10 Lessons on Becoming a Champagne Connoisseur

Born into a vineyard family in Cognac, France, Carl Heline has become one of the foremost international authorities on champagne, not to mention a passionate, thoroughly engaging ambassador. He now acts as Director of Education for Champagnes at Moet Hennessey USA (whose portfolio includes Ruinart, Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicqout, Dom Perignon and Krug). He graciously took the time to chat with BlackBook about the mysteries and misconceptions of the bubbly—here’s what we learned.

Carl_Heline_Champagne image

Stop treating champagne as just a status symbol or a celebratory treat.

“It is luxury—but it doesn’t need to be linked to celebration. The French, when we go to a party, we come with a bottle of champagne; it could be April, it could be June. But I brought a $45 bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label to one of the first dinners I was invited to here—and the host put it away and said he was going to save it for a special occasion.”

If it’s from California, it’s just fizzy wine.

“If anyone discovers how champagne tastes as opposed to those sparkling wines, they will choose champagne. Every single product we use, from the bottle to the cork, is more expensive, it’s better quality. It’s also in the way we age the champagne.”

A great deal of pressure goes into the bottle—so don’t “pop” that cork.

“The second fermentation creates so much pressure…it’s 90 PSI, which is more than twice the pressure in a car tire. And it’s so much higher than the sparkling wines, where they just add the gas…like Coca Cola does.”

Veuve_Clicqout_Champagne image

Don’t believe all those other claims. Champagne was created in, well, Champagne.

“If the question is who invented sparkling wine, that could be anywhere in the world. If the question is who invented champagne, it would have to be in Champagne, by definition. It’s not because we are arrogant French people. It’s because there are a hundred reasons why it can only be made in that region. It’s the most regulated wine region in the world.”

Don’t visit the Champagne region of France for the weather.

“The weather in Champagne is awful! It rains 220 days a year, it’s freezing cold in the winter. It gets as much snow as Vancouver—and to grow vineyards in Canada would be impossible.”
(BB epicurean tip: We suggest taking your champagne at St Moritz—which enjoys more than 300 days of annual sunshine.)

Dom_Perignon_Champagne image 2

It’s important to know your grapes.

“It’s about the blending, from two, three, five different years—as opposed to the vintage, which is all from one year. The Pinot Noir is like the backbone, the skeleton, the structure. The fruitiness will come more from the Pinot Meunier. And the Chardonnay will bring the spiciness and the acidity and the floral aromas. If you do drink 100% Chardonnay, you will lose the fruitiness.”

Seriously, enjoy champagne with a meal.

“In France, we drink champagne on Tuesday at lunch! I personally love it with shellfish, with a light curry, or even a croque monsieur. The rosé champagnes are actually very good with meat.”

Forget the media-established hierarchy when choosing a champagne.

“People often ask me what is the best champagne. And I say the best is the one you prefer. But what would be a glass of champagne that 99% of the time would please me? I would definitely go with the Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial. It has what I would call an elegant maturity.”

Moet_Chandon_Champagne image

Put away those flutes—it’s wine, it should be in a wine glass.

“Champagne really needs to be in a white wine glass. When it comes to tasting, smelling, and really feeling the quality of the wine, the flute is the worst glass you can have. And people always drink it too cold, which is maybe why they don’t know it is a great wine—it kills all the aromas.”

The French are not uppity about champagne.

“Champagne is regarded as a higher luxury than it needs to be. If you look at the best champagnes, at $200 a bottle, they are cheap compared to several thousand for the best other wines. If you ask collectors what were some of the best wines they have had, they will say La Mouline ’69, Cheval Blanc ’45…and then they will tell you Krug ’28, Krug ’29, Dom Perignon ’73. They consider that champagnes are some of the best wines in the world.”

Cooking with Flowers: 3 Spring Recipes to Cook Up from Oasi Zegna

Image from “FLOWER LANDSCAPES. Fabrics. Flowers. Recipes.” Courtesy of Marsilio Editori.

When Ermenegildo Zegna acquired the Heberlein fabric archive, thousands upon thousands of fabric swatches were made available as inspiration to the house’s talented designer, Stefano Pilati. (There are over 2,200 books with fabrics from the 1920s through 1980s to look through, separated into many categories, one of which is Flowers.) With this new wealth of inspiration, Zegna brought in curator Maria Luisa Frisa, the artists Lucy and Jorge Orta, and chef Davide Oldani to create Fabulae Naturae, an artistic event combining food, florals, and art, just in time for Milan Expo 2015. A celebration took place at Zegna headquarters in early May. If you’ll be in Milan, drive a few hours out to the Oasi Zegna in the mountain town of Trivero to see contemporary art housed at the oasis and view the archive exhibition in person.

