With the start of Aspen Food & Wine Classic, I'm preparing my palette for the ultimate Dionysian experience: sips of oaky vintages, amazing food, and spectacular atmosphere.
The Aspen Classic is a fabulous opportunity to showcase both up-and-coming and established culinary professionals…. but I have to say the picture-perfect sommeliers are a notable highlight. In honor of these wine-toting and always well-informed professionals, I've hand-picked a few of my favorite spots around the world with outstanding sommelier service.
If you're lucky enough to be in Aspen this weekend for the F&W Classic, be sure to pop by element 47 at The Little Nell, which serves amazing contemporary American cooking at the base of Aspen mountain, complemented by a monumental wine list and sommelier experts to guide you through it.
South African wine is of course powerful enough to travel halfway around the world for. The charming town of Franschhoenk is home to one of my favorite restaurants in La Quartier Francais, Bread & Wine Vineyard restaurant, located on Moreson, a delightfully rustic family farm with personable sommeliers dedicated to enhancing your taste (and scent) for the good stuff.
Villa San Michele, a stunning Orient-Express property housed in a former monastery, boasts incredible views of Florence from the top of a lush hillside. Even more important: the property’s incredible wine-tasting course that takes place in an old Chianti farmhouse surrounded by cypress trees and vineyards. The gorgeous Tuscan countryside and charming sommeliers? Two rights don’t make a wrong.
For anyone who feels they need extra assistance to complete the transformation into wine connoisseur, take a look at Megan Krigbaum’s smashing Food & Wine article on the perfect “Wine-Tasting Workout,” complete with cheeky illustrations by Julia Rothman. My favorite exercise? A blind-folded aroma test with ingredients ranging from pencil shavings to bacon. Gauche to suggest the addition of a cronut (to be consumed post-aromatic sampling, of course)?