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About this Episode

Certified sommelier Michaela Quinlan navigates the wine list of Momofuku Ko to find the perfect pairing with Japanese cuisine. In 2019, Ko was ranked No. 76 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list so you know the food is going to be good, and they have a wine list to match. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Vadin-Plateau “Renaissance,” Blanc de Noirs, Champagne, France
  • Amorotti Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Italy 2018
  • Cortese from Stefano Bellotti Cascina Degli Ulivi, “IVAG,” 2015.


Transcript: Momofuku Ko

Music Intro:

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 list’s 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 Momofuku Ko. Momofuku Ko opened in NYC in 2008 featuring traditional Japanese cuisine in two spaces. The bar at Ko offers an a la carte menu, and the main dining room offers a full tasting menu. When we say a full-tasting menu, we mean 10 courses spanning three hours of dining.

Michaela, I’m always challenged with Japanese cuisine and what to drink. And In looking at their extensive beverage list which is 84 pages it has everything. I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their wine list?

MQ: Add a little about paring Japanese cuisine

Their wine list is extensive and full of unique and classic favorites, which I am excited to spotlight for you.

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

MQ: We should know by now that I do love to begin with something sparkling.

RT: I do and love it.


I believe sparkling is always the answer when kicking off an evening or seeking something special to pair with anything fried, such as tempura. Try the Vadin-Plateau ‘Renaissance,’ Blanc de Noirs, Champagne, France NV. This Blanc de Noirs, meaning it is created from the pinot noir grape, is dry, crisp, and refreshing, with just a hint of traditional Champagne brioche on the finish. 

RT: Sounds like a great start.

So, Michaela, this is big is there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

MQ: Momofuku also features a selection of “skin contact” wines. The wines they feature are of the rose variety, and not the orange wine style we have previously discussed. I would recommend the Amorotti Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, Italy 2018. This rose, or Rosato, is made from the Montepulciano grape and is extremely food-friendly. It has beautiful acidity and fresh strawberry aromas.

RT: I’m hearing more and more about Skin contact wines becoming the norm. great suggestion   

So I can’t wait to order a bottle with a meal, where would you guide us?

MQ: A crowd pleaser for the table would be the Cortese from Stefano Bellotti Cascina Degli Ulivi, ‘IVAG,’ 2015. Cortese is a beautiful white grape that is primarily grown in the Piedmont region of Italy. Again, the crisp acidy along with lime and citrus notes would pair beautifully with fish and seafood dishes. All at an excellent price.

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: Let’s stay in the Piedmont and try the Roddolo, ‘Bricco Appiani,’ Barbera d’Alba 2011. This beautiful red wine is created from the Barbera grape in Alba, a subregion of Piedmont. The fresh red cherry aromas and flavors, along with more of that bright acidity, also make this wine perfect for richer, more savory foods such as mushrooms, as well as lighter fare.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a special team dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

MQ: I could get lost in their cellar…happily! So many spectacular options when looking for that special occasion bottle. I would recommend the Leroux, Gevrey-Chambertin 2019, from Burgundy France. All Gevrey-Chambertin wines are exclusively Pinot Noir in the Cotes de Nuits region grown on Premier Cru vineyards. Some of the best of the best. This Pinot Noir has excellent structure, meaning it is bold enough to stand up to a variety of dishes, but will not overpower. A classic, Old World wine is always impressive.

RT: Now you're talking my language.

MQ: Absolutely!

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