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About this Episode

In this episode of CorkRules, Grace Hood visits the wine list of The Clocktower a restaurant in Madison Square that brings the best of British fare to the table and complements it with an inspired wine list that showcases 250 bottles and includes both Old and New World producers. Recommended wines include the 1994 Peter Lauer Reserve, the 2015 Philippe Foreau Sec, and the 1996 Giacomo Conterno.

Key points include:

  • O2:24: German bubbles
  • 02:50: Choosing a Vouvray
  • 04:39: The value wines


Transcript: The Clocktower

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where 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! Another day another wine list :)

RT Hahah yes, I love it Grace 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. Alright Grace today we will be reviewing the list from the fabulous British-inspired New York hot spot, the Clocktower

GH: All right then governor lollll I actually have lived in England over the years. It has a very special place in my heart for sure. Very excited to chat all things UK

RT: Man, you are a true gypsy soul born for leaving Grace hahaha so tell us your initial thoughts on Clocktower

GH: So the first thing I notice is that is has a fairly dense French section, which is actually to be expected as, for centuries, England has been one of the largest importers of French wine. Mainly b/c they were one of the wealthiest countries and their aristocracy had a penchant for French wine. In fact, some of the terminology we use in wine today comes from the Brits - like Claret. Claret is the British slang term for Bordeaux, which they imported a ton of, minus when the French and British were at war, and then the Brits got their wine from Portugal instead haha

RT: Wow I love all these history lessons. So informative.

MV: I am here to edutainRobert :) that’s Educate and Entertain haha

RT: And that you do Grace! Besides France, what other selections do we have with this list?

MV: So it definitely has a nice mix of New World and Old World. Because British cuisine leans towards salty and savor, you’re going to have lots of options when it comes to traditional wine pairings. If you wanted to kick off with a sparkling, there is actually one on the list from Germany, which I have not seen in a while - the Peter Lauer Reserve, and its a 1994 which would be a fascinating experience drinking it in 2022.

RT: Super cool! I didn’t know Germany makes bubbles!

MV: Most wine regions do have some sort of sparkling production. Whether it gets exported to the United States is another story.

RT: Ahhh good point. Definitely something unique to try then.

MV: Totally. And then in the whites section, of course a classic choice would be a white Burgundy from their extensive collection. However, if you wanted to go with another delicious French white, they have a lovely selection of Vouvray, which is Chenin blanc from the Loire Valley. Chenin blanc is a medium-bodied white grape indigenous to France but sees its largest production in South Africa; it was brought there by the Huguenots when they escaped France in the 1600s. Vouvrays can range in their sweetness levels, and it's important to read the label to make sure you’re getting the type you want. Sec, sec, is the designation for a dry lean Vouvray, while demi-sec will be a bit sweeter fruiter Vouvray. For the menu at Clocktower, I would go with the 2015 Philippe Foreau Sec - refreshing and delicious.

RT: Fantastic. Thanks for the Vouvray lesson. Where do you go when it comes to reds?

MV: So again they have a big collection of French rends here, however, I’m going to head a bit more south and go for another fabulous traditional old world country, Italy! Clocktower has a delicious collection of Barolos, which is the Nebbiolo grape grown in the north of Italy. I like to call Nebbiolo the pinot noir of Italy - its delicate, aromatic and depending on where its grown, it can be light and zingy, like Barbaresco, however Barolos are a bit more tannic and bold and definitely need more time to age, but when you pop one open that’s had its time to mature, it is more notorious for being rich and inky and velvety, and is definitely my personal favorite Italian red. On the Clocktower list, I would go with the 1996 Giacomo Conterno. A 26-year-old Barolo ooooo wee that’s going to hit the spot.   

RT: Amazing. Can’t be a fabulous Barolo. Now how about those value wines if you’re not looking to go over the top?

GH: You know - you can never go wrong with a rose! Rose’s are traditionally very affordable, as well as being absolutely delish, and a great alternative to whites. I would go with the 2018 Thibault Boudignon, Rosé de Loire. And then on reds, let’s do the Saintsbury Pinot noir from Carneros, which is one of the most unique Ava’s in American b/c Carneros can technically be considered both Napa and Sonoma, as it is split in half with the east side being in Napa and the west side in Sonoma.

RT: Super cool. Now what would you pick for a special occasion wine?

GH: Ya know what, let’s stay in Napa, and order the 1987 Dunn Howell Mountain, which happens to be my birth year, and honey let me tell you, 35 years old for me and this wine - we’re both at a great age :)

RT: Incredible. Grace, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Clocktower

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 an 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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