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About this Episode

Certified sommelier Alexis Rogers and host Robert Tas take a walk on the wild side of the drinks menu at Maison Premiere. Alexis explores the cocktail menu to identify the most appealing and adventurous cocktails, including a range of absinthe and juleps before moving on to the wine list, including a stellar champagne selection. Inspired by the lifestyle of Paris, New York and New Orleans in the early 1900s, Maison Premiere is renowned for upholding the traditions and ceremony of oyster bars and absinthe cafés, hospitality and service.

Drinks reviewed include:

  • Absinthe Colada
  • Barber of Seville
  • Pascal Doquet “Arpege” Blanc de Blancs
Transcript: Maison Premiere

Maison Premiere #8

Music Intro:

RT: Hello and Welcome to Corkrules!

 I’m your host Robert Tas along with Alexis Rogers, Wine Educator and  Restaurant Sommelier

Hello Alexis, glad you're with us on another episode of CorkRules, - a podcast where we help simplify and demystify the wine lists at some of your favorite restaurants. We talk with certified sommeliers who point out interesting bottles, classic food and wine pairings, hidden gems,  value wines, or splurge wines that will take your dining experience over the top.

AR: Glad to be here, Robert! Thanks!

RT:  Today we are discussing Maison Premiere. This gorgeous Williamsburg bar and restaurant has a distinctly Old World feel and is known worldwide for their incredible drinks, even winning a James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program. Tell us about what you found, Alexis.

AR: As Sommeliers, we are trained in the finer points of not just wine, but spirits as well. And while the wine list here is stellar, these cocktails are not to be missed so let’s start there!

RT: I’ve heard they have the largest selection of absinthe in the country!

AR: That’s right! And their own custom-built absinthe drip modeled after the famous Absinthe fountain in the notorious Old Absinthe House in New Orleans. The decor is even “Absinthe-esque”, a beautiful example of Belle Epoque design from The Turn of The Century - the heyday of this fascinating spirit. You can order a glass of it, expertly and classically prepared with cold water and a sugar cube or you can enjoy it in a range of inventive cocktails on the list. Personally, I’m dying to try the Absinthe Colada!

There’s also a subsection on the cocktail menu just for Juleps! I’m thrilled and intrigued by the Barber of Seville, a rye-based Julep featuring ManzaNULLla sherry. ManzaNULLla is almost identical to Fino sherry - that is, it’s a fortified wine from Spain made from the Palomino grape and aged biologically under a layer of yeast called “flor”. The only difference is that ManzaNULLla must be made and aged in Sanlucar de Barrameda, a town a bit closer to the sea. That extra saline tang will take this drink to a whole other level of complexity.

RT: I love when a talented cocktailer can incorporate sherry into a drink.

AR:I think it’s really the most fascinating beverage. You can find highly technical scientific studies in journals of analytical chemistry that have identified over 500 individual aromatic compounds in Fino sherry. I don't even know if I actually ENJOY the taste of sherry but I LOVE drinking it and I’m absolutely fascinated by it.

RT: Every sommelier, it seems, has one type of wine that they just absolutely geek out about. It sounds like sherry is yours.

AR: Totally! That and Champagne! Speaking of Champagne…

There are few things better together than caviar and Champagne and I can’t imagine anything more picturesque than enjoying both of them on the insanely charming garden patio @ Maison. These two are a classic pairing - and a classic indulgence - for a reason! Champagne’s beautiful, fresh, naturally high acidity slices through the fattiness, oiliness and general richness of the caviar while the saltiness of the caviar increases the tongue’s perception of the Champagne’s fruit. Maison’s Champagne section is organized by subregion and features a surprisingly affordable selection of great bottles of bubbly! With over 25 awesome bottles that won't break the bank, you could really close your eyes and point and you’d receive something wonderful. Personally, being the Champagne fanatic I am, I went specifically to the Cotes des Blancs subregional heading and the bottle of Pascal Doquet “Arpege” Blanc de Blancs. The Cotes des Blancs has a reputation for high-quality bottlings grown on chalky soils that produce electric, minerally, Chardonnay-based wines. The term Blanc de Blanc indicates that it’s made from exclusively white grapes. Nothing could be more romantic than this incredible bottle and Maison’s famous caviar service on a balmy summer night.

RT: That sounds like a great date idea, whether it’s a 3rd date or a 30th wedding anniversary.

So Alexis, looking at the by-the-glass list, I see that each glass is marked either organic or biodynamic based on the principles of Rudolph Steiner. What’s that about?                                                                                                                                                                                                    

AR: Oh man! Good ol’ Rudolph! Steiner was a philosopher, agriculturist, architect and social reformer that is credited with - among other WIDELY varied concepts - the creation of the biodynamic approach to agriculture in the early 1900s. The essential tenets of this approach center around viewing a farm or a vineyard as a single self-sustaining organism that thrives through biodiversity and can sometimes incorporate cosmic and lunar influences, especially as they are related to harvest and planting cycles. It’s holistic, ethical and ecologically minded. Rudolf was the first to suggest that synthetic fertilizers and herbicides would devalue the health of livestock and crops. And surprise, surprise - he was Austrian!

RT: Sounds like an interesting man! At the very least, we can say these wines have an extreme attention to detail! What’s not to be missed from that by-the-glass list?

AR: My pick is the 2019 Ludvic Chanson from the subregion of Montlouis-sur-Loire, just across the river from Vouvray in the Loire Valley in France. I like how much information this part of the list provides. All the usual stuff is there (producer, region, vintage) but they go the extra mile by indicating the grape (here, it’s Chenin Blanc) and even a few very simple tasting notes. I do feel like they under-described this wine a bit by saying just “lemon peel and slate” but it serves to give a general idea of the profile. I would add to that honey, chamomile, fresh straw and autumn apples. As enticing as those flavors and aromas sound, it’s really the structure of this wine that makes it fascinating - and food-friendly. It’s sky-high acidity is often described using terms like “vervy, electric, and laser-like”. Pair this with an order of the Steamed MaNULLa Clams with preserved lemon for a citrusy interplay dream!

RT: Wow, I can't wait to take my wife here on date! Alexis, thank you so much for walking us through both the cocktail and wine list at Maison Premiere. 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 wherever you get your podcasts.

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




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