Vino File: Amanda Danielson
Owner/Sommelier, Trattoria Stella, Traverse City
The curator of Trattoria Stella’s dynamic beverage program, Amanda Danielson, is also 2013’s Red Hot Best Sommelier. Danielson tells us about the virtues of small winegrowers, indigenous varietals and the next big thing in Northern viticulture.
What drives the wine program at Stella?
We’re trying to step from the homogeny of wine; the best-selling commercial wines generally have very little character or sense of place. We want to represent those fantastic small families all over the world who grow their own grapes, farm sustainably and make wines that retain scale and character. I love finding indigenous grapes from obscure regions that can fill the shoes of the international varieties. I sort of feel like a librarian or bookseller, picking the best indie selections for my guests and vetting them.
Is there a particular obscure wine region we should be paying attention to right now?
Right now I’m really excited about Valle d’Aosta. It’s a teeny tiny alpine winegrowing region in Northern Italy with cool indigenous grapes and unique expressions of classic Italian varietals like Nebbiolo.
Bringing it back home, what’s Stella excited to be pouring from the local wine scene?
It’s great to see people planting more grapes that should excel in our climate. Sauvignon blanc is fickle but has the potential for a distinct expression here and gamay is a grape that often gets overlooked but makes gorgeous lighter-bodied reds.
Food and wine editor Tim Tebeau writes from Petoskey. [email protected]