A Trentino-Alto Adige Gem
Michel Couvreux thoughtfully curates a wine program around Per Se’s take on modern American cuisine. And Couvreux — the former beverage director at Le Bernadin, now the head sommelier at Per Se — keeps only one Italian Pinot Grigio on his list: the mineral-fruit-infused Tiefenbrunner from Südtirol. Given Michael’s storied career at several 3-Michelin-starred restaurants has been marked with plaudits like New York Magazine crowning him “One of the great Sommeliers in America,” his embrace of Tiefenbrunner really says it all.
Then again, it’s not so surprising that only one of northern Italy’s most popular whites makes the cut. This rich, bracing Pinot Grigio crafted by the Tiefenbrunner family gathers its snappy minerality and bracing acid character from the ancient chalky soils of a steep hillside site some 600 to 1,300 feet in elevation. Vines rooted in sandy, alluvial soils on a valley floor vineyard bring ripe fruit flavors to the proceedings, while aging on its fine lees in concrete vats provides a surprisingly rich and unctuous mouthfeel.
This leaves the serious wine lover a choice: The first option is to make a reservation - well in advance - at Per Se and be fully prepared to dish out $65 for a bottle. The second is to order a bottle from home at a much lower price, go to your local bistro of choice, and deal with the corkage fee. The latter’s cuisine may not rival Per Se, but the wine will most assuredly be memorable.