To coincide with the celebration of food and flowers, a book of recipes was released, featuring beautiful collages of the floral fabrics (as seen above) paired with recipes with flowers and herbs at their core. Lucky for us, we can bring inspiration from the archives right into our kitchens. So in honor of spring, here are three spring recipes to cook up now: nettle soup with chive flowers, marinated trout with sage and wild garlic, and elderberry and basil flower sorbet. Buon appetito!

Nettle soup with chive flowers

200 g nettle tops
2 potatoes
1 white onion
around 1 1/2 l vegetable stock
30 g butter
1 spoon chive flowers
thin slices of bread

Wash the nettles, grain well and shop coarsely. Wash and slice the onion, put it in a casserole with half the butter, cover and sweat. Add the nettles, mix and stew for a few minutes, then add the potatoes (peeled and diced), pour in the stock, cover and cook for around 30 minutes. Put the soup through a mill or work it with a and blender. Spread the remaining butter on the bread, lightly toast it in the oven and dust it with the grated nutmeg. Serve in bowls garnishes with chive flowers and accompanied with the croutons (separately).


Marinated trout with sage and wild garlic

1 large rainbow trout (around 800 g)
2 sticks celery (white or green but must be tender)
in season salad
1 dl fresh cream
1 green lemon (or lime)
1 teaspoon of dill
1 teaspoon of sage flowers
1 teaspoon of wild garlic flowers
apple vinegar
bay leaf

Mix the lemon juice with the cream, add salt and pepper and put in the fridge. Wash the salad, drain thoroughly and lay out on a large serving dish. Wash the celery, remove its stringy filaments, slice it thin and add to the salad. Prepare a court-bouillon with water, onion, aromatics and a little apple vinegar. Cook the trout for 20 minutes or so. While it’s still hot, remove the skin and bones and, with your fingers, gently break the flesh along its natural segments, arrange on top of the vegetables, sprinkle dill over it and dress with the sour cream. Serve immediately.


Elderberry and basil flower sorbet

225 g sugar
250 ml still mineral water
100 ml moscato wine
12 corymbs elderberry (newly blossomed)
flowers of 5 sprigs red basil
2 lemons
1 egg white

Boil the water with the sugar for 4 minutes and then pour it over the flowers. Leave to cool. Drain off, pressing well, add the wine, lemon juice and eff white (lightly beaten), mix well and put in the ice cream machine for long enough to adequately solidify the sorbet. Serve decorated with elderberry and basil flowers.


Receipes from “FLOWER LANDSCAPES. Fabrics. Flowers. Recipes.” Courtesy of Marsilio Editori.

Where and What to Sip in Los Angeles Tonight: Four Wine Bars To Know

Photo: Courtesy of Barbrix

Happy Saturday, oenophiles. It’s spring time–no other reason is needed to start the evening off with a well-picked glass of wine. Whether you’re in New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles, we’ve got expert selections at hand. Enjoy the sommelier picked selections and the stellar ambiance at these wine bars and toast the weekend.

A.O.C. Wine Bar and Restaurant
8700 West 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Photo: Aaron Cook|AACK Studio

Photo: Aaron Cook|AACK Studio

Owner and Wine Director Caroline’s Styne’s spring wine selections from A.O.C include:

2014 Cassanova della Spinetta, Rosato “This rosé is a blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Prugniolo Gentile, made by one of my all-time favorite winemakers, Giorgio Rivetti,” Styne says. “The wine is a pale salmon color (perfect for Spring!) (ed note: we’ll come back to this!) and is clean, bright and fresh with delicate melon notes and vibrant acidity. It makes the perfect accompaniment to dishes made with the season’s early produce and can hold it’s own through a light outdoor lunch or more serious dinner.”

2012 Patrick Baudoin, Anjou, “Effusion” “This Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley is the epitome of elegance and really speaks of the clean, freshness of Spring. It is bright and lean with hints on the nose and palate of apples and pears and delicate hazelnut. It is at once forceful and elegant showing soft fruit notes alongside a vibrant and racy acidity,” Styne says.

