Catering to a mix of wine lovers, celebrities (like Paul McCartney and Valentino) and true foodies, Jordan Salcito, a sommelier and sometime winemaker, must seamlessly guide patrons to pick wines that perfectly match their meals. But, on occasion, Salcito delivers epiphanies in a bottle. Here are her choices for don’t- miss wines.
Henri Jayer 1980 Aux Brulées Premier Cru (Vosne-Romanée).
This is the wine over which I fell in love with my husband, Robert Bohr. He served it to me at Cru when we first started dating.
St. Urbans-Hof 2008 Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett (Saar).
One of the most ethereal wines I’ve ever tasted. The wine isn’t easy to find, but it’s an extraordinary value, mineral-driven and packed with intensity, yet lithe and light, thanks to its bright, citrusy freshness.
Klein Constantia 2001 Vin de Constance (Constantia).
This was a life-changing wine for me. It opened my eyes to some of South Africa’s great viticultural history. Made from late-harvest, sometimes botrytized Muscat grapes, this wine established such esteem during the 17th century that they were later sought-after by Napoleon, King Louis Philippe and Frederick the Great, and the wine has been referenced by Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. It is luscious and luxuriously sweet, yet tempered by a refreshing acidity. This is one of the most versatile sweet wines I’ve ever tasted.
Château de Fonsalette 2003 Cuvée Syrah (Côtes du Rhône).
I knew the wines of Château Rayas—Pignan, Fonsalette and La Pialade—though the Cuvée Syrah was something extraordinary—meaty and dense, sanguine and earthy, yet texturally soft and supple. I go out of my way to track down this wine.
Jordan Salcito has earned Advanced Certificates from the Court of Master Sommeliers and the International Wine Center. She served in sommelier roles at New York restaurants Eleven Madison Park, GILT and Veritas and has made wine in Montalcino, Italy, launching her own label, Bellus Wines, last fall.
Here are two more of Jordan's top wines:
Domaine Guy Roulot 2004 Les Bouchères Premier Cru (Meursault) and Maison Deux Montille 2004 Les Bouchères Premier Cru (Meursault): “These two wines are made from the same vineyard, but by different producers. Husband and wife team, Jean-Marc Roulot and Alix de Montille are both extraordinary winemakers. My first visit to Burgundy, I had dinner with Jean-Marc, Alix and Alix’s brother, Etienne. Each winemaker brought two of their own wines. The wines were served blind. I recall vividly that Alix was the only one to guess all wines correctly. As she put it, the person is expressed through the wine. She nailed all six. Of those six, the two stars were the Meursault Premier Cru Bouchères, from both Alix and Jean-Marc.”
Diamond Creek 1997 Gravelly Meadow Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): “Another Eleven Madison Park discovery! John Ragan, the wine director, who had worked and lived in California for several years, turned me onto this wine. The estate, one of Napa’s oldest, was founded in 1968, and Diamond Creek was an early believer in creating specific wines from specific vineyard sites. These wines are as earth driven as they are fruit-driven, and the Gravelly Meadow is particularly site specific. The wines are soulful, balanced and beautiful expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon.”