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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, wine educator  & certified sommelier, also known as MARIA the Wine Blonde, joins Robert Tas to navigate the wine list at Lavo. Lavo is an Italian restaurant and nightclub in Midtown Manhattan that is all about good food, good wine, and good times. Maria takes some time to find the wines on the list that complement both the menu and the occasion, including a champagne from the world’s oldest champagne house.

Wines reviewed include:

  • Ca’ del Bosco from Lombardia, Italy
  • 2016 Barbera d’Alba, Prunotto ‘Pian Romualdo’
  • 2020 Château Minuty, ‘M’, from the Côtes de Provence
Transcript: Lavo


RT: Hello and welcome back to CorkRules! The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your FAVORITE restaurant wine lists!

I’m, Robert Tas along with Maria Valetta wine educator  & certified sommelier also known as MARIA the Wine Blonde

Hello Maria, It’s really great to have you back

MV: Hi Robert, I’ve been doing a lot of travelling so It’s great to back at it…

RT: Today we are talking about Lavo Italian restaurant and Nightclub in NYC in Midtown Manhattan.

Sophisticated, Energetic and SEXY are the perfect words to describe this vibrant industrial-chic restaurant. Lavo is famous for its Champagne brunch and subterranean nightclub below featuring top DJs spinning sounds for all the pretty people. The ultra-exclusive vibe and over-the-top family-style homemade Italian favorites make it the PERFECT place to pop some bottles of bubbly with your beautiful besties. Maria I can’t wait to hear what you think of this wine list:

MV: Lots of fantastic choices here… this restaurant has an excellently curated list, with a ton of large format bottles which is definitely the way to go because this is group dining at its best! Nothing wrong with Bringing a party to the party!!

RT: So, a bottle of bubbly to start?

MV: You KNOW IT! You can pass over the by-the-glass here and go straight for the BIG bottle of bubbly b/c everyone loves to start off with a champagne-style toast!

They have a great price on a magnum of Franciacorta … the Ca’ del Bosco from Lombardia, Italy.  If you aren’t familiar with Franciacorta, you should be.  These lesser-known northern Italian sparklers are produced in the champagne method, meaning that the second fermentation happens IN the bottle, and the wines see a significant amount of ageing, so they have that toasted buttery brioche flavor that we all love, but with more fruit character since the wines are less acidic than champagne.


Now If you would rather go for that bottle of French bubbly, I’d recommend the Lavo Edition’ the restaurants signature champagne that’s more intense than the Ca Del Bosco, … roasted almonds and ginger on the nose., Henri Giraud is the oldest Champagne house still owned by its founding family (1652) and produces some of the most sought after and well-regarded wines of any house in Champagne. Fût de Chêne is their flagship cuvée, and is made from about 70%  pinot noir and 30%  chardonnay. This wine could easily carry you through to the main course.


RT: These are a great way to start off the evening Maria. So, anything that our listeners must try on this list?


MV: SO- Lavo is famous for their Giant Meatball appetizer The Meatball is a hefty full 6 Ounces of Ground Wagyu, Italian Sausage and Veal Mixture, served with Fresh Whipped Ricotta. It’s one of those “must-order” menu items to share- and I would pair it with the Barbera d’Alba, Prunotto ‘Pian Romualdo’, 2016. Barbera is the grape and “de Alba” means it’s FROM the region of Alba, which is located in NW Italy in Piedmont. I’ve been opening some 2016 Barberas lately and they have been outstanding! All this dense fruit with some violet layers plus a touch of vanilla oak spice. Super food friendly.

RT: I feel like Barbera is overlooked sometimes but I 100 percent agree it is a great food wine.. Anything else you love about this list Maria:

MV: I would also like to mention they have some lovely offerings of New world Chardonnay for all my buttery chardonnay lovers out there… : I am particularly drawn to the Lewis Cellars 2017 RRV Sonoma Coast, Lusciously rich with a subtle toasted oak notes,  and the Kistler ‘Les Noisetiers’, another Sonoma Coast Chard from ‘17 buttery and complex I know these two will not disappoint.

RT: And where are our value wines on this list Maria, anything fun we should try

MV: Lots of fun wines under $100 to explore here if you are up for getting out of your comfort zone:

For Brunch I’d recommend a Rose- It’s the perfect day drinking wine in warm weather. I love the Château Minuty, ‘M’, from the Côtes de Provence 2020, Grenache Cinsault and Syrah are the grapes used in this wine.. it’s fresh and light and the bottle shape is ultra-feminine and elegant looking for the table

Another great wine for those who tend to gravitate towards Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc... is the Nikolaihof, ‘Hefeabzug’(heefa UB Zoog), Grüner Veltliner, 2015 from the Wachau, in Austria. It has the bright citrus crispness that SB has but with a pinch of ground white pepper versus fresh green pepper, loads of minerality. I love this wine with salads, Vegetarian dishes, and shellfish.

RT: What about a splurge-worthy red for those of us having the meatball to ourselves for an entree…

MV: ha… okay so a big wine for the big meatball.. or even the bone-in-ribeye, I would order the La Sirena CabSauv 2009. This wine is ready to open now… it has had the perfect amount of cellar time, lots of graphite and mixed berried fruits, plus this wine is made by one of the most well-regarded winemakers in all of Napa Valley, Heidi Barret. that’s right a famous female winemaker in the house! And she rocks! Wines such as Screaming Eagle, Fantesca, Dalle Valle, this her – very - own -label. La Sirena means the mermaid in Spanish. if that helps you remember it… and hey if you want to really go for it… they do have Screaming Eagle. the 2014 vintage… but it will cost you a mortgage payment… lol!

RT: (laugh), I’m ordering that only if someone else is buying.

MV: Right! haha!ME TOO

RT: Well, that’s a wrap on today’s episode. thank you Maria for all of your helpful wine suggestions for Lavo’s NY wine list. You can find Maria on Instagram @Mariathewineblonde.

Thank you EVERYONE for joining us 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 and remember to check out all of our episodes on CorkRules.com. Please drink responsibly.



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