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About this Episode

Grace Hood, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit Smitty’s Grill in Pasadena where they serve all-American comfort food accompanied by a well-rounded wine list from their award-winning wine cellar which has been recognized by the esteemed Wine Spectator every year since they opened their doors. And Grace is here to identify those bottles on the list that are sure to impress your guests. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Kosta Browne, Russian River Valley

  • 2018 Shae Vineyard from Sonria Vineyards, Willamette Valley

  • 2016 Marchand Tawse, Burgundy  


Transcript: Smitty's Grill

Smitty’s Grill

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 Hey Robert! Happy to be here as always 

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. Today Grace and I will be reviewing a Pasadena staple, Smitty’s Grill. Grace what are your initial thoughts on Smitty’s Grill

GH: Well right off the bat, they herald themselves with “American comfort food at its best”. Say less Smittys Grill! I’m here for it ;)

RT: Oh man who doesn’t love comfort food? Mac and cheese. Roast chicken. Food for the soul. Always puts you in a good mood. How is their wine list looking?

GH: Looking great! Not too big so we’re not overwhelmed with choices. Different varietals and styles and price points. Def something for everyone here at this Pasadena dining room away from home, as they say hahah

RT: I love it. Where would you like to start? Bubbles as always?

GH: Hey I don’t make the rules. I just choose the wine hahah but fun fact – champagne is a great pairing for everything, but especially fatty rich decadent meals, aka comfort foods! So if you wanted to pair with champagne, they have some really beautiful choices. From the Mignon Gentile Grand Cru, to the Philipe Gravier Grand Cru. And if you wanted rose champagne, they have a Bollinger which is always a solid choice

RT: Champagne and comfort food. What a life we live! Are you seeing some good selections in the whites as well?

GH: Absolutely Robert! If you wanted to go with some classic California selections, I would do the 2020 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, or the 2017 Newton Chardonnay from Napa. However, if you wanted to go with some more unique wines that you don’t see a whole lot of production from in California, they have an albarino out of Monterey from the La Marea Vineyard, and then they have another old school varietal, Ribolla Gialla from the Massican vineyard out of Napa.

RT: Awesome. Really giving folks lots of options in California. Love it! Do you have some nice old-world options for whites as well.

GH: Oh for sure! If you’re feeling Spanish, they have a Verdejo from Nisia vineyard out of Rueda, or if you wanted French, they have a Burgundian Chardonnay from Pascal Clemente. And they also have a few nice riesling selections. I would pick the 2017 from Jean Baptiste out of Rheinhessen Germany.

RT: Great global grapes grace! Haha! Say that five times fast.

GH: Great global grapes grace, great global grapes grace hahah

RT: Now how are we looking for red wine? Interested to hear the Smittys grill selections

GH: Starting off light with pinot. I would do the 2019 Kosta Browne from the Russian River Valley, or the 2018 Shae Vineyard from Sonria Vineyards out of the Willamette. Or if you wanted French pinot, I would go with the 2016 Marchand Tawse from Burgundy   

RT: Yum those all sound like great choices. What about some merlots or malbecs for those medium bodied drinkers?  

GH: Say no more Robert! They have a 2013 Merlot from the Coho Vineyard out of Napa. And they also have a 2015 Valle de Maipo from Cousino Mocoul from Chile.

RT: Delicious. Any good Italians?  

GH: It’s like you’re reading my mind Robert! Haha! My picks for Italian would be this 2015 Barolo from Fontanafredda, or if you wanted something bigger and bolder, they have a 2016 Brunello di Montalcino from San Felice

RT: Bellisima! Now I assume they have some killer tannic cabs from California, being a Pasadena restaurant and all   

GH: 100%! They have a 2017 Coho and a 2016 Heitz, both from Napa, as well as a 2017 Paradigm from Oakville.

RT: Oh yum. Those will all really stand up to the delicious comfort foods on the menu. Grace, thank you so much for helping us navigate the list at Smitty’s Grill. 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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