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About this Episode

Wine education and certified sommelier, Grant Wood joins Robert Tas to review the wine list at Gage & Tollner, a Brooklyn oyster and chop house that’s been around for more than a century. Grant identifies a racy white from Spain, a spectacular chardonnay from California, and a value sparkling made in the same fashion as champagne.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2020 Getariako Txakolina by Txampian
  • Crémant du Jura BBF by Stéphane Tissot
  • 2017 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Transcript: Gage & Tollner


Gage & Tollner

Hey Robert, glad to be back on and chat about another fabulous list.

To start with this list, I think it is important to point out that on one hand, this truly is a great list but on the other, this is one of the more daunting lists that we’ve seen for your average guest looking to dine out. So, I think this is a great opportunity to really help the traditional guest navigate a list that is as compelling as this one.

When coming to a restaurant as compelling and unique as this, it’s important for the guest to be armed with questions that help their server or sommelier to better help give them the best road map to finding the right bottles to match what they want to get from their dining experience. On this note, keep in mind that a place that has this type of list also has the staff that is passionate to speak confidently about the selections that they have put on their list.

So right away I noticed a lot of classics on their menu from cocktails to appetizers, to sides, and to the main events and desserts. So, for me, I feel you’re safe regarding pre-dinner drinks that suit your fancy. Be it a classic cocktail, a glass of refreshing white, you can really run the gamete of pre-game themes to kick off your evening.

In regards to the wine list, my eyes on their by-the-glass offerings were immediately drawn to the 2020 Getariako Txakolina by Txampian which is a racy, slightly spritzy white from northern Spain that I could drink straight from the bottle or in the classic Galician tradition to drink from a porró which is one of my favorite party tricks at home. Otherwise, I have to shout out to Raj Parr’s project in Santa Barbara, Sandhi. This is an incredible new-world chardonnay that delivers so much pleasure and drinkability that will change anyone’s preconceived notion that Cali chard is another butter-bomb.

For bubbles I would gravitate towards the Champagne Heri-Hodie, Roger Coulon 1er cru, NV extra brut as it is a superb “grower” Champagne with class and elegance. Or, for a bit better value, consider the Crémant du Jura BBF by Stéphane Tissot which is made in the same fashion as champagne but from the alpine region east of Burgundy.

Moving on to reds, you have some amazing choices at really great values as well. This is a place to really explore your palate at prices that don’t make you seek out side-hustles to afford them. The 2017 Palette by Château Simone is a revelation. The 2020 Vieilles Vignes (old vines) Beaujolais-Villages by Jean-Claude-Lapalu is a stellar value and so food friendly. If you really want to ball out on an amazing wine from California, then you must go with the 2017 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Easily one of one of my favorite producers of Cabernet in my hometown of Napa Valley. Randy Dunn’s son, Mike, has since taken over and he is an absolute hoot to taste with.

Overall, I would consider this as an “insiders” wine list that really speaks to the wine-lover in me. My best advice? Let your server or sommelier take you on a journey that excites them in the moment and let your wild side take the wheel as this is an engaging list that invites you to relieve yourself from the shackles of the mundane or otherwise “safe” way of life.

I hope that this is a helpful guide to drinking better and having a more interesting conversation at the table. As always, cheers to you, and cheers to those you love!




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