RENOWED VETRI SOMMELIER STEVE WILDY WANTS YOU TO TRY 2007 LE RAGNAIE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO

Steve Wildy
VETRI | Philadelphia

In 2006, Wildy became general manager at Vetri, under the James Beard-awarded chef Marc Vetri. Now he oversees the beverage lists for the entire family of Vetri's restaurants.

HIS LIST:
"With several locations to work with, I'm fortunate to be able to break up areas of focus between them, but overall we showcase almost 100% Italian selections," Wildy says. "We have a preference toward the higher acidity, the naturally made, the more food friendly and the lesser-known."

PHILOSOPHY:
Wildy views his role as a chance to extend a diner's experience beyond the plate. "I can think of a few dishes or beverages that transport me to a particular time and place in my memory the way wine does," Wildy says. "Some day you're going to put your nose in a glass and immediately be back in Capri, or on your first date with your spouse...and I love knowing that any bottle I serve could do that for someone."

NOTABLE TRENDS:
As recently as a few years ago, Wildy found there was a tendency among sommeliers to condescend and over-sell, which had created a culture of intimidation in restaurants. Now, he's happy to see a growing trust between guests and sommeliers. These days, he gets many customers who simply tell him, "Just open something awesome for us."

WHAT HE WANTS YOU TO TRY:
Le Ragnaie, Brunello di Montalcino 2007
"Riccardo Campinoti is decades younger than anyone else making wines at his level," Wildy says. "He's only on his sixth vintage and he's already producing some of the best wines in Tuscany." This wine is downright exuberant, wafting with ripe plum and raspberry aromas and spicy, savory flavors of licorice and cinnamon. Wildy recommends pairing it with bistecca alla Fiorentina with a side of kale or black cabbage. "With the elegant balance of earth and fruit in Le Ragnaie's wines, you can also match with wild mushrooms over polenta, or wild boar ragu with chestnut fettuccine and cocoa powder, a dish we serve frequenty at Vetri," he adds.