2012 Soliste, Pinot Noir, L’Esperance, Sonoma Coast  “This is an absolutely gorgeous Pinot Noir, from Claude Koeberle of Soliste. This is my kind of Pinot, lean and elegant with pretty pure red cherry and pomegranate fruit notes on the nose and palate, a striking mineral component, silky texture and balancing acidity,” Styne notes. “It is the perfect embodiment of the season.”

2442 Hyperion Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Photo: Courtesy of Barbrix

Photo: Courtesy of Barbrix

Photo: Courtesy of Barbrix

Barbrix sommelier Claudio shares his seasonal selections:

Reisling “Stein. Terassen,” Salomon 2012 Austria  “Spring means my favorite, fava beans, are around and fava & reisling is just a terrific combination. This wine pairs so nicely with the produce this time of year brings” he says.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, La Quercia ’13 Italy  “This medium to full fruit wine pairs great with spring lamb and meats, and complements grilled items too,” Claudio notes.

7274 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Photo: Courtesy of smoke.oil.salt
Photo: Courtesy of smoke.oil.salt

Stephen Gelber, the Owner and wine director of smoke.oil.salt. suggests these two wines for the warmer seasons:

Ameztoi Rubentis Txakolina “I love the Txakolis from the basque region all year-round, but especially the rosés for summer. The Ameztoi Rubentis, from the Getaria region in Basque, is very fresh and lively, with notes of strawberry and melon. It finishes with just a touch of salinity, and is a great food wine,” Gelber notes. “We pour this at smoke.oil.salt. out of a porrone from height, which activates a slight frizzante, and also serve it by the glass. It’s a fun wine.”

Bodegas Bernabé Navarro Tinaja de la Mata “This is an organic white wine, a blend of Merseguera and Moscatel, fermented in amphora without sulfites, rendering it ‘orange,'” Gelber explains. “The result is a wine with bracing acidity, and oxidative tones that give it a structure solid enough to match seafoods or meats. Navarro is a very creative winemaker producing very cool artisanal wines in Alicante. We serve this one by the bottle and by the glass at SOS.”

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen
1119 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Rustic Canyon - Interior 4 - Emily Hart RothPhoto: Emily Hart Roth

Rustic Canyon Bar - Photo Credit Emily Hart Roth
Photo: Emily Hart Roth

Rustic Canyon’s Wine Director and General Manager Steve Infield shares his picks:

2014 Robert Sinskey Rose Vin Gris Los Carneros “This is a very vibrant rosé with a lot of bright, red fruit quality like strawberry and watermelon that pairs great with the seasonal produce available,” Infield says. “It will also be one of the best wines to drink all through the summer!”

2013 Leitz Dry Riesling, Rheingau, Germany “A great Riesling for those who don’t want sweetness or something too tart,” Infield notes. “Just the right amount of acidity makes it a great wine to drink on its own as the weather gets warmer, or even as a nice white with barbecue.”

5 Superb White Wines under $30 for Spring + What to Play While You Sip

Photo: “Bodega Ribera del Duero Vino Asador Rafael Corrales Aranda de Duero” by Pravdaverita – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

With the beginning of Spring, white wines will be exceptionally tasty. Here are a few to try.

Spring means fine seafood, fresh weather, and group gatherings over some great white wine. The following wines have all been selected accordingly for the sunnier season–and their palatable price range (all five picks are under $30).

Once the bottle’s been uncorked, hit play on our custom playlist–perfect for a small treat for a date-night-with-yourself.


Kim Crawford 2012 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, $16

kim crawford


Cederberg Winery Bukettraube 2010, $24


Domaine de la Villaudière 2012 Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre), $29

audiere sancerre

Mastroberardino Falanghina  2013, $21 


Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio 2013    $15


It’s Tartan Week! A Scottish Guide to the Best Whisky Cocktails

The Scots will always be welcomed in NYC – because let’s face it, how could we not love a people whose gents can rock a skirt while drinking us all under the bloody table?

So, as 2015’s Tartan Week once again sees the our Scottish friends throwing parties all over town (The New York Tartan Day Parade is Saturday, the 11th, this year lorded over by Hobbit / Outlander star Graham McTavish), we asked the guid lads at the West Village’s hip Highlands gastropub to enlighten us as to what should be swirling around in our glasses during the festivities.

Slàinte mhath!

