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LA Magazine talks wine with George Pitsironis

May 18, 2015

Our esteemed Wine Director, George Pitsironis, was featured by LA Magazine in their piece on modern wine. Make your reservation today and let George recommend a pairing for you. www.table8.com / www.opentable.com. You can read the full article below or at this link.

Wine Lists of the Future

Here’s what you’ll be drinking, according to L.A.’s new wave of sommeliers
May 18, 2015 Jonathan Cristaldi
Want to see the future? Dive in to The Brand New L.A. Week at LAmag.com! Inspired by “L.A. on the Verge”—a far-reaching guide to the big boom transforming the Los Angeles that appears in our June issue—we’ve prepared five days’ worth of stories about the city’s exciting next chapter. How will L.A. look, work, and even taste in 2020 and beyond? Read on to find out.
The paradigm is shifting in the wine world. The old guard who’ve long influenced our drinking habits (and resisted change in the industry) is giving way to a modern movement—a new wave of outspoken personalities, i.e. the social sommeliers, who champion iconoclastic winemakers, emerging regions, and novel approaches.
These days, when the competition for space on wine lists is so fierce, new styles of traditional varietal wines are becoming the norm. Grapes like Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Albariño are stealing the spotlight, and radical new techniques—from anfora-aged, skin-fermented whites to wines aged in concrete eggs—make for compelling (and sellable) narratives.
Additionally, the rise of the social sommelier has helped to catapult an esoteric range of natural, organic, and biodynamic wines from boutique producers in the U.S. and smaller countries, including Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and even Lebanon, while also ushering in a young, rebellious set of winemakers from countries like Italy and France, who have thrown off the gloves of tradition to create some of the most exciting wines in recent memory.
Here’s what some of L.A.’s new guard has to say about what you’ll be seeing on wine lists (and drinking more of) in 2016 and beyond.
Hirutza 2012 Hondarrabi Zuri, Getariako Txakolina, Spain, $17
Jason Eisner, beverage director, Gracias Madre: “Low alcohol, pithy, and slightly effervescent wines will start popping up everywhere—a good example of this is the savory, gentle, palate pleasing Txakolina grape from Spain’s Basque region that is going to take Los Angeles by storm. At Gracias Madre, I carry this wine, which is a mouth full to pronounce, but totally worth every sip.”
Buoni Anni 2012 “Bianco” Santa Barbara County, USA, $32
Guy Gabriele, owner and wine director at Love & Salt: “I believe the most exiting changes are taking place in our own backyard—California Central Coast—where great Rhone varietal wines are being produced along with stunning Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara. This is a white blend of Tocai Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Pinot Grigio from top vineyards in Santa Barbara County.”
Bellwether Cellars 2013 Riesling “A&D Vineyard” Finger Lakes, New York, $22
Matthew Kaner, wine director and co-owner of Bar Covell and Augustine Wine Bar: “Wines from the Finger Lakes of New York are growing in popularity—Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Pinot Noir. I visited the region this past September and was blown away by the dry wines being made by specialized producers. There’s also been a big shift in seasonal drinking, and consumers are finally learning the wine vernacular, which is paramount to their ability to communicate drinking desires.”
Rovellotti 2005 Costa del Salmino Riserva, Ghemme DOCG, Italy, $50
Taylor Parsons, general manager and beverage director at République: “Sky-high prices and the increasing scarcity of the grand wines of the Old World means that lists will be taking even bigger positions on stuff from outlying and/or forgotten areas. The reds of Alto Piemonte fill the vacuum perfectly—just serious enough, but purely and unequivocally delicious.”
Kellerei Bozen-Cantina Bolzano 2014 Weissburgunder, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy, $13
George Pitsironis, wine director, Union Restaurant: “Italy has so much to offer in terms of whites that are indigenous varieties and food-friendly. I have seen a wonderful adventurous spirit from guests open to trying fun Italian whites that are not Pinot Grigio—varieties like Verdicchio, Vernaccia, Pecorino, Fiano. This wine which comes from the Alto Adige region where most of the Pinot Grigio is produced, yet a wine like this Weissburgunder (Pinot Bianco) is what the locals drink on tap for themselves.”

