Tableside with a Somm: Row 34
Tableside with a Somm: Hojoko
Skin-Contact Wines to Sip This Summer
Curious about restaurant wine lists? Each month, Boston Globe wine columnist Ellen Bhang chats with a sommelier about a couple of terrific bottles and recommends food pairings—you come away a savvier sipper.
Meet the beverage pro: If your first encounter with sherry was years ago at Tres Gatos in Jamaica Plain, you have Mira Stella to thank. From 2010 to 2014, the Dorchester native populated the restaurant’s beverage list with dry, tangy versions of the Spanish fortified wine. “That was my foray into the wine world,” she says, recalling her time at the tapas bar. “They needed a leader, so I stepped into the role.”
Today, as wine director of Row 34 in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, Stella is happy to introduce guests to bright-and-briny styles of sherry, but she’s equally enthusiastic about the other 75 bottles on the list. She describes her wine selections as “fresh and acid-driven, largely biodynamic, and with a focus on sustainability.”
One gorgeous bottle: A 2017 La Grange Tiphaine “Les Epinays,” available by the bottle, is a terrific example of what Stella is pouring. Third-generation winemaker Damien Delecheneau and his wife Coralie grow five different kinds of grapes on nearly 40 acres in France’s Loire Valley, in the appellations of Touraine-Amboise and Montlouis-sur-Loire. This particular bottle is crafted from chenin blanc grapes. “It’s remarkably clean, with linear acid, and nice weight,” says the wine director. “It’s like it came right out of the field. It has a really beautiful fruit presence in the texture and body.”
Posh plate: Row 34’s raw bar is not to be missed. With at least 10 different oysters on offer every night—hailing from places like Duxbury, Prince Edward Island, and beyond—you’re sure to find a favorite. House-made condiments include outstanding mignonettes, such as one featuring minced Fresno chilis and cilantro. After slurping those freshly shucked bivalves, dig into Tuna Crudo. One evening, that lovely preparation of raw fish arrived on top of black garlic aioli, sliced avocado, and crispy pan-fried shallots. Stella loves how the chenin blanc’s fruitiness adds plushness to the eating experience. Whether you like your raw bar with just a side of bread and butter, or as a prelude to delectably fried seafood, it’s exactly the white wine you want to sip.