Annisa Chef Anita Lo Talks Amarone, Chardonnay and Her Perfect Food Wine


Food and wine are natural companions, so I’m polling some of New York’s most illustrious chefs to find out what kind of wine they are drinking off and on the job. After establishing they actually drink wine (a surprising number prefer beer!), I’m asking a few questions to find out who’s got a penchant for Piedmont, which chefs dislike oaky Chardonnay and why there is no right or wrong way to enjoy wine.

In today’s installation of this series, I talk with Anita Lo, chef-owner of West Village restaurant Annisa, where the seasonally curated list highlights a number of women winemakers.

Read more of this series:
Wolfgang Ban of Seasonal, Edi and the Wolf and The Third Man Talks Wine

Village Voice: What types of wine do you like to drink? Any grape or style preferences?
Anita Lo: I like a lot of different styles as long as they are balanced and well-made. The one style I’m not a big fan of is the oaky, new world Chardonnay.

Are there specific bottles you love or drink on repeat?
I love Zenato Amarone — I had 6 bottles (can’t remember the vintage) and sadly only have one left. I love Occhipinti Frappato — again, only one left! I love Domaine de Montbourgeau l’Etoile’08 (from the Jura) and La Croix du Prieur Rosé (Provence). Oh, and my favorite staff white wine is GROONER from Monika Caha selections. We drink that nightly at work.

Do your preferences carry through to your wine lists?
Big oaky Chards generally don’t go with my food, but beyond that it’s hard to say because the wine list changes often. We choose wines to go with the food, and the menu changes seasonally. My beverage manager, Gregory Fellows, has a remarkable palate; I can always count on him to select wines intelligently and with good taste.

Where do you shop for wine?
There are many places, but for retail, I like Astor Wines & Spirits.

Do you ever buy wine by the case?
Of course! I usually buy a case of a lower-end sparkling, a rosé, a white and a red per year or so. My “house” wines. I need to get into the habit of buying wine to cellar, but for now, I have more wine than I can reasonably drink, so I’m just focusing on trying to keep a balanced rack with different styles so I will never be without a good pairing.

Is there one perfect wine and food pairing for you?
I like the less intense of the Jura whites — Chardonnay or Savagnin paired with wild mushrooms and caramelized onions.

Anything else you want to add?
Hopefully I don’t sound like a wino or a drunk!

Check back next week for my chat with Frank Prisinzano, chef and owner of Frank, Lil’ Frankie’s, Supper and Sauce.