Private lives

A recent survey of US sommeliers from top establishments shows them to be remarkably unconventional and some even off-the-wall

ANDREW J. LINN

Unlike asking porn stars what sort of sex they practice when the cameras are not rolling, sommeliers usually give straight answers when they confess to what they enjoy drinking in private. The sommelier's work schedule is unusually punishing, making their downtime doubly precious, so what are their personal liquid treats?

A recent survey of US sommeliers from top establishments shows them to be remarkably unconventional and some even off-the-wall.

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One enjoys nothing more than beer mixed with Campari, while another claims a shot of gin with an IPA brings out the botanicals and floral notes of both.

Back to earth with a lady sommelier from LA who thrives on Alsatian Riesling, and another who insists on drinking Beaujolais from a water glass.

Another exclaims guiltily, "There is nothing wrong with drinking rosé." A few somms, as they are usually referred to, prudently get their rocks off by drinking Cynar, an artichoke-based vermouth-style that people love or hate (it's supposed to be good for the liver).

First prize for variety must surely go to a Hollywood somm who alternates between wheat beer, sake, Tia María and Gatorade, although many simply enjoy nothing more than opening a few bottles of the sort of fine wines they serve in their normal line of duty.

Since they themselves would have selected the wines that are featured on the wine list, restaurant suppliers are invariably delighted to slip them a few bottles of decent stuff now and then to take home.

Nevertheless, the overall most popular choice is gin and tonic.