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About this Episode

Grace Hood reviews the mostly French and Italian wine list at King, a small, intimate restaurant with a menu that is also inspired by southern France and northern Italy. Grace explores the champagne list and a small production house that is celebrated by sommeliers. She offers alternatives to the more traditional choices in white and explains why the Loire valley is a renowned region for whites and why the overlooked details, such as soil and climate, impact the wine in a big way. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2017 Bereche Blanc de Blanc Beaux Regards
  • 2017 Saumur Blanc Domaine Collier
  • 2019 Montlouis Bournais from Francois Chidaine
Transcript: King


RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Greetings and Salutations Robert haha

RT Before we jump in, let’s talk about those wine lists. We created CorkRules to help demystify wine list’s 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: Today we’re chatting about an intimate New York Hot spot, King. Grace take us away!

GH: Ha ha thanks, Robert. I was really excited to talk about King in this episode because it’s one of my favorite types of restaurants and one that’s pretty rare to find. What makes this place so unique is that the menu changes every single day. And that is not an easy thing to do at all in a restaurant. Think about it – you have to be so dedicated and passionate as a culinary team as well as a front of the house personnel. From the back of the house learning new recipes and creating dishes every day, to the front of the house being able to convey that story to the guests. It’s probably such a creative innovative environment to be in too as a staff member. I’m definitely getting a reservation at this place asap.

RT: Yeah, I really love their unique fresh take on their daily menu. Now, what are you looking at in terms of wine?

GH: So, I read that their dishes are inspired by southern France and northern Italy, and that also rolls over into their wine menu – it's all French and Italian, which you know I am here for. It's only 3 pages but they pack a lot on those 3, but the great part is that the average bottle cost is still right around $100! I see some gorgeous wines on here for $70 which is an absolute steal in Manhattan where the markup for wines can be sky high. Makes the wine list more approachable for everyone and moves the juice!  

RT: Price point really is everything. Now, what was sticking out to you on the list Grace?

GH: Oh man, where to start! There are so many of my favorites on here. “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start” há ha gotta go with some sparkling to kick it off. They have a nice condensed champagne list, but the one that stuck out to me was the 2017 Bereche Blanc de Blanc Beaux Regards. Bereche is a small production champagne house that sommeliers have a cult following for. And a 5-year-old vintage will be more subtle than a new vintage but will have some really lovely effervescence to it.

RT: Can’t go wrong with Champagne. What should we be looking at when it comes to whites?

MV: So it’s broken down into France and Italy. And then the next identifying factor would be what region it is from. We’ve got all the main wine producing regions from France and Italy represented, now it's just a matter of what you’re in the mood for! If we’re thinking lighter aromatic styles, and you’re tired of Sancerre or Pouilly fume (which is hard to be), another awesome alternative would be would pick one of the chenin blancs from the Loire, which is going to be either your 2017 Saumur Blanc Domaine Collier, or the 2019 Montlouis Bournais from Francois Chidaine. The Loire is a really amazing place to grow light aromatic wines due to its amazing silty clay and limestone soil. If you think about it, grapes are at the end of the day an agricultural product, and the soil that it is planted in plays a huge part in what you will be tasting on your palate. There's a big difference in a wine that’s grown in a place that once was under a glacier, than grown in a place that was once an ancient sea bed, ya know? The mineral deposits, the soil type, and how much water and rainfall it does or doesn’t get. All these small things matter.

RT: Totally – we don’t talk nearly enough about soil when it comes to wine. Glad you're reminding us, Grace. What about if we wanted an Italian white?

GH: One man again – so many good options. But the ones that stuck out to me is the 2020 soave from Suavia, or the 2020 Verdiccihio from Fattoria San Lorenzo. So many people think of Italy just as a place for pinot grigio, and don’t get me wrong – pinot grigio definitely sees the most international recognition when it comes to Italian whites. But they have so many more interesting indigenous grapes there – the thing about it is that a lot of those small production wines don’t make it to the domestic marketplace, therefore we don’t learn as much about them because we aren’t exposed to them. But at a place like King, this is where you would really stretch your wings and order something new. I’ve worked in restaurants for 20 years, and I would put money on half the staff of King at least having some sort of wine certification – that’s what it great about working at a smaller intimate restaurant – since they have fewer tables and a smaller menu, the staff gets to spend more time on food and wine education, so a lot of the times the servers will be nearly as knowledgeable about the wine list as the sommelier.

RT: That’s a great point Grace. Love all your insider information. Now we gotta move to reds at some point – where are we going from here?

GH: Whatever you pick, it's going to be fabulous. Seriously. I’m nerding out over these choices – we can’t pick all of them sadly. But some that stuck out to me on the French list – if you’re wanting something light, I’m gonna choose the 2019 Volnay from Marquis D’Angerville. One of my sommelier friends who’s worked for Thomas Keller and all the big names, he once described Volnay as an elegant dancing lady, and I just loved that. If to swing to the other side and go with something heavier, they have a 2005 Pomerol from Chateau Vieux Certan, which ohhh wee is going to be delish.

RT: Ooooo yum – both great choices. What are you thinking for Italian reds?

GH: Ayyyyy mama mia too many good choices! But if you’re gonna twist my arm, I’m going with the 2011 Barbaresco from Cascina Baricchi for something lighter, and then for your bigger bolder style – the 2007 Rosso di Toscana from Colle Santa Mustiola.

RT: Amazing Grace. Great choices as always. Thank you for helping us navigate the wine list at King.

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. Follow us on social media @CorkRules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.







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