Sommelier Nick Adams Robinson of Tocqueville - Biography

New York, NY

September 2011

A teenage summer job as a waiter turned native New Yorker Nick Adams Robinson onto the “auspicious relationship between great wine and food”—not to mention the relationship between happy clients and larger paychecks. But it wasn’t until a dry run as a sommelier at the University of Colorado that Robinson purchased his first “grown-up” bottle of wine. Seeking to impress a sophisticated young co-ed, he matched the right wine to the right girl, the right meal, place, and time. The exercise sparked Robinson’s love affair with wine pairings (by the way, his half-corked plan worked, and girl and somm are happily engaged).

Robinson moved back to New York City at 22, and after a few introductory level waiter jobs, he scored a major opportunity as captain at Aquavit. For him, pairing wine and food was the most stimulating aspect of service. He thrived on the challenges presented by then Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s delicate fare and enjoyed the opportunity to enhance each dish with wine.

In 2008, Robinson was hired as a floor sommelier at Tocqueville and 15 East, and before long, he was promoted to beverage director at both restaurants. At 15 East he has incorporated sake pairings into his program. And Robinson’s cerebral, eyebrow-raising pairings at Tocqueville earned him a 2011 New York Rising Star award this October—an auspicious start to the Fall season.