Each year we put a call out to wine directors across the country, asking them to nominate the best new talent they’ve spotted working the floor in restaurants. They voted in eight up-and-coming sommeliers who all share a depth of wine knowledge, a warm presence with guests and the respect their colleagues. We’re pleased to introduce our Best New Sommeliers of 2016.
Meet Caleb Ganzer, wine director at NYC’s Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels.
Wine List as Playlist
“I think of the list like making a playlist. You have to have a base line—things that people know and love—then pepper on the fun things; throw in those funky tracks that other people don’t know. If people feel comfortable, then they notice the inflection points more.”
“Austria’s Steieremark. Especially Strohmeier—he’s a conductor and his wines are orchestras. As complex as DRC [Domaine de la Romanée-Conti]. When you stick your nose in the glass, it’s like looking into the Hubble space telescope: you just can’t stop looking. It’s showing you all new things all the time.”
Please Take Me To
“The Swartland. That’s the natural-wine hub of South Africa, I think, with people like Badenhorst. And it’s interesting: It’s a place that’s been making wine since 1500s, with a bunch of old vines—to call it New World is kind of unusual.”
photo of Caleb Ganzer by Mike Rush
This article first appeared in W&S October 2016.