Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!
This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Dan Petroski. Join us as we explore everything from his passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and his newest endeavors.
This week from Dan:
I am a winemaker in Napa Valley and a regular shopper on the Benchmark website. Over the years I have turned to Benchmark to fill out the lineup of my annual Bordeaux retrospective tasting in the Spring and my post-harvest Nebbiolo tasting in November. I have even secured a special birthyear bottle or two, sadly it’s not a great year around the world, but lest we forget a pair of 1973 Napa wines bested the French at their own game and won the judgment of Paris tasting – those wines were the ’73 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon. You may not find those wines in the Benchmark inventory, or anywhere that matter as they are some of the rarest wine treasures around. If anyone reading this has one, please let me know, I will be right over!
But seriously, as I have gotten to know the team at Benchmark, I was honored when they asked me to curate a list of some of my favorite wines that I can share with you all. Instead of saying XYZ, I thought we would course out a wine list for a dinner party over the next few weeks of e-mails. If you have dinner at my house, we pick the wine to drink first then we consider the meal to cook.
We’ll start today with some Champagne, next week we’ll roll into white wine and then wrap up with a selection of red wines the last two weeks. Below this introductory hello you will see some of my selections from the Benchmark inventory as well as a broader look at the category. And at the end of the month, we’re going to sit down and taste some of these wines over Zoom. We’ll give you a heads up on which wines we will include in the Zoom and hopefully, you can join us for that tasting and a chat!
Drink well and we will see you next week!
The movement over the last decade or two to extract Champagne out of the hands of the celebratory moment has worked. We are all becoming more comfortable drinking Champagne any day of the week and Champagne has found its rightful place at the table. There has been more than one instance where Champagne not only started a meal at my house, but it carried it all the way to the finish.
Great dinner Champagnes are coming from big houses as well as a younger, edgier set of vignerons that have not only lowered the dosage (sweetness) of their bottlings but also tempered the pressure (the captured CO2 that gives the famous drink its bubbles). This Champagne-style tends to be a little more vinous and great for food pairing. For an example or two, check out the stunning wines of Cedric Bouchard and Pascal Agrapart.
I am also a sucker for the OG of Grower Champagnes, the wines from Egly Ouriet and Vilmart. I first tasted bottlings of these two producers back in the early aughts and was blown away. The wines have only gotten better today, although I do miss Vilmart’s Cuvee Creation bottling, you can find some of the fruit for those vineyards in their Grand Cellier non-vintage wine.
I know this might sound trite, but if money were no object, Philippponnat’s Clos des Goisses would be my house Champagne! Sorry Bolly and Dom Perignon (I know we share the same initials), Krug is always welcome at my house, as is Salon and the 2006 Comtes de Champagne (probably the wine of the vintage IMO), but give me Goisses any day any hour and a little caviar maybe, and I will die happy!.
Check out all the wines mentioned below!