The Somm Set by Benchmark Wine Group

Philippe Andre

Welcome to our newest series, The Somm Set. Each month we’ll be sitting down with a guest sommelier and uncovering their guilty pleasures, cellar staples, and everything in between! Follow as they hand-select their favorites from our warehouse, giving you the inside scoop on cellar must-haves!

This month on The Somm Set, we’re excited to feature Philippe André, Sommelier. Join us as we explore everything from his passion for wine, favorite wine and food pairing, and his newest endeavors.

Love For Champagne
Read Our Interview with Philippe André
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This week from Philippe André:

Oregon is the greatest wine region in the US, fight me!

My love for Oregon and its beautiful wines of place grew at a pivotal time in my life, and it transformed my professional career. In 2013 I started my tenth year as a floor somm and wondered what I wanted to accomplish next. Running a wine program out in the burbs, I was always super jealous of the “top” wine buyers in Chicago getting invited to wine trips, and then it came in the mail. An envelope on my desk read “OPC CAMPER REGISTRATION 2013!” OPC or Oregon Pinot Camp is just as it sounds: Oregon, a dozen yellow school busses, and 250 wine professionals on a 48 hour non-stop crash course of the Willamette Valley… what could go wrong?! It’s arguably the most creative educational wine event ever, simply brilliant! The OPC invitation is a literal “Golden Ticket” in the pro wine world as it is highly selective. The 50 or so participating wineries annually debate and select campers by committee ala NFL Draft. Seeing my name on the invitation meant I absolutely had to go and represent my city and my family! While at camp, I met some of the most genuine wine pros and producers, many of whom I still stay in touch with. On the night of the Salmon Bake, my Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup... proper celebrations ensued with big bottles, and all the Somms from Boston instantly hated me- it was pure magic. To cap it off, I landed a winemaking apprenticeship for harvest that year, and my dream of exploring wine production became a reality!

Oregon’s sleeping giant: Chardonnay
We all met Oregon through our dear friend Pinot Noir, but you put a ring on it when you taste the Chardonnay! Time and again, I am consistently impressed by the Chardonnay produced in Oregon, and you owe it to yourself to check these out.

OK bro, but where’s the Pinot and who is Pork Chop?
Oregon’s Pinot Noir is unique and very much its own representation. Every time I visit, I have a laundry list of to-do’s: late-night tiki bar karaoke, West Coast oysters, Vietnamese chicken wings with bubbles, and the famous PDX airport carpet picture but always at the very top of that list is to taste old bottles. These most honest “time capsules” validate the quality of not only the region but the producers themselves. On one trip to the valley, I found the wines from Beaux Frères to have incredible longevity. While visiting the property and tasting with the team in 2016, I was encouraged to meet Pork Chop, the winery’s 200lb award-winning heritage breed pig! She was charming and invited me to pull out something special from the library- a true legend of the valley.

So what happened in 2013?
2013 was an absolutely hellish and humbling year for many wine regions around the world, and Oregon for sure was one of them- I got my ass kicked during harvest multiple times, and it was 1000% amazing! We all know that with great struggle in anything, there can be great results. Like Andy Dufrene’s love for time and pressure, these 13’s are a bit of Redemption!

Check out all the wines mentioned below!


Benchmark Wine Group

445 Devlin Road
Napa, CA 94558

Phone: 707.255.3500
Fax: 707.255.3503
SMS: 707.200.4049


Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm
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