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Occidental Grill & Seafood sommelier Michael Williams has created a wine list that features approachable and familiar wines as well as others that allow you to expand your wine palate. Here he highlights four wines and beverages that range from the affordable to extravagant on his list at the Occidental, the steak and seafood restaurant next to the Forbes Travel Guide recommended Willard InterContinental in Washington, D.C. Here are his four favorites:
For just $10 per glass, Williams offers the 2010 Eric Bordelet Sidre Tendre, a hard apple sparkling cider from Normandy. Bordelet, the cider's namesake, was a Parisian sommelier before taking over his family's cider production business, implementing sparkling wine techniques and creating offerings such as this one, which Williams calls "beautiful and complex with a persistent and extremely fine mousse."
A more extravagant option is the 2009 Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulée de Serrant Savennieres, offered for $200 per bottle. A chenin blanc that’s on Williams’ short list of the great white wines in the world, the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant from the Loire Valley is "intensely and freshly aromatic with searingly bright acidity."
For a bold flavor from a unique location, try the 2009 Owen Roe Rosa Mystica Cabernet Franc from Slide Mountain Vineyard in Yakima, Washington. This $160 bottle comes from the Yakima Indian Reservation, and is filled with cherry and blackberry notes. Williams says it’s the best cabernet franc he has ever tasted.
At just $67, the Joleté Deux Années Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is quite affordable, but still rather rare and worth tasting. The winemaker created just 441 cases of this pinot noir, a blend of 2009 and 2010 vintages that offers flavors of Bing cherry and sweet herbs.