Occhipinti TK “Il Frappato” Sicilia IGT, Sicily, $37
Piero Selvaggio, owner of Valentino: “I’m seeing more and more biodynamic and natural wines—also fresh white wines with no oak, crispy, like a Grenache Blanc or supple like a Grillo from Sicily or a white Malvasia. Look for young producers like Arianna Occhipinti and her Frappato from Sicily—a dazzling wine that will stir dreams of Sicilian countryside while you sleep.”
Habit 2014 Rosé Vogelzang Vineyard, Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara, USA $23
Elisa Terrazas, assistant wine director and manager at a.o.c. Wine Bar.: “Rosés are very popular right now, because they’re fun for the summer–refreshing, bright, acidic, clean and loaded with bright red berry character. Jeff Fischer, who makes Habit, knows how to rock out a rosé that is clean crisp and should be at every pool party or oyster party.”
Camossi NV Brut Satèn, Franciacorta DOCG, Italy, $20
Christine Veys, wine manager at Sotto: “Italian sparkling wines on well curated wine lists are the next hot thing. Think Franciacorta instead of the obvious choice of expensive Champagne to celebrate a special occasion. This was the first Northern Italian wine that Jeremy Parzen put on our list because this is what people are drinking all over Italy. ‘Satèn’ refers to the appellation’s silk producing roots as well as the wine’s creamy finish.”

Union Pictures from Visit to James Beard Foundation

April 23, 2015

The Union crew had the pleasure of cooking at the James Beard Foundation. We brought our chef and our Wine Director who gave the eaters a series of dream pairings. Check out lots of great photos and tons of gorgeous food porn from the event below.
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1 duck proscuitto
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Interview with Jeff Fischer of Habit Wine

March 24, 2015

Habit Wine is one of the small batch wine labels our esteemed Wine Director, George Pitsironis, loves to have on hand at Union. New on our wine list is their 2014 Rose, which you won’t be able to find in too many other places due to its very small production. And recently, Chef Kalman and George Pitsironis served Habit Wine when they were given the honor of cooking dinner at the James Beard Foundation.
Habit Wine was started by Jeff Fischer, a man who prides himself on knowing his vineyards and providing his customers with sustainable wines that taste great.
From the Habit Website:

Habit is fortunate enough to be able to work closely with the best vineyard sites throughout Santa Barbara County.

All of our vineyards are managed by Coastal Vineyard Care Association which has a strong commitment to farming using sustainable, organic and bio-dynamic practices.

You can read more about Jeff and Habit wines at their wesbite. Please enjoy our interview with Jeff below. Continue reading…

Decoding the Wine List: California Central Coast Reds

March 4, 2015

LA Magazine featured our Wine Director, George Pitsironis, in their piece on California Central Coast reds for being able to find “Boutique gems”. You can read Union’s snippet below or find the entire article at this link. Here at Union we’ve got a skillfully hand picked list of wines by one of the best Wine Directors in the business. Won’t you drink with us? www.opentable.com Continue reading…

Our Wine Director Suggests The Perfect Wine For Your Holiday Party

December 22, 2014

Our esteemed Wine Director, George Pitsironis, wants you to bring the perfect bottle of wine to your next holiday party or dinner. We suggest getting your wine from Everson Royce (right around the corner from Union) where they have an amazing selection of wine, spirits and beer.


Says George of Everson Royce:

“Randy and April are the owners of Silverlake Wine and they just opened Everson Royce with Joe Capella. This shop has the same concept. They look for great producers from all around the world. It’s small boutique stuff. They pay respect and attention to vineyards that do things the right way.
Everson Royce is a great place to get your holiday wine for entertaining or for your home. They have great prices and are vey hands on. They have an amazing staff that is also super knowledgeable. Tell them what you like and they will put something in your hands that you really love.”

Here is the list of George’s hand-picked wines that are sure to make you look good this holiday season.

From George:
Their Langhe Arneis is a great everyday wine. It’s an excellent starter wine and goes well with mild cheeses. If you’re not into bubbles, this is a great wine to start with before you get into the massive feast.
From George:
We carry the Rosso Piceno, But Everson Royce carries the more simple Montepulciano D’Abruzzo It’s a great every day drinker and a fantastic table wine. It also goes great with turkey.
From George:
This wine is a single vineyard wine and all organically farmed. The vines were originally planted by Richard Sanford who is one of the godfathers of the valley and his grapes produce a world class Pinot in the Sta. Rita Hills. Jeff fisher, is the owner and wine maker at Habit. He truly symbolizes hands-on winemaking. His wines can be found in top restaurants around the country. Union only carries his Sauvignon Blanc, but you can get their other wines at Everson Royce.
From George:
Bill and Cindy Wenzlau are locals in Pasadena. Very sweet people. They have talented wine people making their wine. Their Chardonnay pairs very well with fancy white truffle dishes. This one is more of a splurge for the holidays.
From George:
This is a great Nebbiolo. It’s all Brunate fruit from younger vines and very small production. It drinks like a baby Barolo. It’s a gem and the perfect red wine for truffles.
Everson Royce is located at: 155 N. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91103.