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About this Episode

Samantha Hohl, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas dive into a fabulous wine list at Empire Steak House where they identify the best reds to pair with red meat dishes.

The Empire Steak House is known for serving the finest cuts of meat, a delicious menu of seafood, and of course, the reason we’re here, a premium wine list. Sam points out a few robust reds, and explains what they  pair well with and why. She also reviews wine from a small-batch wine made with sustainable pracitices, and an exceptional bottle for a celebration. 

Wines reviews include:

  • 2015 Kir-Yianni Ramnista
  • Orogeny Russian River Valley Chardonnay
  • 2019 Bedell North Fork Cab Franc
Transcript: Empire Steak House


Empire Steak House

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Samantha Hohl, wine educator and certified sommelier


Hello Sam, great to have you back for another great wine list.


SH: Hello 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 wine lists can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.


Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, 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.

Cork Rules

Empire Steakhouse


Today we’re headed to the Empire Steakhouse Midtown West location. Empire Steakhouse features premium steaks, fresh seafood and an extensive wine list. We know steak and wine have that beautiful synergy, so let’s see where this list might take us.


Tonight’s the night, you’re headed to Empire Steakhouse to satisfy that craving for a juicy steak and a wine that will make it soar. Empire’s wine list has extensive red options so it can be hard to know where to start. Your go-to “steak wine” is most definitely on this menu, like their extensive Cab Sav section. But this list offers a lot of beautiful red wines and there could be something else to explore.

For instance, the 2015 Kir-Yianni Ramnista stood out to me. Yup, we’re going Greek. This wine comes from the Macedonia region and is made from 100% Xinomavro grapes. Xinomavro wines are often compared to  Borolos, so if you’re a fan of those, this might be a fun way to branch out. It will have notes of red fruit, cherry, raspberry and subtle smoke essence. It’s got some great tannins to it as well, which we love with a juicy steak. Try this out with the bone-in ribeye steak or the double-cut rack of lamb.

RT: What about white?

For you white wine lovers- you aren’t left out! Empire has some great white options as well. I would go with the Orogeny Russian River Valley Chardonnay. The warm days and cool, foggy nights in Russian River Valley make for really beautiful fruit expression in this wine. It’s going to have notes of tropical fruit and peach, accompanied by some wonderful acidity because of the climate the grapes are grown in. This would be delicious with the lobster tail or the Chilean sea bass, or even with your filet mignon if that’s how you roll!


Alright, let’s move on to a bottle that will be affordable with no sacrifice to flavor. The 2019 Bedell North Fork Cab Franc would be a great direction to go. Bedell is a family-owned winery on Long Island and uses sustainable practices to make small-batch wines. This Cabernet Franc is going to have notes of both red fruit and dark fruit along with some peppery earthy flavors. Long Island’s cooler climate helps the Cab Franc maintain really nice acidity and it won’t be as heavy on tannins. This wine is going to be good with steaks that are a little less fatty, like the Japanese Wagyu tenderloin.


This list has a great range for celebratory bottles as well. You can really go all out and find something exceptional. The 2010 Chateau L'Evangile would definitely be one of those bottles. Chateau L'Evangile is owned by the Domaines Barons de Rothschild, the world-famous winemakers, so you know this is going to be special. This is a Bordeaux blend of merlot and cab franc from Pomerol. It will be rich, full-bodied and have wonderful layers of jammy dark fruits, with delicate floral notes in the background. It’s also going to have some tobacco and leather notes to it from the aging. This beauty could definitely stand up to the porterhouse steak on the menu.

Sam, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Empire Steakhouse’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try your great suggestions.   

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 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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