|A few months ago while lunching at Le Bernardin in New York, I had a brief but illuminating conversation with the Sommelier, a certain Aldo Sohm. Little did I know that a few months later he’d win the title of Best Sommelier in the World in a competition organized by the Italian World Sommelier Association.|
The Austrian born Sohm is the first American to ever win this title. The previous year he made it to the finals but was unable to clinch it.
Aldo Sohm had only 45 minutes to complete the final part of the competition where he was asked to correct a faulty wine list, pair foods and wines, demonstrate guest service in a simulated restaurant setting, perform Champagne service, decant wines and also provide specific cigar recommendations with after-dinner drinks.
As Decanter reported, he beat 14 other semifinalists in the competition, including Spain’s Roger Vius” and Manuel Moreira, fomr Portugal. The finals of the competition, organised by the World Sommelier Association, took place at the Cavalieri Hilton hotel in Rome.
Le Bernardin is arguably one of the most glamorous and stylish of French restaurants in New York. The wood-paneled dining room is grand but not ostentatious. The food is delicious and the wine list extensive. I recommend the Prix-Fixe Menu – a three-course lunch for $64 or a four-course dinner, $107. Chef Eric Ripert who was the winner of the James Beard Award for 2003 Outstanding Chef of the Year and recently published A Return to Cooking, runs the cooking.