Husband-and-wife team Gabe Thompson and Katherine Thompson are frequently sipping wine when they’re not in the kitchen. Because food and wine are natural companions, the duo—executive chef and pastry chef of dell’anima, L’Artusi, Anfora, and L’Apicio—applies a pairing-centric sensibility to selecting what they drink. We asked them to weigh in on their favorites, where they buy, and what goes best with bucatini all’amatriciana.
What types of wine do you like to drink? Any grape or style preferences?
Katherine: For better or worse, I got Gabe hooked on good Italian wine. I used to work at Italian Wine Merchants.While I was there, I was spoiled with exposure to so many different wines from so many different regions and producers. I also learned that more expensive bottles can be worth every penny. Now Gabe never wants to compromise. Both of us would rather drink cheap beer than cheap wine.
Gabe: I’m a sucker for any bottle of Brunello, and pretty much all Sangiovese-based wines are right up my alley. But Joe Campanale, our business partner and sommelier extraordinaire, introduced me to funkier white wines, which I have grown to love. I can’t resist a delicious Coenobium Bianco or Damijan Ribolla Gialla. I also love wines from Alto Adige and Sicily.
Are there specific bottles you love or drink on repeat?
Gabe: I’m obsessed with Gruet sparkling wine from New Mexico. It is reasonably priced and absolutely delicious. It is great on its own or perfect in cocktails, such as an Aperol spritz. It’s my go-to sparkling wine.
Katherine: Lately, I’ve enjoyed De Forville Barbera d’Alba. It’s around $15 and tastes great with pretty much anything. Like any Barbera, it is better consumed with food.
Do your preferences carry through to your wine lists?
Gabe: Rather, our wine lists dictate what we drink at home. Both Katherine and I prefer Italian wine, and we get most of our wine education from Joe and the wine lists at our restaurants. I’m sure there are other delicious wines from other locations, but Italy is our comfort spot. Plus, we know if Joe puts a wine on one of our wine lists, it must be an amazing wine. We trust Joe’s palate beyond anything else.
Where do you shop for wine?
Katherine: We love New York Vintners on Warren Street in Tribeca for their great selection of Italian wines and incredible wines from all over the world at every single price point. I usually just tell them how much money we want to spend and let the wine experts there make the selections for us. We’ve never been disappointed. Additionally, a friend of mine, Matt Franco, opened a small wine store in the West Village near dell’anima called MCF Rare Wine. I’m always asking Matt what I should drink—he selects every single bottle, and every single one is amazing. If I’m looking for a special bottle as a gift or if I need a simple bottle for tonight’s dinner, I know that Matt is the one to trust.
Do you ever buy wine by the case?
Katherine: Not frequently because all extra room in our small Manhattan apartment is consumed by our son’s toys. But if we’re going elsewhere, we will purchase a case or two of wine, usually a mixed case of sparkling, white and red. I think it is important to have a variety on hand. You never know when you might want to pop open a bottle of bubbly for brunch or a late-night bottle of red with cheese instead of eating dessert.
Is there one perfect wine and food pairing for you?
Gabe: To me, a perfect bottle of Brunello with bucatini all’amatriciana is the most perfect meal ever. Might as well include Katherine’s bittersweet chocolate budino, too.
Anything else you want to add?
Katherine: Although we don’t drink it frequently, I think dessert wine is under-appreciated. Since warmer weather is around the corner, I’m super excited about all of the summer fruits that are coming into season. There is nothing better than Brachetto with macerated berries, mascarpone whipped cream, and amaretti cookies. It’s the easiest dessert to serve at home, and the sparkling dessert wine is the perfect complement to ripe summer fruits.
We’ve polled some of New York’s most illustrious chefs on what wines they drink on and off the job. Check out the rest of this series on our food blog, Fork in the Road.