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About this Episode

Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore the wine list at the farm-to-table restaurant Chez Panisse. Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse fifty years ago as a place where friends and neighbors could gather together around the table, eat good food, and exchange ideas about politics, art, and culture, and, the reason we are here, enjoy exceptional wines. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Ramble Chenin Blanc, Buddha’s Dharma Vineyard, California

  • 2021 Dom de Terrebrune, France

  • 2014 Sky Zinfandel from Mt Veeder, Napa Valley


Transcript: Chez Panisse

Chez Paniz

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 Grant Wood, wine educator and certified sommelier.

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

GW: 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.

Chez Panisse

A Bay Area institution for years now by Alice Waters who revolutionized farm-to-table cooking and has been loved by so many since it opened in 1971. This place doesn’t really need much further explanation, but I’m excited to talk about their wine list which has always championed old-world classics that sit at the forefront of sustainability and intention. So, let’s dive in and see what excites us!

Starting with bubbly, I love the 2021 sparkling pear cider Pioré Garnite by Eric Bordelet in Normandy. It’s my favorite cider made from 300+ year-old pear trees and not something you typically see on your average wine list so it’s worth a try. Another fun and easy sparkler is the Dom de Sulauze Pet-Nat ‘Super Modeste’ from Provence which is almost like an ‘’in between’’ category for sparkling wine but is always great value. A nice splurge would be the 2018 Marie-Courtin ‘Resonance’ Champagne from the Cote des Bars in the south which is a bit warmer and fuller for Champagne but quite lovely none the less.

Moving on to whites, if you want to stay domestic, I like the 2020 Ramble Chenin Blanc from the Buddha’s Dharma vineyard in Mendo which is a vineyard that I love and always produces racy, textural, and aromatically distinct wines with great acid and works well with food. If you’re looking for some Italian whites, I would try the 2019 Vino de Fognano by Paolo Foppiani in Emilia Romagna which is an orange wine of Malvasia and Ortrugo fermented on the skins to give color and texture. It’s a neat wine to take you outside of the box and pair vegetables. If you want something a bit more classic, then I always love Albert Boxler’s Edelzwicker reserve from Alsace in France. It’s a blend of varieties in Alsace that includes Riesling, Sylvaner, Pinot gris, etc. It’s fresh and vibrant and priced well less than $60.


If you’re in a rose kind of mood, which I think we all are, then try the 2021 Dom de Terrebrune which is one of my favorite producers in Bandol for both rose and their reds. One thing about Chez Panisse that stands out is that they’ve always been champions of Bandol which is a tiny region in Provence on the Mediterranean coast which produces some of the best wines in the entire part of southern France. Kermit Lynch is largely to thank for importing a lot of these wines, among others, in the 70’s and was a big fan of Chez Panisse as well.

Moving on to reds, right away I noticed the 2014 Sky Zinfandel from Mt Veeder. Sky vineyards is one of the last of a dying breed in Napa Valley. Nowhere else in Napa will you find a small grower producer like them as they truly are a family and friends’ kind of vineyard when it comes to growing, harvesting, and making wine the way that they do. They bottle when they feel like it and release wines when they feel like it, but the resulting wines are beautiful.

If you’re looking to the wines of France, then I can’t resist mentioning Domaine Tempier which has been a staple at Chez Penise and is always savory, herbal, but doesn’t lack ripe red fruit and acid to back it all up and match with game or any cut of steak. Another great option on their list is the 2019 Dom JL Chave Selections Saint-Joseph Syrah from the northern Rhone. This bottling by Chave is lighter and more approachable both in style and price but still has that beautiful black pepper, olive and violets that I love in Syrah. If you want something with a bit more age like I know you do, Robert, then I would look no further then one of the best classics out there. The 2009 Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia reserve from Rioja is beautiful, woody, earthy, with a bit of spice and is aged for a long time before it’s released.

This is a great restaurant with a list of classics that never die while still having fun and finding new and exciting wines that are all meant to be an extension of the table rather than steal the show.


RT: Grant Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Chez Panisse’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 Grant 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 all our episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists and of course please download the CorkRules app to help you navigate all your favorite restaurants.

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

Thank you.






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