Wine Expert Laura Maniec

laura maniec food and wine

Laura Maniec may just be the most important person in New York City. The restaurateur is an expert on all things wine, and it’s no secret we love our wine here at The New Potato. Maniec’s East Village concept Corkbuzz Winestudio – a wine bar that additionally offers wine classes, dinners and special events – is no doubt a downtown favorite. What’s more, the Corkbuzz Winebar Chelsea Market outpost opens today, to the delight of west-side winos. Check out our chat with New York’s guru on all things grape…

From start to finish what would be your ideal food day? 

To get started in the morning, I need a very, very strong coffee with a splash of milk. Then, I’ll make a smoothie with almond milk, banana, avocado and spinach and take it on my stroll to the park with my dog, Rumi. Once I’m back and my coffee has kicked in, I’ll whip up an egg white, turkey, avocado and sriracha wrap. I try to be healthy in the morning so that I can cut loose the rest of the day.

One of my favorite meals of the day is Corkbuzz family meal, and I’d want chef Phil to re-create this lamb pho he served the other day that was unbelievable. Post-lunch, I’ll go for a run or exercise to work up an appetite for dinner. My favorite restaurant in the city is Lucali, a cozy, candlelit restaurant with satisfying brick-oven pizzas and calzones. I’d order the pizza with shallots, garlic, basil and mushrooms with extra sauce on the side. And, since this is an ideal day, I’d toss in an order for calzone, because, why not? It’s BYOB, so I’d open Pignan Châteauneuf-du-Pape, 2007.

Three things we don’t know about wine…

1. To find good value, look for wine from right around popular regions you love.

2. For the simplest wine pairing tip, follow the “what grows together, goes together” saying. Pairing with seafood? Select a wine from a wine region located by the ocean.

3. Champagne was originally made by accident; the wine stopped fermenting when the cellars got too cold, and the yeast went dormant. When the cellars warmed up in the spring, the yeast came alive again and the bottles likely exploded because the glass wasn’t strong enough at the time to withstand the pressure.

What was the most memorable bottle you’ve ever had? 

I’ve had some pretty incredible bottles of wine, but Raveneau Chablis Les Clos 1999 has haunted me. I was working at Fiamma in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and my friend Heather worked at a neighboring place. We would send each other interesting glasses of wine from across the host stands, and would also meet after work at each other’s restaurants. It came up that I had never heard of Raveneau before, so Heather dove into their cellar and opened it. It was like no other white wine I had ever had and I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Your personal favorite pairings…

I love salty foods, so the balance between a salty/fatty Pata Negra and briny Manzanilla sherry is perfect.

I also like fried oysters or tempura shrimp with Muscadet from the Loire Valley because the wine is bright and like lemon for the shellfish.

One of my favorites on the menu right now is Champagne with pappardelle, English peas, morels, spring onions and chevre.

The furthest you’ve traveled for wine…

The furthest I have traveled for wine was to Istanbul for a wine competition. I was part of a panel judging wines from across Turkey and met amazing winemakers. I had a few free days, which I spent exploring Hagia Sophia, Grand Bazaar and listening to the call to prayer while overlooking the Bosphorus across Asia.

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