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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, certified sommelier and wine educator, and Robert Tas visit Giada’s Restaurant. Maria spots a few fabulous finds, offers pairing suggestions, and dives deep into the tasting notes and mouthfeel to help you find a wine you’ll love. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2018 Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, Sonoma, California 

  • 2013 Three Sticks, The James, Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills

  • 2017 Herman Story, Nuts and Bolts, Paso Robles

Transcript: Giada’s Restaurant

Giada Las Vegas 





Robert Tas (RT): Hello and welcome back to CorkRules! The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your favorite restaurant wine lists so you can learn to order wine with confidence.

I’m Robert Tas, along with Maria Valetta, certified sommelier and wine educator, also known as Maria The Wine Blonde. Welcome back Maria

MV: Hello Robert we are talking about a famous food network star’s restaurant in Las Vegas

RT: That’s right Maria, and it’s not Gordon Ramsey. oh no, SHE is much easier on the eyes, we are talking about Giada DeLaurentis and her namesake Restaurant in The Cromwell Hotel in Las Vegas Nevada.

This is Giada’s first foray into the restaurant Biz, and she could not have picked a better city for her experiential concept. You know you have made it BIG-TIME when you have your very own restaurant IN Sin City. But the only things sinful here are the insanely delicious dishes from this award-winning celebrity chef.  You can expect all her Italian favorites elevated with fresh California flavors served in an upscale setting. The bright and airy semi-circle dining room has some of the best views of the Las Vegas Strip. Add to that, a wine list that has garnered the Wine Spectator’s” 2019 Best of, Award of Excellence, and you have a real winning combination.

RT: Maria, I know you have dined here, so does the wine list complement the food?

MV: Robert it sure does, I love how the wines by the glass are separated into flavor profile categories, with descriptors such as sweet wines, medium to bold reds, and fruit-forward reds, helping the customer choose more easily. I also love that by the bottle list uses a leafy symbol to denote organic wines which truly is the most sustainable way forward in our wine industry. Plus, it is a well-balanced list covering most of the major wine-producing countries, which is great to see because when I dined here, I thought it was only going to have Italian wines on the list! SO this was a fantastic surprise and maybe even the way to go here given the California influence.

Robert: I’m so jealous you have dined at Giada’s restaurant, my wife and I adore her, and love watching her on TV, so which wine did you start with?

MV: I started with a glass of the Sparkling Schramsberg Vineyards, Blanc de Blancs , Sonoma, California 2018  The term Blanc de blanc on a sparkling wine or champagne literally translates to “white of whites” and this means that the wine is made with 100% chardonnay grapes (all white grapes)

RT: That’s a great tip, Maria because I have quite a few friends that say they don’t like chardonnay, but they love champagne, so I found it surprising to know that most champagne and a lot of champagne-method sparkling wine is made with 1/3 chardonnay or in this case all chardonnay grapes.

MV: even the “anything but chardonnay” lovers will love the green apple freshness mixed with roasted pineapple and toasted almonds that you get with this champagne style beauty from Schramsberg- I’ve been a big fan of theirs for years - pair it with fresh raw seafood such as the oyster crudo or shellfish tower!

RT: Any Other wine BTG you recommend?

MV:  I ordered my husband the Super Tuscan Dainero, Castiglion del Bosco 2013 b/c like you he, loves his reds. We visited this winery in Montalcino and this Tuscan blend is one of the more reasonable offerings from the estate formerly owned by the Ferragamo family. 50% merlot 50% Sangiovese -nice round richness full of fruit and spice- the Orecchiette Bolognese is the best pairing.

RT: Lovely, can you find us some quality wines that are reasonably priced? I know Vegas wine lists can be quite expensive so this is important for a lot of our listeners

MV: Honestly Robert, I am pleasantly surprised here with this list- I found the pricing to be far better than most Italian restaurants on the Vegas Strip a reason to visit alone. And, there are some really great finds that are worth a whirl.. or should I say worth a swirl!

RT: HAHA tell me about them:

To pair with that California influence in her dishes I ordered these 2 Cali wines:

Three Sticks, The James, Santa Rita Hills 2013 Pinot Noir

Three sticks is a Sonoma based small family-owned winery committed to crafting artisanal wines and they produce wines from very notable vineyards, If you love well-made Pinot Noir, you’ll love the Three Sticks wine - I am in love with all of their vineyard wines. This one is dusty cocoa, smashed berry pie, with a soft delicateness given it is 2013.

Now if you like a bolder wine, you will prefer the Herman Story, Nuts and Bolts, Paso Robles 2017 $115 (further S in Cali whete is get quite a bit warmer overall)

100 % Syrah -  inky, fabulously fruit-forward with a hint of sweet-spiced, beef jerky on the nose This calls for meat – The petite filet with the blackberry-port reduction is going to be so perfect with the Herman Story!

MV: For under $125 these wines are both great finds.

RT: That’s great, Maria, super helpful.  Do you have something special you could recommend for us? A red and a white?

MV: I do, The Chateau Rauzan Segla 🌿 2005 a Great Bordeaux Blend, great vintage, 2005 was awesome, from Margaux so you get all the plumy red and black fruit but lots of floral notes, it’s a lovely feminine Bordeaux if that makes sense. Right now, the complexity is really showing well and this wine is organic! Yay

If you want a special white to pair with Giada’s favorite dish which is the Lemon Spaghetti with Shrimp and mascarpone cheese, the  GAJA, Vistamare, Toscana 2020  is going to be so a memorable pairing… Vermentino/Viognier you have to be careful with seafood - too much oak and your shellfish will taste fishy, but here it is so well integrated because it’s only partially oaked. This is from one of the great producers of Italy, this Very small production, a full-bodied white with lots of floral notes and a touch of refreshing salinity on the finish.

RT: Anything California worth dropping the dime on?

MV: You read my mind, Robert, I was just going to mention that they have 2 wines from Lokoya that are killer – Lokoya repeatedly receives 100-point reviews from various publications. I've met their winemaker Chris Carpenter and he is wickedly smart but also an all-around great guy

Lokoya, Diamond Mountain , Napa Valley 2014 795 Blackberries and dark Red Bing cherries, a layer of rich dark chocolate weaved into the fine-grained silky tannins
Lokoya, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley 2011 Powerful, blackberries and wild blueberries, intense tannin structure even with the age on it, and don’t hesitate about this vintage while 2011 was difficult for some, Lokoya knocked it out of the park with this baby. We have vintages going back over 10 years of Lokoya in our cellar – it is a great investment if you are collecting wine.

RT: Maria, thank you for all your helpful wine tips and food pairing selections on today’s episode on Giada’s Restaurant in Las Vegas. Be sure to follow Maria on Instagram @Mariathewineblonde. Thank you everyone for joining us here on CorkRules. Remember the only rule in wine is “drink what you LOVE”.

MV: Have a favorite wine list? Let us review it here. Send us your requests at info@CorkRules.com You can find previous episodes on your favorite podcast platform and on CorkRules.com be sure to subscribe and like. And check out @CorkRules on Instagram for episode updates and upcoming giveaways. Must be 21 and older, please drink responsibly.



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