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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore the wine list at Paci, a romantic Italian restaurant that hosts the best collections of Italian wines in the state. Michaela reviews the wines on the list, identifies tasting notes, and offers pairing suggestions. She also points out a few top-quality value wines and special occasion bottles. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2015 Fenocchio Renato, “Starderi” Barbaresco
  • 2020 Mormoraia Suavis from Tuscany
  • 2019 Etna Rosso, Nerello Mascalese
Transcript: Paci


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 Paci. Known for its romantic, tucked-away atmosphere, this modern Italian eatery is THE destination in Southport, CT.

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

MQ: You must take your time reviewing this incredible wine list which has received the Wine Spectator Award for 19 years and counting. Today we have selected some classics, and hopefully new favorites.

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

MQ: Let’s begin with the 2019 I Favati Fiano di Avellino from Campania. Fiano is a beautiful white grape with apricot, peach, with notes of lemon zest and honey. This is a perfect light to medium-bodied wine to begin your dining experience or pair with cheeses and shellfish.

RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: Absolutely. Another to consider would be the 2015 Fenocchio Renato, “Starderi” Barbaresco. Grown in the Piedmont region of Italy, the nebbiolo grape is a medium to full-bodied red, that exudes aromas and flavors of tart red cherries, strawberries, smoke, hints of tobacco, and hints of vanilla on the finish. This is a wonderful pairing with pastas and veal.

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 would be the 2020 Mormoraia “Suavis” from Tuscany. Here we have another, dry, Italian white grape called vernaccia. The first sip of this wine features bright acidity with citrus and green apple, followed by a smooth, nutty finish. This is a versatile and food-friendly wine that will pair well with pastas, vegetables, and fish.

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: Another wonderful wine to consider would be the 2019 Etna Rosso, Nerello Mascalese, from Sicily. The nerello mascalese is a medium to full-bodied red grown in volcanic soils. Not only does the wine feature aromas and flavors of ripe, red cherries, strawberries, and herbs, but also showcases smoke, earth, and a mineral finish. Another wonderful selection for proteins and pastas.

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: This menu is full of amazing quality and value wines.  The 2017 Tenuta Giustini, “Illuminato” Fiano, from Puglia. Finao is a light, white wine that features grapefruit, apricot, and tropical fruit flavors and aromas with bright acidity, and a mineral finish. This is an easy-drinking white wine pairs well with cheeses, especially blue cheese, and shellfish, all for an excellent price.

RT: That sounds great. Did anything else catch your eye?

MQ: Absolutely. A consideration for our red wine drinkers would be the 2021 Cascina Saria, Dolcetto d’Alba in the Piedmont. Dolcetto is a fantastic dry, red wine with notes of dried herbs, dried violets/floral aromas, along with flavors of dried cherries on the finish. Another food-friendly wine for pastas, pizza, 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: If you are looking for a classic, full-bodied red wine for special occasion, a wine to consider would be the 2011, Bertani Amarone from the Veneto region. Amarone is a rich, red wine with excellent structure and balance, that is produced by using dried grapes from the corvina, rondinella, and molinara grape varieties. The result exudes aromas and flavors of ripe blank cherries, blackberries, clove, raisins, and vanilla from the oak aging. An Italian classic to add to any special occasion.

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