Looking for new pairings for your favorite fall meals? Or something that’ll make a splash at your next dinner party? Us, too, so we solicited our friend Thomas Pastuszak, Wine Director at The NoMad in New York, to share some of his fall favorites. Below you’ll find his recommendations—and everything we’ll be sipping with gusto this fall.
Champagne Savart, ‘l’Ouverture’ Brut, Ecueil, France NV
While Champagne has long been a fashionable drink and thought of more as a luxury good than great wine, there are a small handful of amazing producers in the satellite villages of the Champagne region making incredibly beautiful & expressive wines, that often deliver amazing quality for the price. Among them is Champagne Savart, who makes a Brut ‘l’Ouverture’ from 100% Pinot Noir in the village of Ecueil; racy & crisp, but with tremendous fruit & yeast character as well, a welcome change to the usual line-up of Champagne houses, and well worth seeking-out.
Ravines Dry Riesling ‘Argetsinger Vineyard’ Finger Lakes, New York 2011
Right in New York City’s backyard, a few hours’ drive away, is one of the most exciting & rapidly-developing wine regions in the world: the Finger Lakes. Known for its steep vineyard sites that dramatically hug the glacially-carved lakes, Riesling has become the flagship varietal of the area, and this example is made from one of the oldest vineyards in the region. Bone-dry & steely, with wonderful racy acidity, this is also an example of terroir-driven Riesling that also disproves that all Riesling is sweet.
Domaine Comte Abbatucci ‘Vin Gris Imperial’, Corsica, France 2012
A wonderfully intense, briny, and herbal rose from the French island of Corsica, which is becoming increasingly famous for its aromatic, mineral-tinged wines. Made mostly from the indigenous varietal Sciacarellu, the Abbatucci estate is committed to reviving the tradition of using the island’s great native grapes to make world-class wines, and putting Corsica on everyone’s wine radar.
Domaine du Pelican ‘Trois Cepages’ Jura, France 2012
One of France’s most exciting regions today is the Jura, tucked-away in Eastern France in between Burgundy & Switzerland; while the area has a very long winemaking history, there is a lot of new energy & investment coming into the area, notably by Burgundy producer Marquis d’Angerville. The Marquis recently purchased the Domaine du Pelican in Arbois, and is making some delicious wines from the already-planted vineyards; the signature red is a blend of Pinot Noir, and the native Trousseau & Poulsard grapes, and drinks very much like a juicy, medium-bodied Burgundy that is extremely versatile and a great introduction to the area.
Produttori del Barbaresco, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy 2009
Italy’s northwest province of Piedmont is known for its amazing hazelnuts, white truffles, and some of the greatest wines in Italy, made from the noble Nebbiolo grape. Often referred to as “Italy’s answer to Pinot Noir”, Nebbiolo makes intensely aromatic, lean & structured reds that can age beautifully for decades in the cellar (think Burgundy with generous tannins). Produttori del Barbaresco, a commune of some of the region’s best growers, makes a wonderful wine in Barbaresco from the Nebbiolo grape, that smells of roses, stone & sour red fruit; it drinks beautifully today and can be laid-down to improve in bottle as well, for anyone eager to start a wine collection.
J.L. Chave Selection ‘Offerus’ St. Joseph, Rhone Valley, France 2011
The motherland of Syrah is in France’s Northern Rhone Valley. Before the grape made its way to California, Australia, and the rest of the wine world, it was known for its greatness on the steep hillsides of France’s Hermitage, Cornas and St. Joseph regions. One of the top winemakers of the region is Jean-Louis Chave, whose family has been making wine in the region for close to 700 years – Jean-Louis’ most accessible wine from the area is the St. Joseph ‘Offerus’ which is bright with flavors of black pepper, fig & olive, a fresh change from the Syrahs most of us are used to, and a look to the traditional expression of this grape in France.
Born and raised in New York, Thomas Pastuszak got his first taste of the restaurant world in his early teens while helping out at his godfather’s B&B on Shelter Island. His early studies of neurobiology and classical piano at Cornell University were blown off course by the lure of food and wine, diverting Thomas into an early career with some of the Finger Lakes region’s most notable restaurants. In 2011 Thomas entered the New York culinary world as Wine Director of Chef Tom Colicchio’s Colicchio & Sons and in 2012 became the NoMad’s inaugural Wine Director, helping it achieve its near-instananeous 3-Star rating in the New York Times. Named among Zagat’s 30 Under 30, Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Best New Sommeliers, and Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Thomas is committed to sharing his love of great food and wine while helping bring the emerging Finger Lakes wine region onto the world stage.