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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas explore the wine list at The Federal where white table elegance and an innovative “new American” cuisine with Italian and French influences ensure an enjoyable and memorable dining experience, but let’s not forget the wine. The extensive wine list features half bottles, magnums, stand-out value wines, and excellent dessert wines, and fortunately, Michaela is here to help point out the bottles that will pique your palate and tickle your taste buds.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2021 Castello di Neive, Montebertotto, Arneis, Italy

  • 2017 Robert Foley, The Griffin, Red Blend, Napa

  • 2019 Domaine Christian Moreau 1er Cru Chablis Vaillons, Burgundy

Transcript: The Federal

The Federal:

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 The Federal. Located in Waltham, MA, The Federal has modernized the classic steakhouse. With a scratch kitchen and local ingredients, The Federal is a must visit.

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

MQ: You know I love an extensive wine list that also features half bottles, magnums, and excellent dessert wines. Not to mention the standout value wines. This menu has it all.

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

MQ: The Federal is also known for their seafood selections, so I had to note the 2021 Castello di Neive, Montebertotto, Arneis, from the Piedmont region of Italy. This medium bodied white wine has bright acidity, aromas of peach and nectarine, a slight effervescence, and that classic nutty/almond finish. The freshness of this wine makes it an excellent companion to shrimp, clams, and rich cheeses.

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

MQ: Now on to a red. With the extensive steakhouse dining selections, we have to consider a bold, classic Napa Valley red blend. One that I find to be a winner is the 2017 Robert Foley, The Griffin, Red Blend. I enjoy this incredible blend of Merlot, Petit Syrah, and Petit Verdot. These grapes combine to produce rich, ripe red and dark fruit aromas and flavors of cherries, and blackberries, with notes of smoke, vanilla, and licorice.  The firm tannins and long finish allow this wine to pair well with richly sauced proteins such as steak and lamb.

RT: So, Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

MQ: If you are considering lighter proteins or seafood, a beautiful wine to consider is the 2019 Domaine Christian Moreau 1er Cru Chablis Vaillons from Burgundy. Vaillons is one of the largest 1er cru Chablis appellations in Burgundy. The Chardonnay grown here is quite special. This dry, white wine is medium bodied with bright acidity, minerality, along with notes of citrus, green apple, and white peach. Certainly, a must try and don’t miss.

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: I have a personal favorite, and classic for you to consider if the rich menu items caught your eye. Do consider the 2018 Paul Hobbs CrossBarn from Napa Valley. This highly rated, organic, Cabernet Sauvignon showcases ripe blackberries and cassis, notes of herbs and cocoa, with smooth tannins on the long finish.

RT: Ooh, Terrific. Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind.  Any other great value wines you’d point us to?  

MQ: Of course. I am always excited when I find a wine from Graves on any list. Today we are discussing the 2020 Chateau Graville-Lacoste Graves Blanc. Graves is located in Bordeaux, and this light to medium bodied white wine consists of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillion. The soil in Graves, you can probably guess, is quite gravelly, which is reflected in the bright minerality in the wine. The crisp acidity, citrus, grapefruit, and cantaloupe make this quality and value wine quite the standout and perfect pairing for shellfish and rich fish such as salmon and tuna.  

RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?

MQ: We know I am a fan of Old-World wines, and I have to stop when I find those of great value. One of my favorite quality and value wine regions is Gigondas in the Southern Rhone. Gigondas is a neighbor to Chateauneuf du Pape where you benefit from the same climate, soil composition, and incredible Grenache and Syrah, but without the Chateauneuf du Pape price tag. The ripe blueberries and blackberries, along with notes of spice, black pepper, smoke, minerality,  and a touch of vanilla make this wine an excellent consideration for all richly sauced dishes.

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

 MQ: The warmth of The Federal’s dining room makes you feel as if you are dining in a historic library. If you are looking for that historic bottle to add to the experience, consider the 2012 Grand-Puy Ducasse from Pauillac on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.   This property dates back to the 1700s and has some famous neighbors Lafite and Pontet-Canet. This Grand Cru vineyard produced this stellar blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot is quite aromatic and showcases ripe blackberries, cassis, smoke, and leather, with notes of earth, mint, and vanilla on the finish. A true classic to add to any special occasion.

RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate The Federal’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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