James Sligh Somm Pack

James Sligh Somm Pack

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James Sligh is a New York-based sommelier and wine educator, most recently at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels in SoHo. James cut his teeth at some of the best wine programs in the city: he got his start on the floor with Patrick Cappiello's Grand Award-winning cellar at Pearl & Ash on the Bowery, and went to reopen Rouge Tomate in Chelsea with master sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier.

James has elected to pledge his earnings from the pack to a new mentorship program being built for BIPOC & LGBTQ+ professionals in the NY beverage industry. The program, organized by Pinch beverage director Miguel de Leon in collaboration with a number of local importers, envisions tuition-free education initiatives and mentorship that will support the career aspirations of people whose experience and opportunity have been historically marginalized.
We at Le Du’s fully support the program that James' colleagues are building, and as such we will be fully matching James' donation.

Werlitsch, "Ex Vero II", Steiermark 2006

Ewald Tscheppe took over from his father in 2004, and by that December had finished converting his parents’ vines to biodynamics; his first vintage was in 2005. This wine, harvested the following year, is a testament to his patience and dedication. We’re in Austria’s southern garden, heavily forested, verdant, famed for its apples and pumpkins. The topography is dramatic, a mix of etched river gorges and floodplains, rolling hills and mountain ranges, with Slovenia just over the southern border. The region is small (just over 4,500 planted hectares) and overwhelmingly dedicated to white, with the exception of the west’s local specialty, blauer wildbacher. Central European locals like muskateller, traminer, and welschriesling rub shoulders with imports: pinot blanc, chardonnay (morillon, here), and sauvignon blanc, which defies its typical aromatic signatures in favor of a riper, savory, jasmine & thyme character that feels distinct from anywhere else in the world.

Clos du Rouge Gorge, "Blanc", Roussillon 2018

An amphitheater of crumpled granite and gneiss and schist and occasional veins of limestone carved through by rivers that drain into the Mediterranean with the Pyrenees at its back, the Roussillon is often treated as a hyphenate appendage to the Languedoc. But while the Languedoc looks north to Provence and the Rhône, the Roussillon is tied south to Catalunya. Your grandmother, if you were born here, would have grown up speaking Catalán. Eight hundred years ago, the Counts of Roussillon and the Dukes of Barcelona were politically aligned underneath the crown of Aragon, and their traders and mercenaries dominated the waves. Syrah is a recent import. The old vines here, muscat and carignan and macabeu and grenache in all colors, are the same on both sides of the mountains. Historically, the prized wines of the regions were sweet and fortified to survive voyages over the middle sea; today, sweet wines languish in obscurity and the vast majority of the production is still controlled by cooperatives. 

Orly Lumbreras, “Malandro”, Sierra de Gredos 2016

Some of the best grenache in the world is hiding uphill from mule paths and mountain streams west of Madrid, in the granite ranges of the Sierra de Gredos. Garnacha here has a translucence and a textural component that is miles from the occasionally hamfisted bulk wines that it can produce elsewhere in Spain. Gredos was largely abandoned by rural cooperatives and local pensioners with untended family plots when its economic model was eclipsed by mechanized flatlands and bulk wine production that didn’t require backbreaking handwork. It’s only been in the last decade that its treasure trove of old, stubborn vines has been rediscovered by a new generation of producers.