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About this Episode

Certified sommelier Alexis Rogers joins host Robert Tas as they navigate the wine list at Frank’s, a wholly Italian restaurant with a wine list that boasts some of the more unique Italian varietals and producers. Alexis offers insight into the history of the regions, varietals (some dating back to the 11th century) and producers while providing pairing suggestions designed to enhance the dining experience.

Wines reviewed include:

  • Soave Classico
  • Dolcetto
  • Hilberg Barbera d’Alba Superiore
Transcript: Frank's


RT: Hello and Welcome to Corkrules!

 I’m your host Robert Tas along with Alexis Rogers, Wine Educator and  Restaurant Sommelier

Hi Alexis, thanks for being back with us on another episode of CorkRules, - a podcast where we help simplify and demystify the wine lists at some of your favorite restaurants. We talk with certified sommeliers and wine professionals who point out interesting bottles, classic food and wine pairings, hidden gems,  value wines, or splurge wines that will take your dining experience over the top.

AR: Thanks for having me back! I’m excited to talk some more Italian wine today!

RT:  That’s right, Italian it is because today we are discussing Frank, a quaint cash-only East Village eatery serving homestyle Italian dishes with outdoor seating and daily specials. It has been considered an essential East Village restaurant since it opened its doors in 1998. Frank has an all-Italian wine list to perfectly complement their perfectly comfortable Italian fare. So, Let’s dive in! Alexis, give us your impression of the wine list at Frank.

AR: Well, they say “what grows together, goes together” and I think that’s especially true throughout the country of Italy. Wine is an everyday meal accompaniment there, not just for special occasions or on the weekend and the wines of each region have evolved to be consumed with the local cuisine. Something interesting I found with the wine program at Frank is that they have a section of their list that is “By Consumption” Usually, our options are “glass” or “bottle” but sometimes you want to enjoy a wine at your own pace for exactly as long as the meal lasts - no less and no more. With these selections, Frank will open a bottle for you and you let THEM know when you’re finished. The bottle will be measured and you’ll be charged for exactly as much wine as you’ve consumed.

RT : What a fresh concept! I really like that! And speaking of fresh, I’ve seen reviewers and food critics across the board praising  Frank’s Rigatoni al Ragu. It’s a must try! What would you pair with this dish?

AR: This classic, everyday meal demands a classic everyday wine. My pick is the Hillberg Barbera d’Alba Superiore. Wines made from the Barbera grape are consumed casually and frequently by the Piedmontese as they are more accessible and approachable than wines from the other famous regional grape, Nebbiolo. These wines are bright and fresh with notes of red cherry and raspberry, dried leaves, nutmeg and purple flowers. The lower tannins and high acidity make it a perfect match for the high-acidity tomato sauce central to this dish.

RT: Yum! That sounds delicious! Tomatoes are the real heavy lifter in Italian cuisine, that and garlic! I’ve heard the Spaghetti with Garlic here is a real garlic-lovers dream! What are we going to pair with something with such an intense flavor profile?

AR:I think this dish calls for a zesty white wine to cleanse that garlic-coated palate in between bites. A glass of Soave Classico will do the trick! Soave is a subregion that has been making wines from the important Italian white grape Garganega since Roman times. The term Classico in Italian wine law indicates that all of the grapes used come from the original growing zone. Soave bottlings can vary widely in quality so producer here really is key. The Nardello family has been growing grapes in Soave since the 1500s and hold some of the most enviable cru plots of land in the region. They are producing intensely concentrated and intensely aromatic wines from this grape. They have definitely learned a thing or two in 500+ years…

RT: That kind of history  is really impressive. The wines of this country really express a sense of place and tradition.

AR: Totally! That’s one of the coolest things about Old World Wine to me, you can find places where families, regions and even grapes have existed for nearly a millennium! For example, this next grape is thought to have been brought to Piemonte in the 11th century! It’s called Dolcetto and it translates to “little sweet one” but these wines are nearly always dry. This is the other, other Piedmontese red. Wines from this grape are marked by their low acidity, high tannins, and their intensely perfumed bouquet. They are rich and concentrated and mean to be drunk young and fresh within 3-5 years of their vintage. They are bursting with black fruit flavors like black plum and blackberry with notes of cocoa powder and black pepper and have a characteristic bitter almond finish. Pair this bottle from producer San Guiliano with the Crostino Toscano - liver pate on Tuscan toast.

RT: Always something more to discover with Italian wine! Alexis, thanks so much for being our Italian wine tour guide again. I’ll have to try and get in on the off hours at Frank to try some of these pairings with a little elbow room. 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 wherever you get your podcasts.

And finally, drink what you love and please make

sure you drink responsibly.




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