Sherry, Baby

The world's best sherry sommelier is right here in NYC

It's official: The best place to drink sherry in NYC is wherever Roger Kugler happens to be. The sommelier at Suba and Boqueria, Kugler (pictured, at left) recently won the international Copa Jerez, a biannual competition held in Spain that challenges sommelier-and-chef teams from around the world to find the most delicious ways to present this sea-scented wine.

Teamed with Suba and Boqueria executive chef Seamus Mullen (right), Kugler used the full range of sherry styles to complement Mullen's food—a crisp Fino to highlight a smoked sardine with almond-garlic soup; a nutty Amontillado to complement red mullet with Pata Negra ham; and a sweet Moscatel for a sheep's-milk flan.

Mullen designed those dishes especially for the competition, but they hold true to his style: modern food with Spanish soul, thankfully foam-free. And although Kugler's wine lists range all over Spain, he's all about the sherry. "They are the perfect food wines," he says, noting their dryness, clarity of flavor, palate-cleansing alcohol—and reasonable prices.

Here are four favorites that Kugler pours at his restaurants:

Hidalgo La Gitana Manzanilla ($8 glass/$35 bottle)

"This is a near-perfect example of the lightest sherry: It's light, dry, easy to drink and great with charcuterie, cheese and tapas."

Tio Pepe Fino ($7 glass/$43 bottle)

"A bit fuller than Manzanilla, yet it still works with similar foods, or as an aperitif."

Osborne Bailen Dry Oloroso ($7 glass/$43 bottle)

"Fuller and richer, this is meant for main courses or winter drinking—it pairs well with all kinds of meat—even hamburgers."

Gutierrez-Colosia Moscatel ($15 glass/$54 bottle)

"A great dessert wine, though not as heavy as a Pedro Ximinez, yet plenty rich with golden-raisin flavors. Great by itself, over ice cream or with cheese."

Boqueria, 53 W. 19th St. (between Fifth and Sixth aves.); 212-255-4160; 171 Spring St. (between Thompson St. and West Broadway.); 212-343-4255 or boquerianyc.com

Suba, 109 Ludlow St. (between. Rivington and Delancey sts.); 212-982-5714 or subanyc.com