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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas dive into the wine list at Le Penguin, a French bistro that delivers local seasonal ingredients with farm-to-table freshness. Tantalizing appetizers and select wine pairings have been chosen to complement their menu of fish, chicken and beef entrees.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Caillou Bourgogne Blanc, Burgundy
  • 2016 Domaine de l’Olivette
  • 2018 Ladoucette Pouilly Fume, France
Transcript: Le Penguin

Le Penguin

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 Le Penguin. Located in Greenwich, CT, this farm-to-table French Bistro features a colorful and comfortable atmosphere specializing in fish, chicken, and beef dishes.

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

MQ: There are so many favorite French selections to feature today for all palates.

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

MQ: Since Le Penguin offers lunch and Brunch, what better way to begin our selections than with the Baron de Scilla Brut Rose Sparkling from Provence, France. This Grenache sparkler features aromas and flavors of strawberries, ripe red cherries, and watermelon. A perfect way to begin your dining experience.

RT: That is a great place to start. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: Absolutely, one to consider would be the Caillou Bourgogne Blanc 2019 from Burgundy, France. This unoaked chardonnay exhibits aromas and flavors of pear and green apple, notes of citrus, with a mineral finish. A perfect complement to cheeses, salmon, and rich sauces.

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

MQ: A must-try comes from one of my favorite regions, Bandol, located within Provence. Known for its highly rated rose, Bandol also releases highly allocated red wines. One to consider would be the 2016 Domaine de l’Olivette, which consists of 90% mourvedre and 10% grenache. This red wine features aromas and flavors of ripe blackberries and spice, with notes of licorice and smoke on the finish. A wonderful pairing for cheese and proteins.

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: A wonderfully aromatic consideration would be the 2018 Ladoucette Pouilly Fume from Loire, France. Pouilly Fume is an appellation in Loire featuring sauvignon blanc that rivals Sancerre, not to be confused with Pouilly Fuisse which is  chardonnay. This sauvignon blanc features aromas and flavors of citrus, lime zest, grapefruit, and bright acidity with a mineral finish. This would be a wonderful companion to shellfish, soft cheeses, and spicy dishes.

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: You know this is my favorite category to discuss, so of course I have a selection for our white and red wine drinkers. To begin, I would consider the 2016 Laurent Craft Vouvray from the Loire Valley. The primary white grape in Vouvray is Chenin Blanc. This is a perfect grape to pair with spicy food due to its bright acidity, minerality, and hint of dried apricot on the finish.

RT: That sounds great. How about that red selection?

MQ: I can never pass a Gigondas on a wine list. The neighbor to Chateauneuf du Pape, all the quality at a fraction of the price, I would consider the 2017 L’Hallali Grand Reserve Gigondas. This full-bodied Grenache/Syrah blend features aromas and flavors of ripe red cherries, blueberries, ripe blackberries, with notes of cocoa, leather, and smoke on the finish.  A perfect pairing for richly sauced dishes and 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: We love to discuss special occasion wines, as well as special occasion restaurants. However, there is great sentimentality when it comes to wine. Your special occasion wine doesn’t have to be the most expensive, it can be a particular vintage or location you have visited. I find the most special bottles are those with which you can share a story.

With that said, I would consider the 2015 Le Hautes du Tertre from Margaux. This highly rated, Bordeaux classic, is always a winner. The combination of ripe raspberries, cassis, fig, smoke, and nutmeg certainly make this wine one for any special occasion.

RT: Michaela, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Le Penguin’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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