The Best American Wines—Chosen by America's Top Sommeliers

by Michael Steinberger, DETAILS; photograph by Justin Fantl

American sommeliers--once dry, bow-tie-wearing, oenophilic wonks--have become rock stars. With their impeccable taste and flair, these experts are worth listening to.

THE PICKS: The lithe, elegant Pinot Noirs from Tyler and Wind Gap, in California, and Cristom, in Oregon.
THE SOMMELIER: Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud in New York City. The Philly native--who earned his wine chops during a two-year stint at a winery in Burgundy and stocks his restaurants with plenty of Rhônes, Loire reds and whites, and top-flight American wines--shares the name of the best bottle he opens each night with his thousands of followers on Twitter.

THE PICKS: The finesse-driven Syrahs from Sonoma's Arnot-Roberts.
THE SOMMELIER: Eric Railsback of RN74 in San Francisco. A 27-year-old wunderkind, Railsback oversees an incredibly deep, Burgundy-rich list that caters to hardcore wine geeks. He's also known for his uncanny ability to hook you up with a wine you don't already know.

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THE PICKS: All the offerings--refined Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays--from Sandhi, a new label on California's Central Coast.
THE SOMMELIER: Dustin Wilson of Eleven Madison Park in New York City. A member of the exclusive Court of Master Sommeliers, Wilson oversees the impressive wine program at EMP, where he pulls off what would be a nightmare for most sommeliers--tasting menus with wine pairings customized for each diner.

THE PICKS: Sonoma's Coturri Winery, which produces quirky Zinfandels, Syrahs, and Pinot Noirs, and Hermann J. Wiemer, the excellent Riesling pioneer in New York's Finger Lakes region.
THE SOMMELIER: Jeremy Quinn of Telegraph in Chicago. A firm believer that Windy City drinkers have palates as sophisticated as anyone's, Quinn loads Telegraph's list with avant-garde pours (including wines made with little if any sulfur dioxide or other additives), like Puzelat, Laureano, Selosse, Bea, and Cornelissen.

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THE PICKS: Lioco Indica, a juicy, pleasantly restrained blend of Carignan, Mourvedre, and Petit Sirah.
THE SOMMELIER: Matthew Mather of Frasca and Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Colorado. Known as the master of pizza wines--once a backhanded compliment--Mather has turned the accolade on its head. He believes that fruity, un-oaked reds with modest tannins and brisk acidity work best with pizza, and his list includes Lagreins, Barberas, Dolcettos, and Primitivos.

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