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About this Episode

Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore the wine list at Michael’s, a restaurant that offers a seasonally prepared menu with meals that focus on simplicity and elegance.  Grace kicks off the review with some bubbles from smaller boutique houses, introduces a few wacky, but worthy whites, and once-in-a-lifetime bottles for that special occasion.

Wines reviewed include:

●  Gruner Veltliner, Tatomer, California

●  2015 Barbaresco from Cantina del Pino

●  2020 Mosel Riesling from Julian Haart

Transcript: Michaels


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!

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. Today we’re chatting about the iconic Santa Monica restaurant, Micheals.

GH: Oh man this place has been around forever! Since the 1970s! Has won all the awards, trained some iconic chefs. Excited to chat about it. 

RT: Love it! What is their wine list looking like?

GH: A very easy to navigate 2 pages! Starting with some bubbles, b/c we always do, they have a really unique collection of champagne from some smaller boutique houses. This Grand cru from Domaine Vincey looks delish, as well as the 2012 Clos de Cazals

RT: Love seeing some new names in champagne! Not that there’s anything wrong with the classics, but always fun to try different producers.

GH: Exactly. And especially on a small list like this, the sommelier obviously took special care to choose really unique brands. 

RT: Love that. Is the same thing happening in the whites?

GH: It sure is Robert! They categorize their wines by style. For instance, they have “lean and clean”, “a little more body”, “more bounce to the ounce” sounds like the lyrics to a Megan the stallion song!

RT: haha I love that! How fun!

GH: In lean and clean, they have a Gruner Veltliner that’s coming from the Tatomer vineyard out of the central coast of California which would be really interesting to try! We don’t really see a lot of Gruner grown outside of Áustria so that would be super fun.

RT: Oh, my how unique!

GH: And for a little more body ody ody ody hahaha sorry I couldn’t help myself. In this group, I would def choose the Matthiasson white blend. They've had a cult following for over a decade and their wine projects are always really unique.

RT: Love a wacky blend. Always such a cool experience.  What about more bounce to the ounce? Gosh that’s fun to say

GH: HAHA isn’t it! Bounce to the ounce is going to have to be this Spanish white Catalonia blend. Anything from the Catalan region is ok by me.

RT: Oh yum gotta love Spanish whites. Are the reds equally as fun?

GH: 100% they are. Starting with “light and bright” they have a 2020 Nero d'Avola from Sicily, which is basically as light and bright as you can get in a red!  

RT: Oh totally. Those are always really refreshing. What category follows that?

GH: Get this....it’s “a well-balanced diet” haha! Alright well let’s see what they think is well balanced at Michaels.....well I see lots of Burgundies which you know I am partial to, but if we want something that's not French Pinot, I would do the 2015 Barbaresco from Cantina del Pino

RT: Wow I am shocked you didn’t choose a Burgundy haha

GH: I mean that is my like default setting when it comes to reds haha

RT: It totally is. So, what is the last category? Large and in charge? Can’t wait to see what they have in store for us

GH: Large and in charge baby! And they were not kidding. For this one, I’m going with one of my favorite California producers, Robert Sinskey, who I got to meet a few years ago. They’ve got his 2013 SLD estate aka Stags Leap district Cabernet from Napa, and that would definitely qualify as large and in charge haha

RT: I love it. Now some of our listeners are on a budget. What are some great value wines on the Michaels’ list?

GH: They absolutely do. The one category I forgot at the top was simply titled “Because Riesling” haha and in there you have a super affordable 2020 Mosel Riesling from Julian Haart.

RT: Love it. What about something in the reds?

GH: Done and done – the 2017 Tatomer Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara

RT: I should have known haha what about those special occasions once in a lifetime bottles?

GH: 2012 Vilmart and Cie Champagne, or you're thinking red, 2001 Mount Eden Cabernet

RT: Fantastic! Grace, thank you so much for helping us navigate the list at Michael’s. 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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