Wine Tips from Sommelier John Slover, Robert Bohr, and Alex Miranda of Cru - New York, NY

October 2005

Old World vs. New World

“We are classicists. Because of what we have at our disposal and, as Robert was saying, being able to taste older stuff most people just read about, I’m more excited than ever about classic regions.”

“A lot of young sommeliers like New World wines because they’re easy to understand, they’re cheap, you can buy them and sell them, you can find the latest hotshot in Chile and go with it. It’s the same thing with the press. There’s nothing new to write about Burgundy, so when I pick up Wine Spectator or Decanter, it’s ‘South Africa!’ or ‘Chile!’ which I understand. Those countries deserve attention, but the kind of wines that we love are the wines that dominated New York restaurants 20 years ago. This is old school. I think 30% of our clientele is interested in modern wine and we do have some. It’s almost like we are trying to sell them on the Old World.”

California

“My palate has evolved. I started drinking Zinfandels in 80’s out in San Francisco. I loved that tannic, purple teeth quality. And now I like softer, prettier wines. But, having said that, I can appreciate those big wines. The three of us will taste California wines together. They’re important to our business. And I will find myself turning to them and saying, ‘I could really drink this.’ I really love California Cabs from the 80’s. I think they’re delicious.”

Value Wines

“I generally like Loire Valley whites for my everyday wines. One specific producer I enjoy is Domaine de Bellivière. It’s spicy, very light. Even on wine lists, it’s pretty cheap.”

“I drink a lot of Bourgogne Rouge as my house wine. That and Barbera.”

“For me, it’s also Barbera for red and Riesling for white.”

Great Pairings

“Just last week, I had roast-suckling pig with Cornas. It was a 1999 Allemand Reynard – amazing.”

“When I was at Clinton 71, the chef used to make this uni dish with poached egg and maple syrup and I couldn’t find a wine that could stand up to such strong flavors. I ended up choosing a Savagnin from the Jura. Jacques Puffeney is the producer.”

“We just did this great pairing last night actually. One of my favorite menu items is Pike Quenelles with a watercress garlic puree and it’s awesome with this Grüner Veltliner from Knoll. It was fantastic.”

Pet Peeves

“The only pet peeve I think any of us have is when we’re asked to make a recommendation and given zero information. As in, “We’d like a red wine.” And you say, “We have 2500…” and they add, “Something, you know, reasonable.” The more vague someone is, the more difficult the job is, and it’s less likely you’ll be able to meet their expectations. So my real pet peeve on the floor is a lack of dialogue.”