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About this Episode

Certified sommelier Michaela Quinlan and Robert Tas visit the renowned steakhouse Alba in Quincy, Massachusetts. Michaela reviews Alba’s wine list with Old and New World favorites in standard, half, and large bottle formats. She offers pairing suggestions and identifies the tasting notes of several bottles on the list, and she points out wines from a winery that has been producing award-winning wines since 1626,  a bold Chilean wine made from the carmenere varietal, in addition to the value wines and wines that should not be missed. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Trimbach Riesling, Alsace, France

  • 2019 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio from Friuli in Italy

  • 2016 Tenuta dell Ornellaia,Tuscany, Italy

Transcript: Alba




Music Intro:

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.


Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.


MQ: Hi Robert!


RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.


Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.


RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.


RT: Today we are talking about Alba Restaurant in Quincy, MA. This classic steakhouse features a welcoming dining room, private event space, a rooftop bar, and live entertainment on the weekend.


Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their wine list?


MQ: Alba’s wine list appeals to all palates with Old and New World favorites in standard, half, and large bottle formats.


RT: That’s really great, as you looked the list did you see anything jump out at you?


MQ: Let’s begin with a classic. Consider the 2020 Trimbach Riesling from Alsace, France.  Trimbach has been producing award-winning wines since 1626. Alsatian Rieslings are often on the dry to off dry end of the sweetness spectrum. This particular Riesling is offered in a half bottle, or 375ml, and is dry with bright acidity, notes of honeysuckle, white flowers, dried apricot, and peach with a mineral finish. A wonderful pairing with spicy dishes and charcuterie.

RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: Another classic producer offering a stellar selection in a half bottle format is the 2017 Muga Reserva from the Rioja in Spain. Bodegas Muga was founded in 1932. This 100% Tempranillo is perfectly aged, which we know from the label ‘Reserva.’ For Spanish wines, this means the wine has aged for a minimum of three years, with at least 12 months in oak. This wine is rich, full bodied, and showcases ripe blackberries, black cherries, with notes of dried lavender, leather, smoke and notes of vanilla and cinnamon from the oak aging. An excellent companion to richly sauced steakhouse classics.

RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

 MQ: Another standout, bold red wine to consider is the 2018 Montes ‘Purple Angel’ Carmenere from the Central Valley of Chile. While Carmenere did originate in Bordeaux, the grape now thrives in Chile. It is robust and features ripe blackberries, cassis, clove, cocoa, and nutmeg, with hints of rose and violets on the smooth, lingering finish. This is a beautiful member of the Montes portfolio and is truly a must try, especially when pairing with rich steakhouse fare.


RT: These are some great calls.

So, you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?

 MQ: We have noted a few classic, bold reds, but if you are looking for something a touch softer, consider the 2018 Penner-Ash Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This Pinot Noir is well balanced with ripe red cherries, cranberries, and dried strawberries, along with notes of mushroom, earth, and tobacco. This crowd-pleasing Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with all proteins and lightly sauced pasta.


RT: Ooh, Terrific.

Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind…  any other great value wines you’d point us to? 

 MQ: If you are considering seafood or lighter fare, don’t miss the 2019 Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio from Friuli in Italy. I love the bright acidity and freshness of Pinot Grigio grown in this area of Northern Italy. This wine features ripe pear, green apple, melon, and citrus, with a touch of honey on the finish. A crisp and refreshing white wine for an excellent price.

RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?

MQ: There are many classics on this list, from producers, to varietals, to regions. Another can’t miss, quality/value wine to consider is the 2018 Luca Old Vine Malbec from the Uco Valley of Argentina. This red beautifully balances fruit and spice. Notes of blackberries, black cherries, plumb, and fig, along with white pepper, clove, and nutmeg on the smooth finish make this wine a winner and wonderful companion to richly sauced pasta, steak, and pork.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

 MQ: If you are looking to take your dining experience to the next level, then you must consider the following classic, the 2016 Tenuta dell ‘Ornellaia’ from Bolgheri, located in Tuscany, Italy. The Ornellaia has been rated 98 points by Decanter and is highly sought-after by wine enthusiasts and collectors. With new ownership and French vines, Ornellaia became the talk of the town in 1981. This stellar vintage consisting of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot, is full bodied with excellent structure. Featuring aromas and flavors of cassis, ripe plumb, black cherries, cedar, and clove, along with ripe, round tannins. This bottle is truly a classic to add to any special occasion.


RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Alba’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself.  

To our audience, thank you all for Joining us here on CorkRules.


If you would like Sam to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available.


We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for and download the CorkRules app for ios. It makes personalized wine recommendations at over 40K restaurants, allows you to connect with friends and has price transparency. Order wine with confidence.


And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.




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