Benny Bohm answers five questions on wine
Ammo managing partner Benedikt “Benny” Bohm is one of the best front-of-the-house professionals in L.A. Bohm also curates the 15-year-old restaurant’s wines, and the music, and both are notable for his eclectic choices.
What’s your favorite wine region to visit? And do you have any secret spots there?
The Wachau on the banks of the Danube in Austria, just north of Vienna. Nikolaihof, the oldest wine estate in Austria, has a great wine tavern. They put out a great spread and also make those pickled walnuts, which I’ve only had at St. John’s in London. Wine has been made at the estate since Roman times and is documented from the 5th century. In 1971, it became the first certified biodynamic vineyard in Europe.
What’s the sleeper on your list?
It’s the 2009 Kabaj Rebula (Ribolla Giallo) made just across the Italian border in Slovenia. It’s mellow and has this oxidized nose that I love. It’s one of the most unique wines I’ve ever tasted.
If you could encourage every customer to buy just one bottle, what would it be?
St. Joseph “Offerus” from the famous Jean-Louis Chave. It’s such an education in what Syrah should be, how elegant and soft-spoken it can be. I had it once at a restaurant where the food wasn’t that great but that wine saved the dinner. It was something to cling onto, like a path that carries you through your meal the way music can sometimes do. If a wine is right and strong enough, every sip puts you back on track again.
What’s the last wine that really blew you away?
I’ve tasted some really great wines lately. But I think it would have to be a Grenache from the region of Madrid, the 2009 Bernabeleva “Arroyo del Tórtolas.” Most Grenache we get from Spain can be good, but rustic — jammy, plummy, spicy. This one shows that delicate side that Grenache can have, almost more Pinot Noir in character, soft and elegant and not over the top. I love Grenache. I love it when it’s big and jammy, but this wine blew me away because I had no idea it could be so elegant.
Where do you eat on your night off?
I’m a creature of habit, so I go to the same places. I go to barbrix a lot because I love shishito peppers. You can just go for a snack and try one of Claudio Blotta’s latest wine finds. I love the Hart & the Hunter, too. Have you had their biscuits yet? Unbelievable. Just heavenly.
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