Sunday, August 26, 2007

Morandi's Attentive Wine Service

Having done a short stint as a sommelier (yes, if you blinked you missed it) Vino Girl is even more attuned to wine service in restaurants these days. As you can imagine, I have witnessed everything from the severely overdone to the ridiculously inattentive but when service is carried out just right that is what really makes me stand up and take notice.

I had heard almost universally negative remarks about Keith McNally’s latest venture, Morandi, including backhanded compliments from the likes of Frank Bruni and Adam Platt. This admittedly kept me away from the West Village Italian eatery for many months but Vino Girl decided to give it a try on Friday.

Many of the critics rants were true (claustrophobically low ceilings, somewhat cliché décor, packed-in tables) but besides that and the fact that it was approaching ninety degrees inside, it was an enjoyable place and I would go back, mainly because the wine list is varied and the sommelier provided just the right amount of service.

Considering the temperature was rising as more and more bodies were packed into adjacent tables, white wine seemed the appropriate choice. I headed straight for Trentino-Alto Adige and ordered the Kerner from our server. Kerner is usually planted in the same places as Muller-Thurgau and is a cross between Riesling and Trollinger. The wines are usually very vibrant and packed with fruit, resembling Riesling in many ways.

I was happy with my choice — and parched besides — when the sommelier came weaving over to warn us that the Kerner on the list was a bit sweet, which is unexpected. When my nose wrinkled at the mention of ‘sweet’ he suggested the Muller-Thurgau (a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner). Muller-Thurgau has a similar flavor profile to Kerner but usually has less acidity. The sommelier assured me that this Muller-Thurgau which, mind you, was nearly $20 less expensive, was vibrant and a good substitute for my first choice. Well, he was right, he was pleasant and helpful about it all, and I had an extra $20 in my pocket to get some ice cream on the way home.

Salute to Morandi!
211 Wavery Place (btwn Perry & Charles)


  1. Dear drink-the-good-stuff-team, I have to say that Mueller-Thurgau isn't a cross between Riesling and Sylvaner, but a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale.

    Best wishes

  2. Well then -- I stand corrected!

    Although it was long believed that Riesling and Sylvaner were crossed to produce Muller-Thurgau there has indeed been recent DNA testing proving this is not the case. As our friendly commenter points out, the grape is actually the result of a Riesling x Chasselas de Courtillier (AKA Madeleine Royale)cross.

    Cheers to knowledge!