What are your go-to summer and winter bottles?
I always drink tons of crisp, light, high-acid white wine, rosé and light reds with a slight chill to them in the summer. If I am at the beach house in Fire Island with friends, watching the waves crash, you can find a bottle of Peppierre Muscadet by my side. I like that the wine tastes like my view: crisp, salty, breezy and carefree. I am obsessed with this rosé from Cotes de Provence called Clos Cibonne, which is made from the native grape, Tibouren, and aged under a veil of yeast in old oak casks (you need this for your next family picnic at the park!). For late night barbecues on the deck, I drink Coquelet Chiroubles Beaujolais (and stick it in the fridge for a few minutes). I love how grilled meats and chicken bring out the smoky, game-y notes in the wine.
Tell us about a memorable wine or wine related experience.
I had the great pleasure of working the harvest in Champagne with the Laherte family in 2010. I lived in their house, ate three meals a day with the harvest team, picked grapes all day long, worked the press all evening, learned so much and made amazing friendships. I will never forget the experience or the people. I wish I could do it every year.
What's your favorite wine for versatile pairings?
I truly believe Champagne is the most versatile wine in the world for pairing with a wide variety of textures and flavors. People don’t drink enough Champagne and tend to think of it as a special occasion wine, but have you ever had a plate of salty French fries with a bottle of Champagne? Simply magic! The salt makes you want more Champagne and the Champagne makes you want moreFrench fries.
When you’re not working...
You can find me eating. Just kidding...kinda. I also love any physical activities: running, swimming, and yoga. I get great pleasure from cooking and throwing dinner parties as well as shopping for the perfectdress or shoes.
If you had to choose between an all-meat or all-vegetable diet for a month...
I would prefer an all-vegetable diet to an all meat diet but it would have to be during a summer month. I love the bounty of flavors and selections available at the market when everything is so ripe and at its peak sweetness. You can grill eggplant and make it taste meaty, but it’s hard to make a steak taste like a perfectly ripe tomato.
Laura Maniec is a native New Yorker and the former Wine and Spirits Director for over 20 restaurants across the country. She retired so she could create and run Corkbuzz Wine Studio, which will open in October to host wine-focused dinner parties, fun, unpretentious wine classes and run a wine bar with kitchen. Meanwhile, at any moment, you might find Laura attending blind tasting groups, mentoring sommeliers, hosting wine dinners for a cool corporate client, listening to French podcasts on her commute, waxing poetic about the glorious pairing of Champagne with French fries or consulting on a wine list for a new restaurant client. She tweets at @lauramaniec and @corkbuzz.