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About this Episode

Certified sommelier and wine educator Grace Hood joins host Robert Tas for an exploration and explanation of the wine list at Upland, a Californian-style restaurant located on Park Avenue. This restaurant brings a rustic vibe to the cosmopolitan setting, and the wine list is equally global. The extensive by-the-glass menu features wines from around the world. Grace explores the list and shares the background information on the nuances of terroir, weather, and varietal that influence the wines.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2006 Ridge Montebello
  • 2016 Cultivar Cabernet from Napa
  • Ceritas ‘Cuvee Chloe’ pinot noir from Sonoma coast
Transcript: Upland


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 Grace Hood, wine educator and certified Sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Great to be here as always 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 intimating, 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. So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

So, Grace today we are chatting about the California-inspired New York City restaurant Upland. What are your initial thoughts?

GH: So, seeing as I am a born and raised New Yorker who has been living in California for over a decade, I was very excited to take a deep dive into Upland. They have a fairly diverse wine menu with lots of classic regions represented. However, they do have some really esoteric interesting selections as well. Starting us off with sparkling, they have a Pet’Nat Trousseau from one of my favorite Santa Barbara vineyards, Stoplman. Pet nat is the abbreviation for “pétillant naturel” which in French translates to “naturally sparkling” and essentially what that means is a wine that naturally ferments to a sparkling wine when it’s in the bottle. In this case the trousseau, which is a lighter style French red grape, is harvested and fermented down to a certain level where it still has enough sugar to create a secondary sparkling fermentation when it is bottled and capped. This is going to be a really unique sparkling wine, and not one you’re easily going to be able to experience other places, and at such an affordable price point, it's a no-brainer!

RT: Pet nats are really trendy these days it seems with the younger crowd! Glad we could demystify the process for our listeners. What about some whites Grace?

GH: So, when it comes to the California selections on the list, they have almost an entire page of arguably the most famous white grape from California, Chardonnay. I thought I would choose a favorite Chardonnay from each region represented and explain the differences within them. So, starting in Sonoma, I would go with the Red Car Chardonnay, which is a personal favorite of mine. Sonoma is a cooler wetter region in northern California so their wines end up being more subtle and delicate, rather than their Napa counterparts like Hudson Vineyards from Carneros, which ripen in a much more sunny hotter climate, given them a lusher richer mouth feel. And then when we move south to the Central Coast, I would go with the Sandhi Chardonnay from legendary sommelier turned wine maker Rajat Parr. This chardonnay is grown closer to the coast so gets all that marine layer goodness, as well as being planted in soil that's rich with fossil and limestone, giving the wine a more mineral-driven palate.

RT: Wow amazing - not all California Chardonnay is created equal. Thanks for that lesson, Grace. Now, what stuck out to you in the reds?

GH: In keeping with the California theme, if we’re looking for light, I’m choosing the Ceritas ‘Cuvee Chloe’ pinot noir from Sonoma coast - aromatic and delicate. Or if we wanted a delicious red blend, I’m heading a little bit south to Santa Cruz for the 2006 Ridge Montebello which is a classic Bordeaux blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, petit verdot and cab franc. Ridge has been a leader in central coast wine production and I will pretty much drink anything from them!

RT: Awesome. Loving this deep dive into California wines. What about some value wines from the Upland list?

GH: You got it - sticking with the Cali theme, for white I would do the Hahn Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia highlands in the central coast. And for red I’m going with the 2016 Cultivar Cabernet from Napa.

RT: Great choices. And how about some special occasion wines?


GH: On the whites, I would choose a classic Napa Chardonnay Aubert from Carneros, and then on the reds, it’ll be a legendary Napa Cabernet producer, the 2005 T6 from Schrader Cellars.

RT: Amazing! Thank you so much Grace for helping us navigate the Upland 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. 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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