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About this Episode

Camila Alvarez, wine sommelier and consultant, joins Robert Tas to explore and explain the wine list at Quality Italian, a modern Italian-American steakhouse with an extensive wine list and a strong focus on Italian wines. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Tenuta di Fessina “Il Musmeci” 2014 Etna Rosso Riserva
  • Cheval des Andes from Argentina
  • Chateau Montelena 2018
Transcript: Quality Italian

Quality Italian

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where we review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Camila ALVAREZ, wine sommelier and consultant.

Hello Camila, it’s great to have you join our CorkRules Family!

CA: Hello 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 wine lists can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, 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 Quality Italian a modern Italian-American steakhouse brought to you by folks who brought us Quality Meats located near midtown. I love this place and their chicken parm myself. It has a great energy and wine list to match.

Camilla, I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their extensive wine list?

CA: Well, I think this list has a different approach to the client, a strong Italian wine list but at the same time, they have different types of champagne.

What caught my attention is the large selection of different types of pinot noir and chardonnay. The famous pinots from Oregon, California and the elegance and history of Burgundy.

On the other hand, there are sections called “the section meat market” with some wines selection different than the cabernet but that could be great pairings as well with steak. I think is a good idea for someone who wants to taste something different.

RT: What type of cabernets or similar grapes do you see?

CA: Type from Italy…Malbec.

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

Difficult to choose just one, it is a wine list where we can find all kinds of wines.

RT: Me too.

Some wines take my attention for example the Tenuta di Fessina “Il Musmeci” 2014 Etna Rosso Riserva, a blend of Nerello Masacalese and Nerello Cappuccio. The Etna volcano gives rise to a strain in the most prestigious form, with aromas of red fruits and flavors of black cherries, and violet flowers. Herbal and mineral notes due to the terroir of the Etna volcano. The 2014 has a great potential of ageing, and we can find balsamic and roses flavors. We can taste the earth in this wine very particular from the volcan.

RT: Ooohh those sound great.  So, Camila, their list seems to have lots of ways we could go but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

CA: There are several wines to try, I just have my focus on the section meat market, I have to say the Cheval des Andes 2013 is a must-try, why this because it is the perfect match between the new and old world, a blend from mostly malbec, some cabernet sauvignon and a touch of Petit Verdot that adds more peppery flavors.

RT: Wow that sounds interesting, more like a Bordeaux blend but tell us about Petit Verdot it’s not a common grape folks know?

CA: Petit Verdot is a French grape variety from Bordeaux is a grape variety that is again appearing among many producers, due to its capacity to adapt to hot climates much more than cabernet sauvignon. It adds more structure to the wine, due to the amount of tannins.

RT: Thanks for the primer. So, the Cheval des Andes from Argentina sounds great.

CA: What more can be said about this wine, elegant with fine aromas of black fruits such as raspberry. Round tannins and a balanced level of acidity, soft and enveloping in the mouth. From Bordeaux to Mendoza a mix of elegant and fresh wine.

Could be paired with different types of meat and can be also a good pairing with smoked salmon, the level of acidity will match very well.

RT: Well, I usually like Red with fish, Argentina has some terrific wines and great value as well. I’m very excited to try more and more from that region.

So, this list has so many great choices, what other wines would you suggest for our second or third course?

CA:  Chateau Montelena 2018 is a great option with fish, this is a chardonnay with notes of vaNULLla and oak but at the same time, fruit flavors as anana’s and green apple, the acidity is medium so this kind of wine matches with several types of dishes. Also, this is a good option for the first wine of the dinner.

RT: Ooh, Terrific.

Camila, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind.  any other great value wines you’d point us to? 

CA: Of course, the Italian white wines have great value, I can recommend Paolo Bea “Santa Chiara” 2016 GRECHETTO BLEND from Umbria, it is a blend from Malvasia, Garganega, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. If we want an aromatic and powerful aroma wine this is a great option for a very good price, from citrus, and smoked minerality to the elegant bouquet of white flowers and intense honey to some fruit flavors such as peach and nectarine

The freshness of this wine will rock your palate, price is very reasonable for a wine list this.

The balance of the different grape varieties is amazing, I strongly recommend this white wine.


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


CA:  Of course, for special occasions, Bordeaux is always a great idea, I can recommend one that I really like to enjoy with a colleague at work, Château Calon-Ségur 1996 Grand Cru Classé from St Stèphe, we rest into the classic wines with great aging potential, black fruits: cassis, black plum, violette, spices and vaNULLla aromas.

RT: Oh, that’s great, it’s has good age on it too!

CA: 1996 is one of the best years not only for the quality of the wines but also because of the quantity. High concentration of aromas especially the cabernet sauvignon and high tannins.

RT: Any other suggestions?

CA: Other option could be, Patriarch 2017 from Frank family vineyards in Rutherford, it is a full-body cabernet sauvignon with great structure, the black fruity flavors are there with long and extraordinary length.

RT: Cabs are always a good call for me, especially with meats/steaks.  

CA: I 100 percent agree

RT: Camila Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Quality Italian’s wine list. I can’t wait to go back and try your great suggestions.   

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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