Following the leaders

I was tucking into the stuffed squash blossoms at Nora’s Wine Bar & Osteria recently when the som dropped a bomb. He was confidently ordering us up a bottle of something even he’d never tried. “So, how can you be sure it’s any good?” I inquired squeamishly as our bartender cut the foil, passing the point of no return on our $58 investment. But Matt Leos merely smiled knowingly as the Il Colorino di Casanova Della Spinetta 2005 was decanted and poured. An advanced sommelier and wine broker, Leos explained that you can order or buy with confidence (yes, even blindly) once you become familiar with importers who are renowned for impeccable taste and knowledge of a wine region. So, the next time you happen upon a particularly delectable import, make note of the importer’s label and do some research; it could be just the tip of a very tasty iceberg.

Importers to watch

  • France: Neal Rosenthal
  • Spain: Eric Solomon
  • Germany: Rudi Wiest
  • Italy: Indigenous Selections
  • Australia: Old Bridge Cellars
  • Argentina: Vine Connections

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First-Class Comfort Food

First-Class Comfort Food

Chef Sammy D never expected to dedicate his professional life to delivering creative culinary comfort food for the masses. Nah, this rising superstar chef thought he’d employ those skills to pay the bills, then devote most of his time and vision to higher gastronomic pursuits. You know, one of those classy joints that elevates dining to an art form. But a funny thing happened on his way to that dream: He realized he is exactly where he should be.