Highlands gastropub image 2

Scotch Old Fashioned  (pictured above)  AnCnoc 12 yr Scotch, Sugar, Angostura & Orange Bitters, Orange Twist

Mary Queen of Scots   Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or, Leblon Reserva, Lillet Blanc, Rosemary Bitters

Mamie Taylor   Great King Street Whisky, Artist’s Blend Pickett’s Ginger Beer, Fresh Lime Juice

The Catholic Guilt  (pictured below)  Black Grouse Blended, Ginger, Lemon, Fig & Orange Bitters, Fernet Branca Float

The Highland Smash   Dewar’s Highlander Honey, Brown Sugar, Crushed Mint, Lemon, Soda


Where To Sip What Wine In NYC: Three Wine Bars To Know

Photo: Courtesy of Corkbuzz

What could be better than ending the day with a light, springy wine? Even if it’s not feeling much like spring, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t go about our April business as intended. Three top NYC wine bars lent us their sommeliers to let us in on their seasonal faves. Not that we needed any encouragement to indulge, but custom recommendations will serve.


Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011 and 13 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10003



CB_CM_Banquettes_WEBPhotos: Courtesy of Corkbuzz

Corkbuzz’s master sommelier Laura Maniec’s shares her picks for three rosés featured in Corkbuzz’s new “Spring into Rosé” tasting.

Christophe Lepage Pinot Gris Rosé ’12, Côtes Saint Jacques, Burgundy, France “This is the lightest of the three Rosés on this list. It’s got more of a dry, French style. It’s pale pink in color, and is an easy-drinking Rosé. What’s interesting about this wine is that it’s made from a white grape, which is a super rare style of Rosé,” Maniec notes.

Arnot-Roberts ‘Luchsinger Vineyard’ Touriga Nacional Rosé ’14, Clear Lake, California “Arnot-Roberts is a boutique California producer. It’s a limited production Rosé that is sure to sell out before Spring even gets started,” Maniec says. “We managed to get our hands on just a few cases. It’s a slightly richer wine with notes of strawberries and hibiscus,” Maniec notes–you might want to hurry over to try this one sooner than later.

Altura ‘Chiaretto’ Sangiovese Rosé ’10, Isola del Giglio, Tuscany, Italy “This is one of my personal favorite Rosés of the moment. It actually looks like a light red. This wine is from an island just off the coast of Tuscany. It has a little more tannins than most Rosés. It’s perfect for meat dishes like a grilled hanger steak salad or something with pork. It’s got a ripe, refreshing acidity that also lends itself to pasta dishes,” Maniec says.

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels

249 Centre Street, New Yok, NY 10013

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels - New York, NY

compagnie de vins surnaturels - new york, nyPhotos: ©Noah Fecks

The wine selection at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is curated by Fabien Suquet and Caleb Ganzer.
Faugères Château de la Liquière, Les Amandiers 2013
“I chose this wine because when the almond (amandier) trees are in bloom, it’s a sign in the south of France that spring has arrived and winter is on its way out,” Suquet tells BlackBook. “This wine was born on schist soil perfect for the season, from grape varieties of carignan, grenache, syrah and mourvedre.  This wine, created by winemakers Sophie and Laurent Dumoulin, accompanies beautiful days with sips of red fruits and sweet spice for good balance. It’s fresh and crispy and goes well with lighter foods like salads, and even BBQ.” Suquet says. 
Goisot, Sauvignon de Saint Bris, Burgundy 2013
“A favorite wine of mine that works perfectly with the Spring weather, and the Spring mindset, is Goisot, Sauvignon de Saint Bris, Burgundy, France 2013. It’s on our list at $43 and completely over-delivers. Yes, this is Sauvignon Blanc. Yes, this is Burgundy. Despite what we are normally taught, the two are not entirely mutually exclusive,” Ganzer explains. “Saint Bris is located nearly equidistant from Sancerre, Chablis & Champagne, thus you have this great confluence of temperate growing climates which keep the fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc in check along with chalky limestone soils with fossilized oyster shells which lend a ton of fresh minerality to the finish. It’s the perfect wine for a spring pea & scallop risotto or roasted asparagus & chèvre,” Ganzer suggests. 
Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Rouge Frais Impérial, Corsica, 2013 “Red wine is not usually the first thing one thinks of when Spring is mentioned, however this light rouge has enough bright, crisp fruit flavors to provide as much refreshment as any good white: Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Rouge Frais Impérial, Corsica, France 2013. Made with the local Sciacarellu (sha-kuh-RELL-oo) grape, this wine has a deft, feminine touch of cranberry & pomegranate fruit notes with a slight smokey, granite underpinning of mineral flavor. I like it with a slight chill to help make the fruit notes pop. A great wine for lamb carpaccio!” Ganzer says, making a case for reds in spring. 

