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Best Sommeliers Award 2024

Vanya Filipovic & Alex Landry

For lovers of fine wine, there’s nothing like those electric currents of anticipation that tingle in the presence of truly outstanding wine service. It’s the personal connection, to be sure, that forms between sommelier and diner — a brief tryst, a few hours of intense pleasure, setting the senses (well, most of them) on fire.

That’s what it’s like dining at Mon Lapin and giving yourself over to the capable hands of sommeliers and co-owners Vanya Filipovic and Alex Landry. This high-octane duo came together at the inception of Joe Beef offshoot Le Vin Papillon, in 2013. Over the six years since Mon Lapin opened, they have established a dynamic and progressive wine program that is uniquely and intensely personal

“We are rigorous about only carrying wines from people we know or have visited, having had some kind of direct exchange with them,” says Filipovic. Her boutique agency, Vins Dame-Jeanne, imports mostly artisanal bottlings, many exclusive to Mon Lapin, while more than 30 importers contribute to Mon Lapin’s list, which currently runs to about 140 labels. Landry is drawn to more textural wines, while Filipovic tends toward elements of crispness and acidic austerity. He is currently on a deep dive into the world of sherry, while she is starry-eyed about grower Champagnes and the oxidative styles of Jura and beyond. Wines from Quebec feature, too.

We are rigorous about only carrying wines from people we know or have visited, having had some kind of direct exchange with them. Sommelier Vanya Filipovic

“It’s a fun moment for Quebec wine, and we are really excited to be there to support all these budding projects,” says Filipovic. “To be able to open these bottles and share them, explain what’s being grown here, how they are farming, how they are thinking of vinification — that’s why we have so much wine from our province on the list.”

Pairing decisions are made on the fly every night, reflecting the seasonal proclivities of the ever-changing menu. But anything in the cellar is fair game and might be opened on a whim to join the roughly 15 by-the-glass options on any given evening. The surest thing about wine service at Mon Lapin is that the diner will learn something new and, perhaps, fall in love. Which is why Filipovic and Landry are our choice for sommelier team of the year.

–Dick Snyder

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