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About this Episode

In this episode, host Robert Tas interviews Josh Ardizzoni, certified sommelier and cellar consultant, on the wine list of The Grill. They discuss the exciting side of where champagne is going, those exclusive and beautifully-aged bottles and the extraordinary value wines on the list.   

Wines reviewed include:

  • Les Beaux Regards from Béreche & Fils
  • 2015 Volnay-Champans from Marquis d’Angerville
  • 1986 Château Rauzan-Ségla from Margaux.
Transcript: The Grill

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 Josh Ardizzoni, Certified Sommelier, and cellar consultant.

Hello Josh, welcome to the CorkRules team!

JA: Hi Robert! Great to be here.

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.

RT: Today we are taking a look inside the wine list of one of New York’s most extravagant and truly awe-inspiring restaurants, The Grill.

This place is the definition of an occasion restaurant; it’s a throwback to the midcentury ‘Golden Age’ of continental dining and it is absolutely dripping with style and luxury.

The wine list here is super extensive and it seems like page after page of big-ticket bottles staring down diners ...

Josh, How do you even begin to gameplan for picking wines from a list like this?

JA: Well, it makes sense that a restaurant like this would have an absolutely epic wine program and The Grill does not disappoint!

There are thousands of selections spanning a literal who’s who of classic regions, producers, and vintages. There are so many legendary wines on offer that even the pros heads spin when they see this list - it is truly overwhelming.

Of course, we are here to help navigate this massive selection, and I thought we’d talk about a couple of carefully measured strategies to getting the very best out of this “wow factor” dining experience whether you want to pull out all the stops or escape with your next mortgage payment still on time.

RT: Hah! Alright so kick us off here - let’s talk about ways to get the meal started.

JA: The Grill has a really impressive appetizer selection including raw bar options. and especially if you’re here to celebrate, Champagne feels almost mandatory. All the big names are available – Dom Pérignon, Cristal, Krug… but I think there’s a ton to discover on the grower-side of Champagne here too.

These are wines made by the same hands that farm the grapes and really show a little more of the exciting side of where Champagne is going...

Les Beaux Regards from Béreche & Fils will only set you back about 1/3rd the cost of a bottle of Dom and is a really sexy style of Blanc des Blancs, meaning all Chardonnay grapes. It’s fresher and brighter, and will really add a whole new dimension to all kinds of cold appetizers.

Also, although there aren’t a huge number of wines on this list under $100, there is one attractive rosé Champagne, La Caravelle, which is a cool little piece of New York history named for the legendary former Midtown restaurant. It’ll do very nicely if you want to save up to splurge elsewhere.

RT: Wow, wouldn’t have thought there was that kind of value hiding underneath all those iconic Champagne names.

JA: One thing that I find really freeing is that on a list as serious as this, you can feel pretty confident that less expensive options still have a really good reason to be included with the heavy hitters. Either the Sommeliers personally likes them, or they represent the same markers of quality as the big boys, just without the history or prestige attached to them.

RT: Alright, so we need to pick a bottle for dinner now. The entrées focus mostly on, you guessed it, grilled items. What’s the order?

JA: Let’s focus on two of the most classic regions of France because I think they are really the strength of The Grill’s wine program and this is as good a dining room as anywhere to fully appreciate them! I’m talking about Burgundy and Bordeaux. If you’re feeling rich seafood dishes or tasty game birds, Pinot Noir from Burgundy pretty much reigns supreme.

If someone else is paying, you could consider the 60+ Grand Cru bins from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, perhaps the most vaunted estate in the whole wine world. More realistically, gems like 2015 Volnay-Champans from Marquis d’Angerville at or even 2017 Côte de Nuits-Villages from a rising star winemaker named Didier Fornerol for just are just about as good as younger Burgundy gets for the money.

RT: Let’s say I’m going big with a steak or the Prime Rib from their trolley that roams the dining room. What then?

JA: The meatier you want to go, I’d start to think about sliding into Bordeaux. here we are going to find blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and the like, which have a bit deeper tone and match up best with beef, venison, and lamb.

Again, there are endless opportunities to taste virtually any of the Grand Cru Classé, the most famous Chateaux of Bordeaux, and from so many vintages. You could go with a petite or second wine, produced from the younger vines of these bigtime estates.

RT: explain what petite second wine means?

JA: ….Les Hauts de Smith, which is the younger-drinking offering from Château Smith Haut Lafitte. A steal! But even considering the prices, I’m going to capitalize on the rare level of access to older, more mature wines.

RT: Love the older wines. It’s not often lists have that range.

JA: I see a supple and luxurious 1986 Château Rauzan-Ségla from Margaux, or a more powerful and complex 1995 Château Pontet-Canet from Pauillac, which has that firmer Cabernet punch. Not cheap, but very in line with the place. You simply don’t get the chance to drink great vintages like this at very many restaurants, and I think that experience is what The Grill is all about.

RT: Those really sound like bottles that would make memories. So, considering the restaurant we are talking about today, take it a step further… since they are all here for the taking, what are the dream bottles if there was no limit on budget?

JA: I’d look for the true ‘unicorn’ wines – bottlings where the overall production is super low or vintages that were all snatched up and drank by aficionados a long time ago. I’d open with the magnificent and powerful 2015 Comte Lafon Montrachet, glorious White Burgundy to pair up with the tableside-prepared wild mushroom omelette which I think just jumps off the menu as a must-order. For dinner, the legendary 1990 Hermitage from Jean-Louis Chave, one of the greatest Syrahs ever bottled…. And let’s finish with a Château d’Yquem, Sauternes from 1882, because why not? It’s fun to imagine!  

RT: If I win the lottery, I’m coming to that dinner.

JA: Hah! In all seriousness, you don’t have to be the private jet type to fully enjoy this wine list. Ask for a Sommelier to help drill down past all the flashing lights with you and find something magical in whatever price range you want to explore. There are countless great wines to choose from here – it’s just a downright amazing place to drink wine! Enjoy.

RT: Josh, thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate The Grill’s epic wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. Mother’s Day is around the corner.

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 quick 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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