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About this Episode

Wine educator and sommelier, Grant Wood joins Robert Tas for an exploration of the Italian-focused menu and wine list of Tony’s Donapoli. Grant provides expert advice on the classic, adventurous, value wines, and those stand-out wines for special occasions when you want to celebrate life with a wine that brings vivacity and verve to the table. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2016 Contratto ‘Millesimato’ from Piemonte
  • 2017 Fiano ‘Cometa’ from Planeta in Sicily
  • 2016 Mocali, Rosso di Montalcino
Transcript: Tony's Donapoli

Tony’s Donapoli


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 Grant Wood, certified sommelier and wine educator.

Hello Grant, it’s great to have you back for another episode.

GW: Hey Robert, great to be back here with you!

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.

RT: Today, we’re talking about Tony’s, which is an Italian-focused menu with a one-pager wine list. A one-page list can be refreshing for the guest that helps them spend less time pouring over a long selection and more time with your dining partners.

Grant, where would you guide us?

GW: A one-page list really needs to be focused and well thought out for it to really be a success. In the case of Tony’s, there are a few gems, although for me, there are a few misses when it comes to certain selections. Every restaurant’s economics are different and so is every wine buyer’s intention. I don’t pretend to question one’s personal vision. It’s my job, however, to help make you find the gems that will make your meal that much more enjoyable.

RT: So where should we start?

GW: Let’s start with the sparkling whites that caught my eye. Though there is a few classic Champagnes, I feel that for the theme of the restaurant and for the price, you cannot go wrong with the 2016 Contratto ‘Millesimato’ from Piemonte in north-western Italy. This wine will invite a good balance of toasty, brioche aromatics with orchard fruits and citrus on the palate.

RT: You can never go wrong with bubbles but what’s next?

GW: Moving on to whites, I would reach for the clean and refreshing 2017 Fiano ‘Cometa’ from Planeta in Sicily. If you want to drink locally then I must shout out New York’s 2018 Riesling from Hermann J. Weimer, who makes fabulous wines from the Finger Lakes up state. They are truly a classic and produce wonderful, dry, and aromatic whites from an unassuming domestic region. Both wines will provide wonderful value and great drinking pleasure.

RT: Man, I keep hearing about the Finger Lake wines. What about red?

GW: For the reds on this list, if you’re looking to splurge then I would go for the 2012 Rocca Della Macie “Zingarelli” Gran Selezione from the Tuscan classic, Chianti. This is a truly great expression of one of Italy’s most famous growing regions. A great value wine would be the 2016 Mocali, Rosso di Montalcino which is also from Tuscany and based on Sangiovese but is a much easier drinking red that would pair with a variety of dishes. One more fun gem to point out is the 2011 Vinosia, Rajamagra Taurasi Riserva from Compania in southern Italy. Taurasi is a region that produces amazingly long-lived reds from the Aglianico variety.

RT: Can’t go wrong with any of these suggestions.

GW: Beyond what I’ve mentioned here, there are a few other very appropriate wines from classic regions that fit the theme of this restaurant but there are a few forgettable selections- particularly the domestics. My best advice, stick to the theme of the restaurant and ask your server not what is most popular, but rather, what excites them the most with the dishes that you are ordering. Be curious, be adventurous, and I’m sure you’ll find yourself the perfect match for your appetite.

RT: Grant Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Tony’s wine list.

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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