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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas visit Vinateria. At this restaurant in Harlem, the menu is inspired by the traditional cuisine of Italy and Spain, the atmosphere is welcoming and unpretentious, and the wine list is extensive and consistently receives the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. Michaela shares insights into regions renowned for aged wines, and excellent reds,  while offering pairing suggestions for seafood, pasta, smoky grilled foods, and cheeses and charcuterie plates.

Wines reviewed include:

  • Itsasmendi Txakoli, 2018 from the Basque region of Spain
  • Bodegas Epifanio Reserva TempraNULLlo, 2018
  • Fontanabianca Arneis, 2018
Transcript: Vinateria


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 Vinateria. Upon entry, you are immediately treated like family. This  black-owned and woman-led restaurant specializes in Italian and Spanish cuisine. Come enjoy incredible cocktails, cult Mediterranean favorites, and of course, an extensive wine list.

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

MQ: With a quick glance through the wine list, it is obvious that Vinateria consistently receives the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. We will be sharing some stand-out Mediterranean favorites that I’m sure you will enjoy.

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

MQ: Of course! The first being the Moulin de Gassac Picpoul de Pinet 2019 from the Languedoc. The Picpoul is a classic, light, white grape that exudes minerality, lemon zest, grapefruit, ripe peach, with a hint of saline along with a mineral finish. The Picpoul is perfect as an aperitif, or a perfect complement to seafood.

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

MQ: Absolutely! Since Vinateria specializes in Italian food and Mediterranean influences, must have a look at the Fontanabianca Arneis 2018 from the Piedmont region. The Arneis grape is another dry, white grape with slightly less citrus than the Picpoul, but stands out with the ripe pear, green apple, and dried apricot. Keep the Arneis in mind when looking for a unique white wine to pair with cheese and charcuterie.

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

MQ: A must try would be the Bodegas Epifanio Reserva TempraNULLlo 2018 from the Ribera del Duero in Spain. If you are like me and are slightly impatient when it comes to aging your favorite wines at home, then Spanish wines are the way to go. Spain has strict designations for their wine that are based on aging in barrel. This TempraNULLlo for example, is a Reserva, meaning the wine has aged for a minimum of three years, with one year in oak barrels. This aging allows for the rich aromas and flavors of fig, ripe red cherries, and plumb, along with a smooth finish with notes of oak and vaNULLla. This is a perfect pairing for something smoky from the grill, or pastas.

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: A personal favorite caught my eye, the Carpineto Toscana Dogajolo Rosso 2019. Carpineto consistently produces excellent reds, whites, and roses. Not only do I think you will enjoy the wines, but the labels are beautiful, and all for an excellent price. For this particular Rosso, the grape is Sangiovese. It is well balanced with ripe cherry, a touch of strawberry, and a smooth finish of vaNULLla and coffee. This food-friendly wine will pair well with veal or meat sauces.

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: Another favorite, I’ll admit, I have had an incredible time reviewing this wine list, so you must try the Itsasmendi Txakoli 2018 from the Basque region of Spain. The primary grape is hondarribia zuri. You will find your bottle of Txakoli benefits from a tall pour, or a bit of distance from your glass. This allows you to witness the slightly effervescent white wine fill your glass. It has bright acidity, slightly lower alcohol, with aromas of citrus, lime zest, herbs, minerality, and that hint of saline on the finish. This is a wine of excellent quality and value that is a great way to kick off your dining experience, or pair with seafood and cured meats.

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

MQ: Of course. An exciting collaboration which began just over 10 years ago is the Benjamin Rothschild and Vega Sicilia Macan 2015. They began finding the best locations to grow TempraNULLlo in Rioja to produce the Macan, named for the people of this Rioja subregion. The cassis, ripe blackberries, black cherries, smoke, and vaNULLla shine from the first sip. The finish lingers with a note of licorice. This will be a wonderful addition to any of the Mediterranean menu selections, as well as any event.

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