Author Archive for Sommelier Rafael Sanchez

Rafael was born and raised in South Pasadena. The youngest of 5 children, wine was the last thing on his mind until he worked at The Raymond Restaurant in Pasadena. Here, under the guidance of the Sommelier at the time Steve Krikul, Rafael discovered a passion for the fine dining experience, food, and wine. Newly inspired, he began to seek out everything Champagne had to offer. This led him to Wine Expo, which is a retail shop with one of the largest selections of Champagnes outside of France, and then its sister store 55° Wine. Rafael's never ending thirst for Champagne ultimately led him to POP and was part of the opening staff. A year and a half after POP opened it's doors, he was drawn away to work for well known wine critic James Suckling formerly of Wine Spectator. Rafael worked closely with him to launch his new endeavor (JamesSuckling.com), and in March 2011, returned to POP as full time Sommelier. Rafael believes that the Champagnes made by independent growers are the ones that represent 'le Champagne' the best. Some of his favorite Champagnes are 2006 Cedric Bouchard 'Le Inflorescence', 1978 Drappier 'Carte d'Or', 2004 Cristal Rose, Laherte Freres 'Le Clos', Bereche et Fils 'Tradition', just to name a few. Rafael is happy to be back at POP, and eager to continue bringing some of the finest Champagnes to his hometown.

Schramsberg Rosé Sparkling Wine
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Drinking Champagne Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Drinking Champagne doesn’t have to be expensive. There is absolutely nothing wrong with some Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Alsace or even some domestic bubblies, and they are all under $20.