Jon McDaniel

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 Jon McDaniel, Master Sommelier. Join us as we explore everything from his passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and his newest endeavors.

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This week from Jon McDaniel:

It's an unspoken (or actually very spoken) fact that to be a sommelier, you just have to love Piemonte. This is something that I have worn as a badge of honor my entire career as I absolutely am obsessed with this region's wines. Tucked into the Northwestern part of Italy, you fly into Milano, grab an espresso and drive west for about 90 minutes and there you are. 

This hilly region is the home of Nebbiolo, a finicky but magical grape that is the core of some of the most incredible wines in the world. You know Gaja, Giacosa, Mascarello, but there are some other fantastic producers that I have met over the course of my wine life that have meant so much to me both professionally and personally. I am honored to share just a brief snapshot of their wines with you.

Domenico Clerico

I had the massive privilege to work harvest here and fell in love immediately with this producer and stunning Nebbiolo. Domenico started in 1976 as one of the Barolo Boys (google this epic documentary) and unfortunately passed away in 2017. The core of Domenico's beliefs about wine starts in the vineyard – quality vines = quality wines. The winery is located in Monforte d'Alba in Barolo and works some of the great Crus of the village, including Ginestra, Pajana, Mosconi, and Bussia. Check out these fantastic Barolos and the Barbera/Nebbiolo blend "Arte."

Elio Altare

Landing in the Barolo village of La Morra in 1948, Altare has produced epic wines for almost 50. Years. On a trip to Burgundy back in 1976, Elio discovered the unique growing and vinification of some fantastic producers in this area and was inspired. This led to a huge shift in Barolo winemaking that changed the region forever. The wines have been made for the last few years by his daughter Silvia, who has taken the quality and finesse of these wines to another level!

Paolo Scavino

I still remember the first time I visited Scavino and tasted with the stoic Enrico and his two daughters, Enrica and Elisa. I had never tasted such expressive bottlings of Nebbiolo right from the vats. I had discovered his wines early in my career, and still, some of the most epic aged Nebbiolo I have ever seen have come from Scavino. The estate dates back to 1921 and is located in Castiglione Faletto, producing some of the most intense and aromatic Nebbiolo grapes on earth. Scavino is known for the incredible Cru wines that they produce from Cannubi, Rocche dell Annunziata and the amazing Bric del Fiasc. If you want to see Nebbiolo turned up and amplified – these wines will last in your cellar longer than you will!


If I had one guy to hang out with in Piemonte, I would skip Barolo and go right to Barbaresco to drink with Andrea Sottimano. His energy, passion, and joyous nature are reflected in every bottle of wine that he produces. Barbaresco is often overshadowed by its neighbor, Barolo, but these wines from Sottimano belong in the conversation as some of the very best, youthful, and vibrant examples of Nebbiolo. Andrea is all about minimal intervention, so you can appreciate how beautiful Nebbiolo can be. His Cru wines of Cottà, Currà, Fausoni, Pajoré, and Basarin are just outstanding. These are also some of the best values that you will find in Piemonte.

Check out all the wines mentioned below!

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