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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas embark on another wine adventure as they peruse the wine list at Girasole. Chef-owned and operated, Girasole serves authentic Italian cuisine with house-made pasta and local ingredients. The mantra here is fresh, rustic fine dining and a warm welcome.  You will find a casual European atmosphere, and the highest quality food and wine. The wine list is Italian-dominant with half bottles, local wine selections, and a limited Reserve list. Michaela runs through the list, offers pairing suggestions and identifies tasting notes, and shares a little information about the grape varietals. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2018 Elisabetta ‘Brunetti’ Sangiovese, Tuscany

  • 2020 Leone de Castris ‘Five Roses’ Rose, Puglia

  • 2020 Tasca d’Almerita Grillo,  Sicily

Transcript: Girasole


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 Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.


Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.


MQ: Hi Robert!


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, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.


RT: Today we are talking about Girasole. Located in The Plains, the heart of Virginia’s Hunt Country, Girasole is chef owned and operated and features authentic Italian cuisine with house made pasta and local ingredients.


Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their wine list?


MQ: Girasole offers an extensive, Italian dominant list with half bottles, local wine selections, and a limited Reserve list. There are many options to pair with their fresh and local menu. We hope you enjoy today’s selections.



RT: That’s really great, as you looked the list did you see anything jump out at you?


MQ: The first to catch my eye was the 2020 Wilhelm Walch ‘Prendo’ Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige of Italy. This Northern Italian white wine is well balanced with bright acidity, tangerine, ripe green apple, and citrus, along with fresh herbs on the mineral finish. A perfect way to begin your dining experience or to pair with cheese and salads.


RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?


MQ: Heading to Tuscany, a red that caught my eye was the 2018 Elisabetta ‘Brunetti’ Sangiovese. While medium bodied with soft, round tannins, this Sangiovese can still stand up to richly sauced pasta and proteins. The ripe red cherries, blackberries, hints of white pepper, cedar, earth, and cocoa make this Sangiovese and excellent pairing with Girasole’s menu.


RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?


MQ: Travelling further south to Puglia, a must try is the 2020 Leone de Castris ‘Five Roses’ Rose. This is the Rose for red wine drinkers. Consisting of a blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, this richly colored Rose features citrus, tangerine, watermelon, and ripe strawberries, along with bright acidity, and a mineral finish. Pair this Rose with herbed proteins and charcuterie.



RT: These are some great calls. So, you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?


MQ: Returning to Tuscany, a wine to consider for the table would be the renowned and consistently highly rated and organic 2018 Avignesi ‘Desiderio’ Merlot. This full bodied, aromatic red wine features notes of sage, fennel, and eucalyptus, along with ripe black berries, boysenberry, and ripe plumb. The long, mineral finish lingers with smoke and leather. A winner for all richly sauced pasta and proteins.


RT: Ooh, Terrific.


Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind.  Any other great value wines you’d point us to? 


MQ: I am a fan of this next grape varietal and I hope you become one as well. Consider the 2020 Tasca d’Almerita Grillo from Sicily. Grillo is a white grape that produces bright, dry, and aromatic white wines. This wine features bright acidity, lemon and lime zest, notes of salinity, white flowers, and that classic almond/nuttiness on the finish. Pair this excellent quality and value wine with shellfish, seafood and cheese.


RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?


MQ: Let’s return to Tuscany for the 2019 Castell di Poppiano Syrah. If you have not tried many Syrah from Italy, do give this one a try. It showcases all of the Syrah qualities we love such as ripe red cherries, ripe plumb, notes of sage, black pepper, earth, and smoke. The round tannins and herbal notes make this an excellent quality and value wine to pair with pasta, pizza, and herbed proteins.


RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?


 MQ: What would an Italian list review be without mentioning a Barolo? If you are looking to add to your dining experience, consider celebrating with the 2018 Giacomo Conterno ‘Cascina Francia’ Barolo from the Piedmont. While Barolo is the region within the Piedmont, the red grape in this stellar wine is Nebbiolo. This 97 point rated Barolo is rich and full bodied with fresh acidity, ripe red cherries, ripe blackberries, with notes of raspberries and herbs. The classic aromas of rose and licorice, along with smoke and tobacco on the finish make this wine one to celebrate. Extend your special event by allowing this wine to be decanted.


RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Girasole’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself.  


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.


Thank you.








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