Meet the wine lover: Matthew Morgenstern of Kitchen Table Restaurants

Oct 5 2021, 4:00 pm

Earlier this year, we introduced you to a new expertly curated wine club called Wine Vikings.

This subscription service offers members six hand-selected hidden gem wines each quarter. Bottles arrive with a link to a video hosted by the local Wine Viking (aka Vancouver industry pro who chose those bottles) to guide you through their picks.

Next up: A fantastic group of bottles curated by Matthew Morgenstern of Kitchen Table Restaurants.

For each box, we’re introducing you to the Wine Vikings behind the bottles, so check out this Q&A and get a taste of what’s in store if you’re subscribed.

If not, get on it!

Tell us a bit about your journey as a wine lover.

My interest in wine began to develop at the same time as my friend group began to mature and settle down. We started spending more time enjoying drinks at home or at dinner parties. Whenever the subject came up about a bottle of wine that someone had brought, it was quickly very apparent that no one knew what they were talking about.

I began taking wine classes in the evenings so I could make better wine choices and not look like an idiot at these events. The irony is now that I work in restaurants, I never get to attend any of those dinner parties!

What has been the biggest change in the wine world since you started your career?

It has to be the emergence and growth of low intervention wines.

As consumers have become more adventurous, they have been looking for more unique and independent winemakers. Natural wine was once thought of as a fad, but it is definitely here to stay.

Which wines are the most frequently ordered at Kitchen Table Restaurants’ newest restaurant, Giovane Bacaro?

Giovane Bacaro’s wine list focuses on Northern Italian and British Columbian wines. Most of my lists I have developed at Kitchen Table have been 100% Italian wines.

When Bacaro’s Wine Director, Cassandra Mosher, decided to add BC wines, I thought they would be the most popular wines here, but I was wrong. Our guests are excited to delve right into our concept and frequently choose wines from the Veneto region.

What are the qualities to look for when purchasing a wine?

I look for wines with intensity and a long finish. Wines with notable acidity that are lively and pair well with food.

What’s the most exquisite pairing of food and wine in your opinion?

I don’t know about exquisite, as I feel like my approach to food and wine is much more casual than formal.

The perfect pairing for me is when the wine and food do not get in the way of the experience. For me, nothing is better than a group of friends enjoying a bottle of Lambrusco with a platter of assorted salumi, cheeses, and antipasti.

What is an affordable, underrated wine you can find in most liquor stores?

Giovanni Rosso 2017 Langhe Nebbiolo is not cheap at $30, but it delivers amazing finesse and elegance for this price range. Much care is taken through every step in the making of the wines from this biodynamic winery.

Any off-the-beaten-track restaurants with exceptional wine programs in Vancouver?

Dachi is three blocks from my house and it’s my favourite place for an interesting glass of wine. This bottle shop and restaurant has a great team that will always have a great recommendation.

How did you get involved with Wine Vikings?

The founder of Wine Vikings is a long-time regular of both Kitchen Table Restaurants, Ask for Luigi, and Di Beppe. We have developed a great relationship over the years, and I was happy to be asked to help with this great initiative that introduces interesting wines to people who are interested to expand their wine experience.

How did you go about choosing your wines for Wine Vikings?

The best part of this process was the ability to choose some wines outside my comfort zone of Italy. I wanted to make sure to include a mixture of Old World and New World wines.

I also wanted to create a box in the same way you might enjoy them with a multi-course meal. From a light white to a full-bodied red and everything else in between.

Which bottle from your Wine Vikings box are you most excited about?

The Voyager Estates Chenin Blanc from the Margaret River in Australia is such an intriguing wine.

We do not see many wines from this region in Vancouver and Chenin Blanc makes up such a small percentage of the wine grown in the Margaret River. This is a place I have always wanted to visit.

To learn more, be sure to check out Wine Vikings’ website.

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