W&S Best New Sommeliers of 2011
Sur Lucero
Oenotri, Napa, CA
Age: 34

A Napa Valley native, Sur Lucero worked in restaurants from the time he was 15. He landed at The French Laundry in 1998, shortly before his 21st birthday, starting out as a runner and advancing to expediter. Meanwhile, he grew obsessed with wine, to the point where he'd volunteer to count inventory just to get more exposure to it. The wine director at the time, Paul Roberts, took notice and brought him on as a junior sommelier. After a break for culinary school, he returned as a full-blown sommelier in 2005, then went on to work in Boulder and Las Vegas. Napa's pull is strong however, so when Oenotri opened in Napa in 2010, he returned home to run the wine program. His only regret is that he's not able to work with his personal heartthrob, Chablis—although he drinks plenty of it while studying for the Master Sommelier exam, which he'll take next year.

—Luke Sykora

epiphany wine

1989 La Mouline from Guigal. I know, it's so obvious. But I couldn't stop thinking about that wine the whole night I was working.

new obsession

Etna's really cool. I think nerello mascalese is capable of great things.

soil studies

One of the most amazing places that I've seen, being a Napa boy, is Dalla Valle's Maya Vineyard. The soils are so deep and iron-rich. There's a beautiful elegance from that vineyard in the wine it produces year in and year out.