Best Sommelier (2004)
Todd Lincicome at Al Biernat's
Go ahead, ask him anything. Is it acceptable to drop a few ice cubes into wine--even red? What's the best thing for less than $30 that pairs well with steak, fish and salad? Is there really a difference between Australian and New Zealand wines? He answers all questions with an unflappable grace and a frightening level of knowledge. Yep, frightening. He can pair wine within any price range and with any dish on the menu. Even when patrons argue over red or white, he manages to find a compromise suiting all parties. Press him on product from any region or vintage and he's likely to launch into a lengthy discussion of vineyards, soil, weather, fermentation technique--stuff you'll forget in a matter of minutes but wish you could remember the next time you stop by Sigel's. Wine, after all, changes from year to year, and to keep up requires an astounding level of devotion. For wealthy patrons, he builds wine cellars and stocks them with collectible vintages. For the rest of us, Lincicome happily points out value items, great-tasting wines for a decent price.