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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore the wine list at Babbo Ristorante Enoteca, a restaurant aclaimed as an exuberant celebration of the best of italian food, wine, and lifestyle. The menu incorporates the best and freshest seasonal produce, Italian cheeses, meat, game, and seafood. And to pair with the delicious dishes, a wine list that represents one of the most extensive and intelligent collections in the city.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Tiberio

  • 2018 Cesanese del Piglio Riserva, Lepanto Alberto Giacobbe 

  • 2015 Le Due Terre Sacrisassi, Friuli

Transcript: Babbo Ristorante Enoteca

BABBO Ristorante Enoteca NYC


Robert Tas (RT):

Babbo Ristorante Entoca

Hello and welcome back to CorkRules! The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your favorite restaurant wine lists so you can learn to order wine with confidence.

I’m Robert Tas, along with Maria Valetta, certified sommelier, also known as Maria The Wine Blonde. Welcome back Maria

MV: Hola Robert!

So what are we talking

Today we are talking about Babbo Ristorante Enoteca in Greenwich Village NY.

A mainstay of the NY restaurant scene since 1998, this classy, white table-clothed Italian gem known for its rock -and roll soundtrack and lively bar scene has been a favorite among celebrities and New York City A-Listers ever since its first glowing review in the NY times. Babbo’s philosophy is simple, “emulate the best of the great Italian tradition of hospitality and quality at the table and in the glass” This translates to the freshest local ingredients intertwined with Italy’s most famous and coveted principal elements plus an extensive wine list highlighting mature vintages expertly curated by Joe Bastianich, all served with a side of familial hospitality.

RT: So, Maria, I know you love this restaurant, what do you think of their wine list?

MV: I have to applaud Babbo’s sommelier they must be great at making decisions because If I worked at Babbo I would have a heck of a time making the selection if my customer left it completely up to me to choose the wine, only because there are so many incredible wines. I imagine it is difficult to select a favorite. it's like asking a mom to pick her favorite kid! - I seriously want to open every single bottle on this list! But they have done an amazing job at creating a list that showcases the very great producers of Italy and the many great grapes of Italy; Italy is home to more indigenous grapes than any other country in the world, with over 500 varieties officially identified.

RT: That sure is incredible. So where should we start?

MV: Well I like that the by-the-glass list is actually by the Quartino meaning by the ¼ litre which is basically an 8 oz pour so you are getting more than a glass and a half here. Now the prices do correlate but remember you are getting more wine.

RT: Right makes sense, so can you select us 2 to start with?

MV: Hard decision here again- but I think I would choose the Trebbiano d’Abruzzo Tiberio 2020 carefully harvested and created from over 60-year-old vines, this Trebbiano is going to be fresh, zippy, with a touch of orange blossom and I think it would be lovely with the fish Crudo which is a raw preparation similar to sashimi.

Now If I was ordering the seared wagyu beef carpaccio, I would opt for the Cesanese del Piglio Riserva Lepanto Alberto Giacobbe 2018 from Lazio (Lazio is where Rome is located) mostly for the fact that I would want to try the Cesanese grape variety. It’s apparently very hard to grow, so you don’t see it often.  It should have a brambly fruit character, velvety tannins and they say a hint of pimento – I’d have to try it.

RT: What about on to the bottles?

MV: You could go 1000 different directions with this list. If you are entertaining a group at Babbo I feel you would HAVE to have this list ahead of time to look over– otherwise, by the time you got through all the pages, the meal would be over LOL

RT: what are you thinking would be most helpful for our listeners Maria?

MV: I’m thinking what would probably be most helpful with this list is If I pointed out a couple of really fantastic wines but not the priciest… not the most well-known, but … some standouts, and some real value wines, some from interesting areas and grapes. And also, really hone in on food pairings.

RT: I think that’s a fantastic idea Maria because pointing out wines from all the famous high-end producers that are priced in the $1000s can be unattainable for most of us- I think people drinking those wines know exactly what they want to order and are willing to pay whatever it costs to have access them so I like you or plan So where will you start us, Maria.

MV: I’m going to start with an interesting white grape from the Friuli region in NW Italy (bordering Slovenia) Ribolla Gialla. Everyone I have had taste this wine, has loved it and I THINK OUR listeners will too. the  Le Due Terre Sacrisassi 2015 a blend of  2 grapes, FRIULANO, and RIBOLLA GIALLA $125

Medium-bodied, with creamy notes of Baked Pear and orange citrus.

