Levi Dalton has been busy tracking down the best wine directors and sommeliers of New York City. Today, he speaks with the master of one of the city’s finest and most renowned cellars: Patrick Cappiello, wine director of Gilt restaurant in New York’s Place Hotel. From what’s happening in the wine world to some of his favorite wines, Patrick lets loose for a casual conversation with Levi which can be seen in its entirety here.
As the name implies, this is not a restaurant where one should expect anything less than the best, and it has a two-star Michelin rating to prove it. This does not mean that Gilt is the exclusive bastion of the rich and famous. While a meal at Gilt might be an extravagant splurge, Patrick has worked to build a broad yet accessible wine list with wines from all regions and at all price points.
Does he pull it off? Read on to find out!
This is, of course, the goal of almost every responsible wine director who oversees a list of nearly 3,000 selections, though some do decidedly get carried away with what their perception of their restaurant is, rather than the consumers'. With their New American Cuisine 3-course Prix Fixe that typically nears $100 per person, Gilt is not inexpensive, but remains within the reach of many. I took a look at the wine list to see if that remained true of its selection. Using the near $100 tab for a meal as my limit, I sought out values, if they could be found.
First off, lets just say that Gilt’s dizzying 86 page list is particularly strong in Burgundy (white and red with a great selection of Chablis, which Patrick discusses passionately with Levi), Bordeaux and the famous names of Italy and the U.S. These are all basically priced for people who might be comfortable frequenting Gilt on a regular basis. It’s not that there are no values to be found, relatively speaking, it’s just that those segments of the list appear to be built around a certain price point which is significantly higher than that $100 limit I imposed. So what’s left to drink?
As it turns out, plenty. Gilt’s list of sub $100 is exemplary and perfectly illustrates Patrick’s efforts to work outside the mainstream in his pursuit for values. Just look at these examples I found:
Four vintages of Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile all at $95
Four vintages of J.J. Christoffel Spatlese and Kabinett under $85 a bottle
Tons of Syrah under $80 a bottle from names like Wind Gap, Peay and Graillot, with two vintages of his St. Joseph at $70 and four vintages of Crozes Hermitage at $70 featured on the list.
Want even more value? How about the dozens of Cru Beaujolais and Loire Valley reds all well under my threshold?
And yet, it actually gets better. Among the greatest values in the wine world today are the wines from Clos Roche Blanche. How great are they? Well, the three bottlings available on Gilt’s list come in at $45, $50 and $55 a bottle.
All this just proves that this list is a drinker’s list, built by a lover of wine who understands food. Take a listen as Patrick discusses who and what has influenced him over the years. Even this short list makes perfect sense. These are simply great deals on great wines, and I love the fact that both Patrick and Gilt have not only given people who have to splurge at Gilt some great options, but also recognize how brilliant these wines are with food. If you’re not interested in a whole bottle of wine, Gilt also serves 50 selections by the glass and has a fabulous choice of half bottles, as well as large formats.
In the over two and a half years that Patrick has been the wine director for Gilt, he has stewarded the list through changing times while keeping it appealing to every palate. With so much accomplished, one might be tempted to coast through the coming year, but Patrick has his goals set, as he reveals to Levi.
It’s easy to build a great list, buying expensive and rare wine is not as difficult as it may sound if you’re bankrolled properly. Filling a list such as Gilt’s requires real care, thought and understanding. It’s a great achievement and one that should be applauded.
To find out more about Patrick, Gilt and their wine philosophy, please watch the entire Levi Dalton interview here.
GILT at The New York Palace Hotel
455 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10022
p : (212) 891.8100