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About this Episode

Wine director Alexis Rogers joins Robert Tas to explore and explain the wine list of the Italian restaurant Felice. With nine locations in NYC, this restaurant is proving to be a popular culinary destination and the wine list meets expectations. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Gruner Veltliner by Klaus Lentsch
  • 2015 La Togata Brunello di Montalcino
  • Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja 2016


Transcript: Felice


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 Alexis Rogers, Wine Director, WSET 3, Introductory Sommelier, and French Wine Scholar Candidate. Hello Alexis, it’s great to have you on this episode.

AR: Hi Robert! Great to be here. I’m really excited to be talking about the wine list at Felice! With the exception of the Champagne section, their list is all Italian! Italian wine is notoriously difficult to understand - and pronounce! Wines from here can be labeled by grape, region, the whim of the winemaker or all of the above!

RT:  Well, then I’m glad you’re here to talk us through it!  CorkRules was created to demystify wine lists because we know from experience that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, even more so if it’s hard to pronounce.

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.

Today we are talking about Felice, an expanding group that just opened up its 6th location in Brooklyn Heights. The first Felice was opened in Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 2007 by Jacopo Giustiniani to showcase not only the cuisine of his homeland but the wines as well. So Alexis, what’s your overall impression of the list @ Felice?

AR: As a Wine Director, I love the organization! The list is sorted by white/red/rose/sparkling and then by region within those categories. This gives a guest somewhere to start. As a consumer - and lover of Italian wines, I’m thrilled at the representation of nearly all of Italy’s 20 wine regions, including my personal favorite - Trentino - Alto Adige in Northern Italy. For hundreds of years, this area was under Austria’s control and its influences are still evident today in the language, wines and food.

RT : That’s definitely a lesser-known region! What did you find from there that you would recommend?

AR: Definitely the 2018 Gruner Veltliner by Klaus Lentsch! Gruner Veltliner is Austria’s signature grape but it has been spreading to other cooler Central European regions and is even starting to pop up in the States! It carries notes of bright lemon and lime, white grapefruit, dried sage and basil and a distinctive white pepper note. Fun fact - it’s one of the only wines that can pair with notoriously difficult to pair artichokes so this bottle would be great alongside the Carciofi e Calamari Friti appetizer.

RT: That sounds like a delicious pairing! And it’s a value!

AR : It really is! So much so that you could probably afford to have another bottle for your main course!

RT: So now I’m getting hungry and I’m eyeing that Fettuccine Bolognese. What would you select for our meal?

AR : That rich meaty tomato sauce takes me right to Tuscany and its Sangiovese-based wines. Let’s look at the section labeled “Library Wines by the Glass”. These are going to be selections from higher-end bottles that usually aren't sold by the glass. The 2015 La Togata Brunello di Montalcino is a splurge, but would absolutely be worth it. This is 100% Sangiovese aged 5 years before release. It’s worth the wait too! This full-bodied red gives aromas and flavors of red cherry, fig, leather, chocolate, dried roses and a distinct rustic tomato-leaf note.

RT: Wow! That sounds like a tomato sauce lover’s dream! While we are talking about splurges… say I’m taking a date out for a romantic Italian dinner, which wine should I choose to REALLY impress them?

AR: No discussion of fine Italian wine is complete without talking about Barolo or Barbaresco. Barolo and Barbaresco are neighboring villages in the Piemonte region that both craft some of the country’s finest wines from the illustrious Nebbiolo grape. They are full-bodied and powerful with big tannins and tasting notes of tar and roses, dried cherry, black licorice, red raspberry and - my favorite - clay pot. Barolos tend to be fuller and more concentrated but they need a significant amount of time to age in the bottle to mellow out enough to be enjoyable to drink.

RT: How long?

AR: I like to give them at least 10 years. That’s why in this case, I would select the Produttori del Barbaresco Rabaja 2016. Barbarescos are more approachable in their youth and can be drunk a bit younger - I’d still give ‘em about 5 years or so though. Try this with the Tagliata di Manzo - a 12 oz sirloin steak. The fats will help to mellow out some of those big tannins. This is definitely a splurge but another that would be totally worth it. Just remember to savor every sip!

RT: There is always so much to discover with the wines of Italy!

AR: There really is, with over 355 NATIVE grapes alone and over 900,000 registered vineyards, one could spend a lifetime trying them all.

RT: Doesn't sound like a bad life to me! Alexis, thank you so much for being our guide and helping us navigate the Italian wine list at Felice. I can’t wait to do some food and wine pairing there! 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.





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