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6 Top Napa Sommeliers Tell Us What They're Drinking Now

You can't go wrong with these expert-approved Napa Valley wines.

Q: What’s in your glass?

One of the great wine capitals, the Napa Valley attracts brilliant wine professionals the world over. We talked to six of the region’s top sommeliers on the frontlines of the American wine industry to find out what they’re drinking now.


Top wine professionals in Napa Valley
Eduardo Dingler (©Morimoto); Emily Pickral-Papch (©Chappellet); Jordan Nova (©1313 Main); Karen MacNeil (©Kaliphotography.com); Christie DuFault; Daniel McCullough (©Karen MacNeil)


Eduardo Dingler

Following his passion for wine, Dingler found his way to Napa from Torreon, Mexico. He handles the beverage program at Morimoto

A: I find myself sipping on Hudson Vineyards Aleatico. Lee Hudson planted a couple rows of this mystical varietal with Greek and Italian origins at his ranch in Carneros. In 2012, he decided to produce with no skin contact, which created a white aromatic wine. The mandarin blossom, white flowers and hibiscus aromas combined with a dry, sharp and citrus palate make it a great pairing with Asian cuisine, specifically sushi.


Emily Pickral-Papach

The 19th woman in North America to earn the title of master sommelier is a former Rudd Scholar and the national sales analyst and wine educator at Chappellet Vineyard.

A: I absolutely love Rudd Estate Sauvignon Blanc. It’s not widely available in restaurants, but I had it recently at Auberge du Soleil. It reminds me of some of my favorite Bordeaux white wines—it has beautiful stone and citrus fruits, well-integrated oak and a long, complex finish.


Jordan Nova

At 24, he’s currently an advanced sommelier and restaurant director at 1313 Main in downtown Napa. 

A: Azur, Le Pich, Purlieu and Atelier Melka—if it's made by the immensely talented Julien Fayard, it's in my glass. His wines are always aromatic and lifted with a great intensity of flavor. Out of 1313 Main's 50 wines by the glass, I've featured Purlieu, Gemstone and Dalla Valle, each made by Julien. They're incredible!


Karen MacNeil

“The Wine Bible” author and television personality is a leading wine educator whose students are sommeliers. She’s the only person in the country who has won every major wine award in the English language.

A: I never have one glass! Early evening starts with a flute of Domaine Carneros Brut; dinner means one of my favorite cabernets— O'Shaughnessy, Lokoya, Corison, Shafer… the list is long. I’ll drink them at Goose & Gander, Press or our office. We always have some bubbles in the fridge and great cabernet in the Viking!


Christie DuFault

The Wine Spectator Grand Award winner has co-authored a cookbook, appeared on the Food Network and worked at Gary Danko, Quince and RN74 in San Francisco.

A: My Napa wine of choice these days is the 2012 Chappellet Vineyard Chenin Blanc. I was thrilled when the Chappellet family brought it back from their historic vineyard high on Pritchard Hill. Named for Molly Chappellet, this dry wine is like the Grande Dame herself: elegant yet approachable. Citrus and mineral aromas and flavors combine to make a refreshing and flavorful wine on the palate; the wine is a triumph!


Daniel McCullough

The beverage director and sommelier at Oenotri, a Napa Valley restaurant favored among food critics, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

A: The 2006 Le Reve from Domaine Carneros. I enjoy most sparkling wines, and this is one of the best from California. The current vintage is delicious now, with its crisp green apple and touch of brioche, but the acidity and duration on the lees show great promise for aging. The estate is located about 10 minutes from downtown Napa, and they have daily tours and tastings.