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About this Episode

In this special episode, Robert Tas reviews the wine list of Essential by Christophe with their very own beverage director and sommelier, Andrea Morris. This newly-opened restaurant located on the Upper West Side of New York City has already won many accolades. It is a French restaurant, but rather than imitate the French Brasserie of bygone days, the decor is similar to modern restaurants in Paris, and the tone of casual hospitality renders this fine dining establishment elegant and laid back. Andrea explains how she selects wine for the wine program and why she chooses certain bottles on the list. She points out a few special bottles at spectacular prices in addition to those great finds from lesser-known producers.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Joseph Drouhin, Montagny, Burgundy, France

  • 2017 Camp Atthalin SLB Dessus les Vermots 

  • 2017 Burklin Wolf Wachenheim Riesling


Transcript: Essential by Christophe

Essential by Christophe

RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

Excited to announce our CorkRules app is now available for download, it has 40K of your favorite restaurants where you can get personalized recommendations, price transparency, and connect with your friends. It’s a place to discover and order wine with confidence.

Welcome to today’s podcast where we review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Andrea, Beverage Director from newly opened Essential by Christophe located on UWS of NYC.

Hello Andrea, it’s great to have you join us here on CorkRules.

AM: Hi Robert! Excited to be here.

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 today we are talking about on the hottest new restaurants in NY: Essential by Christophe

Christophe Bellanca, the French chef who rose to prominence in New York at Le Cirque and L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, is creating his own modern French dining experience.

I have to say, I had the pleasure of dining there last week and it was off the charts. From food to wine to service.

So, Andre let’s start by getting to know you a little and how you got involved with Christophe?

AM: Tell me about your background, journey to Essential and special experiences. Talk about your wine journey with Court of Masters Sommeliers.

RT: Wow impressive. Let’s talk about Christophe and the restaurant?

AM: talk about the food, vision for the experience.

RT: Alright, let’s jump and talk about your impressive wine list.

CC: Give an overview of the list, and highlight some key areas.

-French-focused but global

-My goal is to make it feel like a list that has been around for years

-a mix of classics and quirks

 RT: Let’s talk about BTG program, I always think this is a great way for folks to try cool stuff.

AM: Overview, then give 2-3 options be specific.

-The btg program mirrors the rest of list- French leaning, a mix of classics and new discoveries

-Every selection is made with the food in mind

-We always have a great Champagne and a great white burg btg

-Burklin Wolf Wachenheim R Riesling 2017

-Champ de l’Orphee Braucol super fun Sud-Ouest red

RT: Cool. Your list has a lot to offer, what are some the unique offerings that I might not see on other lists. Anything that folks might not know to try?


-Aligote w age- Denis Bachelet 2012, Naudin 2017. Extra important now that white burg is so expensive

-Wide variety of dry Chenin

-Spanish and Portuguese whites, textured, really seafood friendly

-Aged French reds at affordable prices. Look really hard for great values, lesser-known quality producers.

RT: What about some hidden gems for value hunters.

AM: 2-3 options

-Santei Zelen from Slovenia $55

-Camp Atthalin SLB Dessus les Vermots 2017 $65

-Pas de l’Escalette Les Clapas Languedoc $65


RT: Alright, I’m gonna throw you an easy question, Essential is a special place that would be perfect to celebrate something what are your recommendations for my big night out?


AM: Give 2-3 options, be specific.

-Hubert Lamy Macherelles 2012 $500

-Trimbach CFE 2010 $350

-Dujac Charmes-Chambertin 2002 $2000

RT: Andrea, thank you so much for joining us here on CorkRules talking about the fabulous list at Essential by Christophe a must-try. 

AM: …


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.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please download the CorkRules app that has over 40K restaurants that provides personalized recommendations, provides price transparency, and allows you to connect you’re your friends—order with confidence.

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

Thank you.








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