Revealing Value Wines, Crowd Pleasers and Misses at Pulino's

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Welcome to Eater's newest column, Decanted, in which Wine Chap's Talia Baiocchi guides us through the treacherous world of New York wine lists. For the inaugural column we go, of course, to Pulino's.

    Restaurateur Keith McNally and Wine Director Chris Goodhart—the match made in imperialist restaurant heaven—land face first into yet another pot-o-gold with Pulino’s.

    The brief wine list wears the Goodhart stamp well, falling somewhere between the unbridled homage to Italy found at Morandi and the casual American bistro list at Schiller’s. Three parts Italian and one part domestic make up the nearly 50 selections, with most falling below the $50 mark. Wines by the glass are all between $7-13, and the $18 per carafe standard found at most of the McNally joints comes into play here as well.

    WHAT TO DRINK:

    Bang for Your Buck
    Fiano ‘Gaia’ 2006, Cantina Giardino $55 –Directly imported by Goodhart after his recent visit to the winery, this cloudy, savory marvel of hippy winemaking is a McNally exclusive. An uncommon reward for the open-minded that plays a perfect patty cake with the Porchetta pizza.

    Under $40
    Vernaccia Nera ‘Serrapetrana’ 2007, Collequanto $35 - Tuscany’s ubiquitous white grape dons a convincing disguise here in its escape to Marche. This new arrival has made a dent in our wine consciousness with its genetic makeup of flowers, ink, and dark fruit. A whole lotta wine for $35.

    Crowd Pleaser
    Negroamaro Blend ‘Neprica’ 2008, Tormaresca $25 – Puglian Kool-Aid. Bright, fruit-forward, and impossibly likeable.

    Off the Beaten Path
    Moscato Secco ‘La Gazzella’ 2005, Ezio Voyat $89 – One of the greatest dry bottlings of Moscato on God’s green Earth, thanks to Italy’s favorite hermit virtuoso. While tucked away in the country’s northernmost nook, Voyat pumps out small batches of this nimble, yet aromatically uncontained artisanal nectar.

    Break the Bank
    Darmagi 2001, Gaja $180 – An excellent value (retailing for about the same price at present) and worth the coin if you’re in the mood to go big. Culty, flashy Piemontese Cab boasting all the trademark polish that has come to make Gaja’s wines legendary. At 9 years out this is definitely showing its bones, but could still use a jog in the decanter.

    WTH? (i.e. category for mildly offensive wines)
    Syrah ‘Dry Creek Valley’ 2006, Unti Vineyards $73 – CA Syrah can be downright sinister, and even though this beast is balanced, it’s still blow-your-head-off big. If you’re trying to bed your date, though, this is the next best alternative to tequila and a roofie.

    WineChap is a start up that seeks to foster more intelligent boozing by demystifying the culture that surrounds restaurant wine lists. Currently the site boasts more than 160 wine list reviews in New York City.

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