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What should be on The Bear’s wine list?

Popular FX hospitality-focused drama The Bear is returning to screens next month and questions have been asked about the wines that should appear on the restaurant featured in the show. 

(Image: Disney+/FX Productions/The Bear)

The drama, which features Jeremy Allen White as head chef Carmen ‘Carmy’ Berzatto, Ebon Moss-Bacharach as restaurant manager Richie Jerimovich and Ayo Edebiri as sous-chef Sydney Adamu, is mainly focused on the mountainous task of turning a much-loved but tired sandwich joint in Chicago into a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Despite the importance of wine to fine dining, and it being featured in the background of several critical episodes — including one of the most important called “Forks” in season two — it wasn’t until the final episode of last season, manager Richie mentioned a ‘cru Beaujolais’.

This caused an amusing and rather fantastic debate on the popular reddit thread — r/wine — with a user suggesting a list of bottles that should appear in the restaurant, based on the characters, location and ‘type’ of restaurant that ‘The Bear’ is trying to be.

Suggestions included a mixture of Old World and New World wines, including Sicily’s Frank Cornelissen “MunJebel FM”, Morgon’s Jean Foillard “3.14”, an Evening Land “La Source” Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and also a Domaine de La Cote “La Cote” Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills.

In line with its discerning status, the user also thought wines from Macedonia, Alto Adige and a Raul Perez “Sketch” Albarino would be a good match for the general vibe of The Bear.

The choices

Drilling down into the excellent collection, the Munjebel FM is a 100% Nerello Mascalese produced from the lower elevations of the Feudo di Mezzo cru, which is situated in the heart of the Etna wine region, and vintages often score around 91/92 points from critics.

Cornelissen is a Belgian-born winemaker who has now become a big player in the Etna scence since 2001. Interestingly, he avoids chemical, traditional or organic and biodynamic treatment, preferring an extremely low-intervention approach. Most of his vineyards are very old, ungrafted vines of Nerello Mascalese. You can usually find a bottle of the wine mentioned for around £50-60, according to wine-searcher.

In terms of the Morgon, the 3.14 is a classic example of the appellation’s wines and the Côte du Py’s decomposed shale. It has notes of stone fruit such as sour cherries, violet and kirsch. A great wine to match with Sydney and Carmy’s Michelin-aspiring dishes.

It’s not a surprise that a La Source Pinot Noir was mentioned on the list, as it often gets top scores in US wine competitions and journals, often scoring in excess of 95 points and as high as 98.

The wine, which you can pick up for around £68-70, comes from the top of Seven Springs Vineyard, “where western sun and wind are at their most intense”, Evening Land states. It says of the wine: “The earth feels close – sandalwood, bay leaf and leather lead a forested nose into star anise and well-integrated oak, with red fruit and Navel peel lurking underneath. Weightless but dense, soft but linear, this wine slaloms through level after level as airy tannins melt into the finish”. Sounds just like an intense episode of The Bear.

 

Taking the traditions of France and applying them into a contemporary US setting is the essence of classically-trained and Michelin-starred restaurant chef Carmy’s raison d’être, so Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman’s vision for Domaine de la Côte’s of being “California’s definitive alternative to Burgundy” will match his objectives for The Bear.

The estate’s Pinot has notes of orange peel, red cherry, and a “savoury backbone”, according to the producer, who has an “intense, quality-focused approach”, which definitely makes a good match for the Chicago establishment.

Other choices

Reddit users responded to the ‘dream list’ by highlighting their own bottles, such as “some old school Piedmont” on there, such as Produttori, and a few bottles of  Gaja “purchased through dubious means”, as the show often explores the underside of Chicago life.

Responding, another user said: ‘Maybe some Elvio Cogno old vine Barbera?”

According to the producer this wine is created in an “open-air museum” of a vineyard with vines older than a hundred years. The small plot, situated in Berri near La Morra, has a sandy-chalky terrain has a low production per hectare which it says “guarantees an intensely rare and rich organoleptic concentration”. The wine is aged in oak casks which is “complex even as a young wine” but is also “not afraid to be aged in bottle”.

Another said: “Based on the family history, they definitely have Chateau Palmer Alter Ego.”

It makes sense to have a Bordeaux on the list, and this left-bank Margaux bottle is a great staple for The Bear. A classic that has recently gone biodynamic, it is the perfect mix of the new and the old for a chef with Carmy’s astute and discerning credentials. Alter Ego is a blend of Merlot (51%), Cabernet Sauvignon (43%) and Petit Verdot (6%).

Another user added that they weren’t so sure on some bottles, and that Richie seemed more like a “Bacardi and Coke” character than a wine buyer, but added: “Maybe Matthiasson. Or maybe Uncle Jimmy has a few cases of old Dunn in his cellar he could sacrifice.”

One redditer also highlighted a very useful Instagram video, which actually shows the wines which have been put on the shelves, including a Pet Nat and a Nebbiolo. See the full video below:

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