Vin Sur Vingt

1140 Broadway, New York, NY 10001 and 201 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10014, and The Plaza Food Hall at 1 West 59th Street | New York, NY 10019

VSV NoMad Back_ChariniPhoto: Charini H.

VSV NoMad Bar Relf_Sean JPhoto: Sean Jones

VSV NoMad Front_BW_ChariniPhoto: Charini H.

VSV NoMad Full Bar ChariniPhoto: Charini H.

VSV Wine SelectionPhoto: Courtesy of Vin Sur Vingt

The experts at Vin Sur Vingt suggest the following two wines as their top picks for a visit to their bar for spring.

Touraine Chenonceaux, Domaine Vieil Orme 2012 “The vines used for these wines are between 25-35 years old. It’s a 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Domaine Vieil Orme is a traditional artisanal producer practicing sustainable farming since 2009. The aromas include passion fruit, pear, and almonds.”

Côte de Duras, Domaine Mouthes le Bihan 2011 “This is a 50-plus year old vine (certified organic). The grapes include Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.  The aromas include citrus and white peaches, with squashed fresh grapes.  This wine offers good structure and fat on the palate.”

Check out our guide to spring wines and the best wine bars in San Francisco here. 



The Top 5 Corsican Wines For Spring

You could do worse than to be a vintner in Corsica. (Like being one in Uzbekistan.) The French collectivité territoriale – meaning they don’t take all their orders from the Élysée Palace – is a resplendent island in the Mediterranean, vaguely equidistant from Provence and Tuscany.

Yet its wines have lurked in the shadows if its famously epicurean neighbors, especially in the US market. But this week, from April 8 – 10, “Being” By Wines Of Corsica, will showcase the island’s best oenophilic offerings in a most artful setting.

Taking place at the Openhouse Mulberry Gallery in New York’s Soho, the event will feature representatives from top Corsican producers, along with wine tastings and daily seminars. The space was specially designed by Mexican painter Gabriela Bravo Clavello and Beatrice Inn Wine Director Aaron Zeebrook – both of whom spent ten days on the island during harvest season.

For those unable to attend, we asked La Nuit En Rosé founder Pierrick Bouquet to offer his top Corsican wine picks for spring tippling.

Clos Venturi Rosé 2014

A fruity and crisp Rosé made with 100% Sciaccarellu grapes and has a smooth body and is pale red in color.

Clos Culombu Rosé 2014

An elegant dry pink wine with fruity notes made with 50% Niellucciu, 30% Sciacarellu and 20% Grenache and pairs perfectly with fish.

Domaine Vico White 2014

A rich and refreshing full-bodied Mediterranean white wine with strong floral aromas and made with 100% Vermentinu grapes.

Domaine Maestracci E Prove Red 2012

A full-bodied French red wine with a deep black cherry color and has hints of spices, liquorice and red fruits. It pairs well with meat and is made from Nielluccio, Sciaccarello, Grencache and Syrah Grapes.

Domaine de Torraccia Reserve Oriu Rouge 2011

A dense, fruity and elegant red wine with an opaque red color, made from 80% Niellucciu grapes and 20% Sciaccarellu grapes.



Photos by Aaron Zeebrook

Toasting Spring: Five Wine Bars to Check Out in San Francisco

Photo: Press Club

We’re putting a cork (literally) in deep reds of the colder seasons and raising an expertly-curated glass to sunshine, a nice breeze, and the end of a long day’s work. We chatted with the sommeliers at some of our favorite wine bars in the whole U.S. of A. (see San Francisco here, and check back later for guides to Los Angeles and New York City) and have here, their exclusive picks for your springtime orders right here.


320 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102


ENOCharcuteriePhotos: ENO

Joel Kampfe, Certified Sommelier, and ENO Brand Wine Director makes the following recommendations for spring sipping:

Floral whites such as Viognier, especially 2013 Kivelstadt Viognier, Roussanne blend from Lake County, Ca.

Light, bright and aromatic reds like Nebbiolo, such as 2007 La Castellina Valtalina Nebbiolo.


