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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and host Robert Tas navigate the wine list of Union Square. Located on East, 19th street, this restaurant was founded in 1985 with a menu that is inspired by the Union Square Greenmarket. It’s all about fresh, local ingredients, and the restaurant has won five James Beard Awards. 

Wines reviewed include:

  • Etna Bianco Benanti 2020 from Sicily
  • Crivelli Grignolino d’Asti, 2020
  • Domaine de la Grosse, Pierre Douby Morgon, 2019
Transcript: Union Square

Music Intro:

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!


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 talking about Union Square. Established in 1985, Union Square draws inspiration from Union Square’s Green Market, by incorporating local ingredients with contemporary dining.

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

MQ: I could spend all afternoon enjoying some of their famous bar nuts and perusing this extensive wine list. I’m looking forward to sharing some old-world and new-world classics.

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

MQ: I spotted the Etna Bianco Benanti 2020 from Sicily. This white wine from Mt.Etna is 100% Carricante. We have already discussed many unique white grapes from Italy, however, this Carricante is dry, with aromas and flavors of fresh green apple and of course that hint of salinity on the finish. As you may know by now, I love to add details about the climate and soil…all of these attributes that add to the character of the wine. Here, of course, the minerality is due to the volcanic soil and salinity from the Mediterranean climate offering ocean breezes. This grape can be compared to Sauvignon Blanc, or Assyrtiko, and would pair beautifully with all seafood.

RT: That is for sure unique.

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

MQ: Absolutely! Staying in Italy I would certainly consider the Crivelli Grignolino d’Asti 2020 from the Piedmont region. Another unique Italian grape, the Grignolino is a medium-bodied red wine that offers aromas of violets with red cherries and pepper. This would be a must-try if you are a Pinot Noir fan. Look for the Grignolino if you are looking for a pairing for your mushroom, or savory dish.

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 love to mention wines of excellent quality and value. I would offer the table a bottle of the Domaine de la Grosse, Pierre Douby Morgon 2019 from Burgundy, France. Morgon is a sub-region within Burgundy specializing is Burgundy’s other red grape, Gamay. Gamay is medium-bodied with blackberries, black cherries, with a balance of smoke and spice. This is a wonderfully food-friendly wine, especially if you are considering pasta or veal, all at an excellent price.

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. Heading back to Italy, I would recommend the Tiberio Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2020. Abruzzo is located along the calf of the boot of Italy. Here we find ourselves again facing ocean breezes from the Mediterranean climate. I’m sure by now, you can sense the bright acidity of the Trebbiano. This dry, organic, white wine also features fresh apricot, peach, and grapefruit flavors and aromas with a beautiful mineral finish. Perfect for seafood and anything fried.

RT: For me personally…

MQ: Absolutely!

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

 MQ: Time to head back to the New World for a Napa classic. I would consider the Mayacamus 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from the iconic and storied vineyard established in 1889. With a 95-point rating from Decanter, this is your classic CA Cabernet. The rich black current, ripe blackberries, cinnamon, and nutmeg from the oak aging, along with a note of violets on the finish certainly allow for this wine to showcase any celebration.

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