Available on

About this Episode

Samantha Hohl, wine educator and certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit Sportello, a casual, lively Italian spirit energy in a sleek, minimalist space. This restaurant is a modern interpretation 

of a diner where guests can enjoy a bowl of handmade pasta and a glass of wine from an approachable, artisanal wine list.

Wines reviewed include:

●  2019 Occhipinti il Frappato

●  2017 Viola Shiva

●  2019 Giornata Ramato

Transcript: Sportello


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 Samantha Hohl, wine educator and certified sommelier.

Hello Sam, great to have you back for another great wine list.

SH: Hello 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 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.

Cork Rules



Sportello is located in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood and is known for their takes on Italian dishes. Its trattoria-style setting invites you to pull up a seat at the counter in front of their open kitchen and dig into a bowl of pasta.

Stand Outs

Sportello has plenty of classic drink options to go with their Italian cuisine, including a lovely list of apertivos and digestivos to start or end the night. But Sportello’s also has a really accessible wine list focusing on Italian wines of all styles so you’re sure to find a favorite or discover something new and delicious.

If it’s a red kind of night I’d go with the 2019 Occhipinti il Frappato. This red comes from Sicily and Frappato is one of the indigenous grape varietals  grown there. I love Frappato wines because they tend to be bright with red fruit, yet complex with some earthy components and have this tartness that is so good with food. This bottle will bring great minerality and refreshing acid too, making it fun to drink but a great partner with your starter. I’d sip this alongside the spicy tomato soup with taleggio and caraway crostini. 

There’s also some great classic white wine options that are going to be really nice with your meal. A white wine that caught my eye though was the 2017 Viola Shiva. This wine is made by Aldo Viola, a winemaker also in Sicily and made from 100% Catarratto grapes which are widely planted there. Aldo’s vineyards are located near Alcamo on Sicily's coast. These wines typically have a fuller body and notes of citrus and tropical fruit. This particular wine was made with 30% grapes that were dried before being fermented, adding more fruit-forward flavors. It’s also going to have herbaceous qualities and subtle notes of smoke. These aromas and flavors just take the sensory experience up a notch, and with the panzanella starter with sheep’s milk ricotta your meal is off to an incredible start.

Value Bottle

This list provides a great range of pricing. So if you’re looking to splurge a little, you’ve got options, and if you’re looking for a bottle that will elevate your meal without breaking the bank, there’s plenty of choices as well.

Something affordable and a little different would be from a small section called “Italian Style Whites” and the 2019 Giornata Ramato got my attention. This Ramato wine is from Paso Robles. Ramato is an Italian word for “coppery,” which speaks to the color of this wine since it’s not quite pink like rose and not as orange as an orange wine. It’s 100% Pinot Grigio that has been in contact with the skins for a few months before finishing the aging process. The result is a zippy wine with red fruit flavors, hints of melon, and some minerality. It will have some tannins from the skin contact so it’s able to handle some flavorful dishes, such as the Long Island duck breast with beet, carrot and cherries.


Alright, maybe it’s a big night and you’re feeling like something that’s going to take your meal over the top. I’d go for the 2016 Paolo Bea Pagliaro. This wine from Umbria is made from the Sagrantino grape, which is known for its super high tannins, making it ideal for aging. Paolo Bea wines are loved by natural wine enthusiasts and their wine production is limited, so this bottle would be a real treat. Paolo Bea farms organically and uses minimal intervention in their wines, meaning they don’t make unnecessary additions to the wine in order to show the true essence of the product. This wine will have blackberry and dark fruit flavors, with a nice backbone of earthy minerality and tannins. Pair with the Vermont Wagyu and that will be a meal you won’t forget!

Sam, Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Sportello’s wine list. I can’t wait to go try your great suggestions.  

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like Sam 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.



Want to request a Restaurant?

Interested in having a restaurant’s wine list featured in a future podcast episode? Let us know here.

Get the CorkRules App

Use the QR Code or
click on Download to install!