Now If you feel that is a little bit expensive for a white, cross over to Slovenia and  the organic Stekar Filip 2015 100% RIBOLLA GIALLA  $85 (well under $100)

I think you will really appreciate this grape if you pair it with food.

Both are excellent options paired with the grilled octopus or little neck clams.

RT: Can you point us towards a red that you think is fun and different we just cannot miss out on?

MV: For a must-try red I would select the Bastianich Calabrone 2015 $155 Incredible balance, juicy blackberries, simmered ripe cherries,  stuffed inside cigar box wood with shavings of expresso beans is how I can best describe this wine.  The dense tannins interweave with the plushness of the fruit in the fine finish. Refosco and Schioppettino 2 of my favorite NE Italian native grapes. Yes, please go try this wine and thank me later. You get a lot of wine for the money here.

RT: How about a super value under $100?

MV: Insane bargain from Irpinia (*ear PIÑ ia)  from the Campania region The Salvatore Molettieri Cinque Querce 2007 AGLIANICO $75 Aglianico can be a little chewy and tannic in its youth but with some age on it blossoms nicely and I would pair this with Tagliatelle with oxtail ragu.


RT: yum! Now All those grapes sound fun to me but not everyone is up for experimenting, have you come across that sometimes...?

MV: I have but, I do think when you actually find a list like this that has all of these incredible wines made from indigenous grapes, it only makes sense to get out of your comfort zone and try something new! 

RT: I do agree with that, but perhaps you can also recommend some great classic wines, grapes, or regions that are worth a little extra money here, but not crazy expensive?

MV: Sure, Classic is always a good bet, and

I have a great tip for my Barolo and Barbaresco lovers, if you love the Nebbiolo grape but don’t love the price points of Barolo or Barbaresco, then you should look on the list for the Lange DOC where you can find some lovely Nebbiolo wines for a fraction of the price at fraction of the price. Sure, the vines here are younger and the wine minimum aging requirement is far less and the wine might not be as complex but what you do get is a fantastic wine that’s more drinkable in its youth and more accessible cost-wise. A great trade-off. Try the Giuseppe Mascarello 2017 NEBBIOLO $125 an excellent producer and ¼ of the price compared to his Barolos! Bingo! a perfect pairing with the Tajarin With grana Padano and black truffle



RT: And if we want to step up to a Barolo but not blow a hole in our wallet?


Sure, Let me point you towards the 99437 Oddero 2007 $295 Brunate Barolo (Maria Christina Oddero who manages the family estate is most well-regarded when it comes to the women of Barolo.) She has a master’s degree in viticulture and oenology! Amazing! I like supporting women in the industry.

RT: And let’s talk about another classic, Brunello, we know you love Brunello Maria, what do you like on this list?

MV: I like them all … But a standout for the price point is the Uccelliera 2014 Brunello $245 Andrea, the winemaker is all about the vineyard, and it shows in his beautiful wines. I have a signed bottle by him that I’m saving for a very special occasion. The 2014 is approachable right now, it’s showing more delicate but elegant roses, tart cherry, and leather, I would have it alongside the 100-layer lasagna!

RT: Good Call! Can I ask you to pair a special wine with my favorite dish, The Short Ribs “Brasato” With creamy truffle polenta and horseradish gremolata

MV: With the truffles, I am going back to Barolo, Splurge on the Villero Vietti Riserva 04 super collectible. Vietti is known as one of the first producers to get into the single vineyard game in Barolo and the Villero is only made in exceptional vintages. Worth it!

RT: Thank you, Maria, This was fun! You can find Maria on Instagram @Mariethewineblonde

Thank you, everyone, we hope you enjoyed finding some excellent wines on Babbo’s list with us here on CorkRules.... Remember the only rule in wine is “drink what you LOVE”.

MV: Have a favorite wine List? Let us review it here. Send us your requests at info@CorkRules.com You can find previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform and on

CorkRules.com be sure to subscribe and like. And check out @CorkRules on Instagram for episode updates and upcoming giveaways. Must be 21 and older, please drink responsibly.
















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