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About this Episode

Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas go downtown LA to visit the hotspot Le Grand. This restaurant is a venue for live music, a vibrant scene, and Le Grand Party complete with a resident DJ and exotic dancers. To complete the scene, the also have a jamming wine cellar stocked with old and new world wines.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Ori Marani Exile on Caucasus
  • 2019 Villa Mosavali Mtsvane
  • 2005 Dom Perignon Brut Rose
Transcript: Le Grand

Le Grand

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 Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hey Robert! Happy to be here as always

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. Grace, what are we reviewing today?

GH: Today we’re taking on downtown LA hot spot, Le Grand, and let me tell you, this place looks like a VIBE as the youths say. On top of having an awesome wine list and delish-looking menu, they have live music, DJs and performers most nights! Looks like one hell of a party. Let’s go Robert!

RT: Let me get a babysitter and I’ll meet you there Grace!

GH: And I love that even though this place is super fun and lively, they put a lot of care and consideration into their wine list. That doesn’t always happen with properties that focus more on having a good time rather than curating a unique wine list. You basically either get fine dining with huge cellars, or nightclubs with bottle service. Love that this place meets in the middle!

RT: Sounds super fun! What are your thoughts on the wine menu?

GH: Whoever made this wine list definitely knew their audiences. In LA you have some old school classic Hollywood types who love their big cabs and old-world Italians etc. But then you have hip young millennials who are all about natural wine. And you can get all of that at La Grande!

RT: Love that. Catering to all palates in downtown LA. Where do you want to kick us off?

GH: So, in the first few pages, they are highlighting Georgian wine which is super rare to see! Georgia is internationally recognized as the cradle of wine with 8,000-year history of winemaking. These smaller lesser-known countries, like Geórgia, who have been producing wine for thousands of years, but just didn't have the volume or the interest to distribute worldwide. But now that so many countries have wine as an everyday beverage, we’re seeing tons more countries represented in the wine scene.  

RT: I don’t know if I’ve ever had Georgian wine!

GH: You wouldn’t be the first person to say that to me Robert! I love that Le Grand is putting na emphasis on Georgian wine. And best part, besides being delicious, is that it’s super affordable! Most of the wines they have on the Georgian list are going to be natural wines done in quervi’s which are large, egg-shaped earthenware vessels used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wines. Going to give you a creamier more rustic style of wine. Not for everyone but definitely worth trying so you can at least experience this unique style for yourself.

RT: What would you recommend to a first-timer like myself?

GH: For skin contact Orange wine, I would do the 2019 Ori Marani Exile on Caucasus, which is made (and I might get this pronunciation totally wrong) from the Katsateli grape. Or the 2019 Villa Mosavali Mtsvane. Both those grapes are indigenous to Georgia and a staple of their wine-making history.

RT: Very cool! I’m so curious about them. What would you recommend for Georgian reds?   

GH: So saperavi is one of their most famous red grapes. And there are more than a few on the Le Grand list. I would go with the 2019 from Marbano. Or the 2019 from the Georgian Wine Foundation. The name says it all!

RT: Wow that’s so rad. Thanks for that Georgian wine lesson, Grace. I bet a lot of our viewers had no idea about Georgian wine till now. What else is looking good on the Le Grand list?

GH: Oh man they have so many little sub categories. This list is like looking at a map of a city that has many unique neighborhoods. A few pages past Georgia, they have a section called the Rare Gems Collection, and boy do they ever. Starting in sparkling, you could go with the 1990 Taittinger Artist Collection or the equally as lovely 2005 Dom Perignon Brut Rose.

RT: Can’t go wrong with vintage champagne. What about some lighter-style whites?

GH: Oh they have a great domestic riesling producer, Brooks, which is out of the Willmette Valley in Oregon. The riesling made in Oregon, unless otherwise specifed, is going to be dry! Crispy and aromatic and floral. I’ve been lucky enough to visit and tour the Brooks winery and they’remaking some really exceptional wines up there.  

RT: Oh delicious. And I bet riesling would be a fun bottle to have while jamming to a groovy band at Le Grand.

GH: Exactly! When I’m dancing I always want something refreshing in my glass.

RT: What about a white for our listeners who are more into richer styles?  

GH: Gotta be a central coast classic, Melville. It's a Santa Barbara winery that's making french style wine from California grapes, and is a personal favorite of mine. The tasting room is absolutely stunning as well.

RT: Oh la la American Burgundy!

GH: And speaking of American Burgundy. You know I gotta highlight some domestic pinots. They have a 1999 Flowers Pinot out of Sonoma. You don’t want to drink pinots when they’re too too old, so this one is right on the cusp of almost over the hill, so don't delay and drink today!

RT: Going once going twice sold!

GH: And if pinot isn’t your jam, how about some rhone valley Syrah? This 1999 E Guigal Cote Rotie would be a fabulous choice. Oh if you wanted a 90s Italian, they’ve got a 1997 Sassicaia! Woweee wow wow! Or orrrr if you wanted 90s Spanish – get yourself a bottle of 1998 Vega Sicilia from Ribera del Duero! Holy canolli this place has some deep cuts on their list!

RT: Absolutely amazing. I think this answers the question “where did all the older vintages go?” turns out their hiding out in a groovy cellar in downtown LA

GH: You can say that again, Robert. Le Grand, we see you!

RT: Amazing! Grace, thank you so much for helping us navigate the list at Le Grand. 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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