. The restaurant offers a dynamic wine selection that is reviewed bi-weekly. “Our list changes frequently so while we currently don’t have one label this week, we may have one or two wines from Spain the next,” told Aldo Sohm, Le Bernardin’s Wine Director-Chef Sommelier to According to Austrian-born Sohm, wines from Spain represent approximately 10% of the labels available in the cellar. Le Bernardin has a collection of 15,000 bottles made up of 900 wine selections from 12 countries and vintages dating back to 1945.

The sommelier, who also leads Aldo Sohm Wine Bar in Manhattan, joined Le Bernardin in 2007, the year he was distinguished as “Best Sommelier in America”, a title that he extended to a global reach when in 2008 was voted “Best Sommelier in the World”. Under his leadership Le Bernardin received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service” in 2009.

Le Bernardin’s wine program focuses on pairings that complement Ripert’s cuisine, based mostly on seafood. Sohm and Ripert discuss Le Bernardin’s wine selection regularly, an opportunity the sommelier takes to introduce the chef to new wine regions and grape varietals from the world.

“I always look at the new dish, its sauce, and what style or type of wine could pair perfectly. Overall, I think Spanish wines offer many styles that fit a broad variety of cuisines,” Sohm added.

Labels from Rioja, Ribera Del Duero, Rías Baixas, Bierzo, Rueda, Priorat, Catalunya and Jerez are currently featured on the wine list, and wines as La Val Albariño, from Rías Baixas DO, and Matias I Torres Listán Blanco from the Canary Islands are available by the glass. Pago de los Capellanes, Fino Inocente, La Bota de Fino, Vega Sicilia, Raventos i Blanc, and Corullón are a few of the wine labels from Spain that can be found at Le Bernardin.

“The wines from Spain that we feature on the list all perform well. Some, like Riojas or Priorats, are more popular because of name recognition, and others for their tasting profile,” he explained.

The restaurant, whose diners are a mix of New Yorkers and visitors from around the world, also offers wine pairings for both the Chef’s Tasting and Le Bernardin Tasting Menus. In this harmonious exercise, sparkling Cava evalidates as a versatile pairing, as in the case of their “Lobster” Lasagna, served with Celeriac and Truffle Butter, which is paired with a cava from Agustí Torelló Mata.

Sohm, who has not yet visited Spain, has a López de Heredia Gran Reserva 1964 as his very memorable wine from Spain.