Currently at: DB Bistro Moderne, 55 W. 44th St., New York, NY
Alex LaPratt just won the title Best Sommelier in America, and we know why: To put it simply, he’s freaking awesome. Alex is NOT the stereotypical stiff sommelier with an attitude and a tastevin.
From Morels Bistro in Detroit to DB Bistro Moderne in NYC (via The French Laundry in Napa), the man remains the same: fun, inspired and ambitious with just the perfect touch of hip-hop swagger to keep things exciting. He may enjoy “poppin’ bottles in the ice, like a blizzard…” but make no mistake: Alex is sharp, professional and serious about his studies.
We’re rooting for him this year — in addition to working full-time at DB Bistro, he’s sitting for his Master Sommelier exam and competing for Best Sommelier in the World. And, as you can see from the photo at right, he’s also a better riddler than the locals in Champagne. Holler.
How’d you get started in the biz? What was your first job?
My first hospitality job was as a waiter at Big Boy’s just outside of Detroit. What an introduction to this rock-star lifestyle! My first real inspiration however came from Madeline Triffon, MS. I was 19, obnoxious and thought I knew everything. She gave me such an eye opener to what hospitality really is. Thank you, Madeline.
Winemaker/winery you feel more people should know about?
Alain Graillot in the Northern Rhône Valley. His Crozes-Hermitage is incredible. Great value Syrah full of campfire smoke, tart red fruits, roasted meat and olives. I’ve never opened a bottle for someone and had them be disappointed.
Favorite wine region in the world?
Hands down, without a doubt: Champagne. I love it! A region filled with great people and wine that I could drink all day, every day! Plus they make bottles that you can open with a saber….
Many guests are shocked to learn that we sommeliers drink beer. Do you? If so, what’s your favorite kind?
I drink beer… more than I should; I need to find more time for the gym. My favorite beer is Delerium Tremens from Belgium. I’m a bit of a wild card, so I usually order that and a refreshing IPA to go with it. Double-fisting is key to being awesome.
Favorite pairing of the moment?
Champagne and tarte flambée. The yeasty creaminess and toasted brioche flavors in the Champagne really complement the creaminess of the cheese and slightly charred, flaky crust. Ours at DB Bistro is the best in all of NYC; you should stop by and try it!
Album you’d most like to hear while working on the floor?
Lloyd Banks’ The Hunger for More 2. Every sommelier has to have a little swag 😉