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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit Sportello, a casual, lively Italian 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, 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 Sportello. Sportello, which is Italian for counter service, entices diners in this Boston Italian eatery, with u-shaped counters around the open kitchen. Come hungry and ready to enjoy homemade pasta dishes.

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

MQ: I am so excited to share a number of current and new Italian favorites from Sportello’s list. We know my favorites, not to worry, we have all new selections today.

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

MQ: I can’t stray too far from bubbles, so let’s begin with the NV Venturini Baldini Lambrusco, from Emilia Romagna. This Lambrusco is a dry, red sparkling wine that features aromas and flavors of red cherries, raspberries, with a touch of plumb, and is a must pair with cheese and charcuterie.

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

MQ: For our hearty, red wine drinkers, consider the 2017 Negro Lorenzo Barbera d’Alba Superiore, from the Piedmont. This is another stand out wine that would fall into our quality and value category as well. This Barbera showcases aromas and flavors of plumb, ripe, red cherries, with a note of lavender. This would make an excellent pairing for proteins, herbed sauces, and pasta. Barbera is meant to be enjoyed young, so feel free to enjoy a bottle anytime.

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, especially if you are looking for a wine to pair with spicy dishes, would be the 2019 Hofstätter Gewürztraminer, from Alto Adige. You may be familiar with Gewürztraminer from Germany and Alsace, however, Italian Gewürztraminer is just as beautiful. This medium-bodied white wine, features tropical fruit, peach, and ripe pear. The acidity is a touch lighter with a touch of sweetness on the finish. This sweetness comes from the fruit itself, and not additional sugar. A beautiful wine to pair with cheeses and lighter fish as well.

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 favorite white wine to consider would be the 2020 Mastroberardino Nova Sera Greco di Tufo, from Campania. The white grape in this selection is Greco, and is bone dry, medium bodied, with notes of pear, white peach, lemon zest with a mineral finish. This would be an excellent wine for the table, especially if you are considering some shellfish, or pasta with seafood.

RT: Ooh, Terrific.

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

MQ: Of course! We will visit Liguria and Puglia for two quality and value wines. Starting in Liguria, a white wine to consider would be the 2020 Bruna Pigato. Pigato is the white grape in this Northern Italian wine, and is similar in style to Vermentino. Grown on the coast, this wine is medium-bodied, with aromas and flavors of peach, pear, green apple, and citrus, with a mineral and slight saline finish. Another consideration for any pasta and seafood dishes.

RT: That sounds great. Can’t wait to hear about the wine from Puglia.

MQ: Heading to Puglia, consider the 2015 Menhir Primitivo di Manduria. The Primitivo grape is the Italian name for Zinfandel. If you are seeking a bold red wine to pair with heartier pasta dishes, this red selection is a winner with ripe blackberries, plumb, black cherries, with cocoa and vanilla on the finish. All of this amazing quality for an excellent price.

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

MQ: A wine to consider for any special occasion would be the 2005 Cantina del Pino, Albesani Barbaresco from the Piedmont. Cantina del Pino has been family run since the 1920’s focusing on crafting wine representative of the perfect microclimate and limestone dense soils. This Barbaresco, crafted form the Nebbiolo grape, has a bit of age to it, which I find adds to the elegance and balance of this beautiful red wine. When I mention a wine being balanced, this Barbaresco features both tart, red cherries along with earth, herbs, spice, and oak on the finish. A lovely addition to any special occasion.

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