216 Townsend Street at 3rd. San Francisco, CA, 94107

districtPhoto: Caterina Mirabelli

District San Francisco 1 high res Dec 2014Photo: District

District’s sommelier and wine director Caterina Mirabelli recommends the following picks for spring:

County Line Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley, Napa, CA 2014. Of this pick, Mirabelli says, “It is a 100% Pinot Noir Rosé from the producers of Radio Coteau. It has notes of raspberry, key lime, lemon zest, lemon verbena an a touch of cherry on the nose and palate. It’s crisp and fresh with a bright acidity and a lively, dry finish.”

Tournage Riant, Grolleau Noir Blend, Touraine, France 2013 “This wine is your traditional, provence-style rosé, blended with malbec, cabernet franc and gamay. It has notes of sour cherry, lemon curd, cherry liqueur, and lemon zest on both the nose and palate. For a rose, it’s somewhat full bodied, with a mild acidityand a long, lingering and dry finish,” says Mirabelli.

IdleWild winery is home to the only Grenache Gris in the states. It has 110 year old vines. “Their Grenache Gris, Mendocino County, CA 2013 is not a red wine and yet, not quite a rosé–it pushes rosé to the brink of being a light red wine. A truly esoteric glass, it has intense notes of orange spiced tea, cinnamon sticks, blood orange, raspberry tart, and cherry cordial are found on both the nose and palate. It’s medium bodied with a refreshing acidity and a long, spicy finish,” Mirabelli notes.

The Hidden Vine

408 Merchant Street, San Francisco, CA, 94111



fireplace2hiddenvinePhotos: The Hidden Vine

The Hidden Vine’s sommelier, Jessica Jamison, makes the following wine recommendations for spring:

Alex Kaufman Riesling, Central Otago, New Zealand 2013. “This crisp and dry Riesling has aromas of gardenia, honeydew, and green apples. A perfect pairing with sunshine and a friendly game of bocce,” says Jamison.

Triennes Rose (Cinsault), Provence, France 2013, “Nothing says Spring like Rose! Light bodied and dry with hints of unripe strawberries and orange peel. This wine pairs perfectly with pulled pork sliders,” Jamison says.

Press Club

20 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA, 94103

Taste-PressClub-Food 130(1)

Photos: Press Club

The head sommelier at Press Club, Mauro Cirilli, notes that every spring their menu focuses on fresh green ingredients from local farmers and the wines are chosen to match.

His top three picks for spring include:

2014 Turnbull Sauvignon Blanc of which he notes that, “the acidity brings out the fresh flavors of the springtime ingredients.”

Ampelos Viognieror or the red Italian Parpiniello Monica di Sardegna have “aromatic, fruity, and floral components,” Cirilli notes.

Stoller Pinot Noir from Oregon is “smooth and elegant and won’t overpower even the most delicate of spring dishes,” says Cirilli.


301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA, 94105

RN74 bar lounge high rez

RN74 bar high rez(1)Photos: RN74

David Castleberry, Lead Sommelier at RN74, makes the following wine recommendations for the season:

2014 Arnot Roberts Touriga Nacional Rose from Clear Lake, CA. “It’s bright, red fruited and delicious,” he says. “The kind of wine that screams to be drunk on spring afternoons.”

2011 Chablis from Moreau-Naudet “A 100% Chardonnay coming from Burgundy in France and a nice departure from the oaky-buttery interpretations of the grape,” Castleberry notes. “It’s got loads of citrus and fresh apple, stony minerality and more acid than Burning Man. Oysters? Yes please!”

Check out our guide to what to sip where in NYC here.


Celebs Come Out For Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2004 Bash

Many of the boldest-faced names in art, fashion and society came out Friday evening to literally toast the unveiling of Dom Perignon Rosé Vintage 2004. Indeed, the fabled champagne house gathered the likes of Timo Weiland, Cyril Duval, Amanda Lepore, Vikram Chatwal, Pippa Cohen, Sean MacPherson and Ivy Supersonic at the Walter de Maria Studio space for a truly multi-sensory experience.

Nightlife goddess Susanne Bartsch produced and directed the madcap theatrical ensemble Rosé Cabaret, while Johnny Dynell took to the decks. The late artist de Maria’s historic home was transformed into a Dom Pérignon “Kingdom”, where a week-long series of related experiences will take place.

Dom Pérignon hosts Kingdom - Rosé Cabaret Party Launching Dom Pérignon Rosé 2004

Dom Pérignon hosts Kingdom - Rosé Cabaret Party Launching Dom Pérignon Rosé 2004

Dom Pérignon hosts Kingdom - Rosé Cabaret Party Launching Dom Pérignon Rosé 2004