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About this Episode

Maria Valetta, certified sommelier and wine educator, joins Robert Tas in this episode of CorkRules where they discover the best wines on the list of Ocean Prime, a restaurant that offers an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, and a Wine Spectator honored wine list. Maria identifies the stellar wines on the list that are best paired with seafood, the crowd-pleasing value wines, a by-the-glass bubbly to kick off the evening, and a stellar, special bottle for a night to remember. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, 2016
  • Cade, Napa Valley, California SB, 2020
  • Walt, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir California, 2017
Transcript: Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime:

RT: Hello and welcome back to CorkRules! The wine podcast that’s here to help YOU navigate all your favorite restaurant wine lists!

I’m, Robert Tas along with Maria Valetta certified sommelier and wine educator

Hello Maria.

MV: Hi Robert,

RT: Today we are talking about Ocean Prime NYC!  With the tagline: Modern! Social! Electric!…you KNOW you’re going to have a memorable night out…this acclaimed restaurant located in midtown Manhattan, from the award-winning Cameron Mitchell Restaurant group has locations nationally from NY- to Philly to Dallas to Denver to LA  and MORE…

Its wine spectator-recognized wine list is as stunning as its seafood and steak offerings and the dining room will be sure to impress your date, your boss, your in-laws, or your best friend!

 Maria, I can't wait to see what you think of the Ocean Prime New York wine list:

MV: What I love about their wine list is the extensive selection of wines by the glass and even more impressive their coravin wine selections… I personally own a coravin and I love this little magical device, it literally lets you pour a glass of wine from a bottle without opening it, the cork remains in the bottle!!! So, you never have to worry about the rest of the bottle oxidizing and being undrinkable. 

RT: so, this allows the restaurant to offer more expensive bottles by the glass, right?

MV: Exactly and yes, while the by-the-glass offerings ARE expensive, they are still more affordable for those really wanting to try a special wine without splurging on an ENTIRE bottle. Some restaurants use those suction devices to pump out the air…but in my opinion, they are worthless, and I would prefer restaurants not use them at all … they strip everything out of the wine… not just the oxygen but all the flavor too… so don’t use them at home, please! Just buy a coravin!


RT:  So from the coravin selections if you had an unlimited budget what would you choose:

MV: my coravin selections are the Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino, Italy, 2016 ($36 | $144) Brunello is and always will be, my very favorite Italian wine ever, dried red cherries, and a heap of earth… so lovely  And the  · Cabernet Sauvignon, Chimney Rock Stag’s Leap District, California, 2018  ($52 | $208)

A Terlato family wine from the napa valley that’s uber-rich and concentrated for me, it’s a benchmark for quality cabernet sauvignon in the region and it’s sure to be a memorable pour.

And white by the glass?

I’m going to keep it super simple here Robert. Somms don’t always have to recommend fancy obscure wines… in fact, I would totally order a glass of Veuve Clicquot. because the price is fabulous! Anytime I see it under $30 it’s a must-order… sure it’s not fancy grower champagne but it’s going to be darn good with oysters on the half shell!

RT: What about a bottle? What is our must-try bottle on this Ocean Prime NY list?


MV: I’m going to focus on white here (forgive me Robert as I know you are king of reds) but for the menu I want our listeners to try this great seafood wine pairing:

RT: Great, tell us what you're ordering Maria

MV:  I’m definitely ordering the Cade, Napa Valley, California SB 2020 ($83) Cade is a favorite napa California producer of mine… they are located high up on Howell Mountain. It’s a beautiful winery to visit because of the views!. Cade barrel ferments a small portion of this sauvignon blanc and this gives it a lovely, richness and roundness, that’s layered with shavings of lemon and lime zest, and a squeeze of fresh ripe grapefruit, plus a crisp bright mineral finish…(there is also a splash of Semillon and Viognier is this wine full disclosure here.. lol)

Seriously though, this wine is going to shine well with the sea scallops with parmesan risotto or the jumbo lump crab cake with the mustard cream… I honestly always pick sauvignon blanc over new world chardonnay when it comes to shellfish because chardonnay usually has a much heavier oak influence and can often make shellfish taste a little funky… So, for me, SB (short for sauv blanc) is my go-to wine here, and you can remember it easily that way…SB, not only stands for sauv blanc, but also for Safe Bet! It’s always the safe bet wine for fish and shellfish! I call it the little black dress of wines!

That’s a great tip Maria, so What about our value pick on this list:

Here you go… the Walt, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir California, 2017 ($90)

For under $100 this is a lovable Pinot Noir, that will make everyone happy and is the answer to the question of what to order when you have half the table ordering seafood and the other half ordering meat. Plus, Walt winery is of the Kathryn Hall family of the famed Hall wines in Napa Valley so you just know you’re getting quality Juice here.


RT: And our splurge moment?



MV: Ya know what Robert … I don’t know what’s more fun to choose…. that value gem we just talked about, or the go-big or go-home wine selection… they BOTH make me happy!


But here you go … and it’s big…. The OVID Red Blend, from, Napa Valley, California, 2016 ($599)

Ovid makes masterpieces… and this is no exception! And I’m totally okay with this mark-up… it’s not crazy! This inky color4ede beauty is opulent with a burst of black currant jam and a backbone of graphite… it’s the perfect combo of Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petite Verdot. and might steer your order towards one of the prime steaks on the menu or even the Lamb chops! A perfect pairing!


RT: Well, that’s all we have time for on today’s episode…thank you Maria for helping us navigate Ocean Prime’s wine list.  Thank you  EVERYONE for joining us here on CorkRules, Remember the only rule in wine is “Drink what you LOVE”.

MV: Have a favorite wine List? Let us review it here on Corkrules. Send us your requests at info@corkrules.com and remember to Check out all our episodes on CorkRules.com.






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