Wine Access wine lovers are savvy in the kitchen, this much we know. Couple that with high-minded food and wine pairing recommendations from Master Sommelier Sur Lucero—a veteran of Michelin-3-Star The French Laundry—and turn an ordinary night of eating at home into a Michelin-inspired night of homemade haute-cuisine with exceptional wine. Here are 9 pairings that will send you straight to the grocery store and back home just in time to open the white that’s been chilling in the fridge.
Sourced from 25-year-old vines, Dan Petroski’s ultra-vibrant Sauvignon Blanc has spent years as a by-the-glass selection at The French Laundry, and it’s easy to see why: This Old-World-inspired white delivers fresh lemon, grapefruit, and starfruit along with fresh herbs, yellow flowers, and a hint of flinty mineral.
Master Somm’s Pairing: This is an aperitif cheese-friendly wine, with a tiny amount of skin contact, that has nice body and weight, marrying nicely with spring goat cheese ravioli, English peas, and garden herbs. Alternatively, make pasta primavera with a side of frisée salad topped with goat cheese.
A biodynamically-farmed wine from 80-year-old vines that grow on the famous pink granite hills of Régnié—an uncommon Beaujolais Cru, but for industry-insiders, among the most exciting of all the region’s villages today. This wine hails from the edge of Burgundy’s famous slopes, delivering superior quality at a fraction of the price of equally pedigreed bottles.
Master Somm’s Pairing: Grain et Granit’s medium body and crunchy wild raspberry fruit, exotic spice, and fresh herbs call for classic French fare: a plate of Escargot, French charcuterie, paté, grainy mustards, thin slices of roast beef, and creamy, tangy Swiss cheese.
Cabernet Franc’s ancestral home is in the Loire Valley, and the sand, limestone, and alluvial soils that these 15-year-old vines grow in allow Le Grand Bouqueteau to reach a level of elegance that has caught the attention of sommeliers at top restaurants around the U.S.
Master Somm’s Pairing: The dark ruby-purple color implies deep concentration, but one sniff reveals fresh, heady aromas of violet florals, layered with juicy red cherry, red plum, brown spices, and graphite, all calling for steak tartare, but with the vibrancy to accompany heartier fishes like grilled salmon.
Les Chevalières is one of the greatest lieux-dits (named place) in Meursault, esteemed for its ability to produce stunning wines that are the equal of nearby premier cru plots, but cost half as much. Critic Jeb Dunnuck called it “pure class” and “rivetingly focused.” After all, Domaine Matrot is one of the greatest and most celebrated producers of White Burgundy.
Master Somm’s Pairing: Given the wine’s rich buttercream-meets-pear-and-apple notes, coupled with lemon curd, and roasted hazelnuts and cleansing acidity, I would suggest going all-out: prepare butter-poached lobster, or Dover Sole, in brown butter with sage and toasted hazelnuts.
Bollinger’s NV Rosé Champagne is as likely to be found at a five-star hotel in Vegas as a Michelin-starred restaurant in France. It’s also the Champagne of choice for James Bond—in other words, the Champagne that graces the highest echelons of society, standing alongside Krug, Cristal, Dom, and other iconic têtes de cuvée.
Master Somm’s Pairing: Fresh and vibrant perfumed aromas of mixed berries, red-skinned apples, and dried cranberries, further accentuated with hazelnuts and freshly baked biscuits. This is a powerful Champagne rosé that is worthy of high-end seafood dishes that include Alaskan salmon and king crab legs.
Mike Grgich was the winemaker behind the Chardonnay that won the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting, and his 97-point 2016 Grgich Hills Estate topped nearly 1,000 Chardonnays at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Grgich learned from André Tchelistcheff and Robert Mondavi—this is Napa Chardonnay in its finest hour.
Master Somm’s Pairing: With an explosion of white flowers and a citrus layer with a toasty, nutty tone, the richness, and round mouthfeel makes for the absolute perfect partner for roasted whole chicken with potatoes—maybe even a Béarnaise sauce on the side.
A Note From the Master Somm: The next three wines are powerhouse Napa reds that are best enjoyed alongside steak—generously salted, lightly peppered, and seared over an open flame. I’d suggest grilled filet mignon, New York Strip, or bone-in ribeye served alongside your favorite sauces, roasted vegetables, and crusty bread.
Over the course of a decade, Todd Newman has gone from “solid Applebee’s waiter” (as he puts it) to the proprietor of a Napa Valley winery that not only landed in Wine Spectator’s Top 100—in just its third vintage—but caused Antonio Galloni of Vinous to call Dakota Shy “one of the most exciting projects (he’d) tasted in some time.” A super-classic Napa Valley Cabernet with blackberries, cassis, violets, and cedar notes on the nose. This is for the Filet Mignon.
Winemaker Russell Bevan’s 99-point 2017 Ontogeny is culled from top vineyards like Tench, Sugarloaf, Wildfoote, and Sentinel Ridge, is aged in 100% new French oak: Darnajou, Taransaud, and other top-notch cooperages, delivering “straight-up heavenly wine,” with “a dense aromatic array of blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrant, mocha, crème de cassis, vanilla, sweet spice, and licorice,” that is “guaranteed to put a smile on your face,” says Jeb Dunnuck. Get out the New York Strips with this Oakville stunner.
Dalla Valle, one of the greatest of California’s cult producers, is virtually impossible to get your hands on. Aside from a handful of top restaurants (The French Laundry, for example, lists bottles of Dalla Valle Maya for $1,500 each), members of their mailing list buy virtually all of the remaining bottles. Ripe blackberry, black currant and exotic spices meet robust and rich flavors of blueberry, blackberry compote, and mocha. Save the Bone-in-Ribeye for this.