The wine list at L’Espalier is known throughout Boston for both its depth and breadth. Wine Director, Erik Johnson works to maintain this reputation by continually searching the globe for new treasures to add to the list. He makes annual trips to France to search for small producers and “as yet undiscovered” wineries. Johnson’s undying passion for all wines great and small, obvious and obscure, assures a wine selection that perfectly compliments Chef McClelland’s cuisine and enhances the dining experience at L’Espalier.
Johnson brings a passion and a humble simplicity to the daunting subject of wine. His desire to expose guests to all levels of wine has led him to develop a wine program for L’Espalier that aims to demystify the wine selection process. He has created a system of instruction and examination for the wait staff that is supplemented by his own weekly teachings as well as visiting industry experts. The significant time Johnson has spent on staff education has established L’Espalier as one of the most wine savvy dining rooms in Boston.
In the spring of 2002, Johnson and Chef McClelland initiated the popular and educational Wine Mondays at L’Espalier, and Wine Wednesdays at Sel de la Terre. The first of its kind in Boston, L’Espalier’s Wine Mondays are enjoyed by experienced wine lovers and newcomers alike.
Erik Johnson was born in Wisconsin, where he lived until moving to Boston with nothing but the corkscrew on his back. Throughout his 18 years in the restaurant industry, he has acquired a range of skills including the ability to move cases of wine in a tuxedo and remain wrinkle free. Johnson joined L’Espalier in 1997. He lives in Metrowest with his wife and furry four-legged son.