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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore a fabulous selection of Italian wines at Carisma. Known as one of Toronto’s best Italian restaurants, Carisma offers an extensive wines by-the-glass list. The list focuses on Italian wines from various regions but also offers favorites from the New World. If you are looking for a beautiful wine to enjoy as an aperitif or to pair with shellfish and fried seafood, or if you are a fan of bold, savory reds, Michaela has identified a fine selection of wines to pair well with the delicious Italian dishes on the menu. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Feudi di San Gregorio,  Fiano Di Avellino, Campania

  • 2011 Tenuta Cavelier Pepe Opera, Taurasi

  • 2013 Lungarotti Rubesco Riserva, Vigna Monticchio, Umbria 

Transcript: Carisma


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 list’s 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 Carisma. Carisma offers authentic Italian cuisine located in the heart of Toronto. Their new location, is able to accommodate a larger dining area, two private dining rooms, and separate bar area.

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

MQ: I love a wine list that features an extensive wines by-the-glass list and half bottle selections, as well as full bottle selections. Carisma’s wine list is, of course, Italian dominant, along with some New World favorites. Today we will focus on a series of unique Italian varietals.

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

MQ: Let’s begin with a highly rated, organic white wine. Consider the 2020 Ceretto Arneis Blange from the Piedmont of Italy. This fresh, medium bodied white wine showcases aromas of white flowers, citrus, green apple, and pear with bright acidity and a mineral finish. The extra body of this wine makes it a perfect pairing for lightly sauced seafood and dense fish such as tuna and salmon.

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

MQ: A full-bodied red to consider would be the 2011 Tenuta Cavelier Pepe Opera from Taurasi in Campania, Italy. The grape is Aglianico which features aromas and flavors of ripe plumb, fig, ripe black cherries, with notes of white pepper and tobacco on the finish. This is the bold red wine to explore when pairing with richly sauced pasta.

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

MQ: A must try is the 2019 Feudi di San Gregorio,  Fiano Di Avellino in Campania. This dry, medium-bodied white wine consisting of the Fiano grape is fragrant and fresh with aromas of lemon zest, tangerine, honeysuckle, and a mineral finish. Fiano makes an excellent companion to shellfish and lightly sauced pasta.  

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: Let’s head to Umbria for a beautiful bottle for the table. Consider the 2013 Lungarotti Rubesco Riserva, Vigna Monticchio. This rich, Sangiovese features ripe black cherries and blackberries, notes of sage, earth, and cocoa, with smooth tannins. Consider this to pair with richly sauced proteins and 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: A favorite Italian white grape of excellent quality and value is Garganega. Consider the 2019 Tedeschi Capital Tenda Soave Classico in the Veneto. This is a beautiful wine to enjoy as an aperitif or to pair with shellfish and fried seafood. The bright acidity with notes of lime zest, ripe peach and a mineral finish make this white a crowd pleaser.


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


MQ: For fans of bold, savory reds, consider the 2016 Vigneti del Salento “I Muri” Primitivo from Puglia. The primitivo grape from Southern Italy is similar in style to Zinfandel, with ripe black cherries, black berries, plumb, fig, and notes of vanilla on the finish. This is an excellent pairing with savory dishes and olives, all for an excellent price.

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

MQ: What better way to celebrate with classic Italian cuisine, than with a classic, Italian wine.  Consider the 2013 Ornellaia from Bolgheri Superiore in Tuscany. Ornellaia is known as one of Italy’s top Bordeaux style wines. First produced in 1985, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot is rich, bold, and showcases aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries, and cassis, notes of lavender, smoke, and leather with a mineral finish due to the varied soil composition of the region. Enjoy this classic with all richly sauced dishes and special events.

RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Carisma’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 us 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 and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 

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

Thank you.








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