Altamarea expert on the wines and champagnes to try in 2017

As beverage director for the Altamarea Group, Hristo Zisovski oversees the wine and champagne programs for such notable New York restaurants as Marea, Vaucluse, and Ai Fiori among others.

Hristo Zisovski
Hristo Zisovski,beverage director at the Altamarea Group  Photo: Evan Sung, courtesy of the Altamarea Group

What are the wine regions to watch?

The Burgundian examples of Chardonnays from Willamette, Oregon, and Pinot Noirs from Patagonia, Argentina.

Your recent wine and champagne discoveries:

I just experienced a small producer R. Pouillon & Fils  whose bubbles are very powerful and have expressive characteristics. As for a rediscovery, it’s great to see Chianti Classico, Italy’s most famous name in wine, having a resurgence with excellent-quality wines.

Fine Italian wines in the Altamarea Group collection Photo: Rachel Correra

What you’re drinking:
Lighter, aromatic, slightly chilled reds from Mt. Etna, Sicily; Gamay from Beaujolais; or cham- pagne.

Trends in wine and champagne for 2017:
This trend has started, but we hope it contin- ues—people are drinking more traditional wines that are not just thick and powerful but have nesse and elegance with lively acidity (don’t be afraid of it). Like the food we are eating, guests want to know more about where a wine comes from and what makes the region or winemaker unique—and see that translated to what is in the bottle.

What makes the wine and champagne collections at the Altamarea Group restaurants competitive for New York venues?
We make concerted e orts to highlight the world’s best producers in the best regions. We are also extremely proud of our extensive champagne program, with a major  emphasis on grower-producer houses as well as the top Champagne Grande Marques.

The wine collection at Vaucluse  Photo: Rachel Correra

Rarest wines/champagnes in the collection: 

Depending on the restaurant you visit, you can send 1958 Giacomo Conterno “Monfortino” Barolo at Ai Fiori, 1990 Cristal at Vaucluse, or 1985 “La Tache” from Domaine de la Romanee Conti at Marea.