The Tavern’s Wine Director on What to Drink this Fall

Dave Lofstrom offers some good pairings and some even better advice.

A two-story wine wall and one of the most intriguing by-the-glass lists in New York City have quickly christened The Tavern as an oenophile’s dream. Created in partnership with Wine Spectator, the restaurant is a warm space with a bistro-inspired menu that earned a two-star review from The New York Times when it opened in 2019. To mark its reopening, Wine Director Dave Lofstrom talks up the best sips of the season.

On transitioning to fall wines:

In the summer, we drink wines that lean lighter in body and style; they’re more zesty and refreshing, which makes them a welcome reprieve from the heat. Once autumn arrives and temperatures cool, people eat richer and more substantial dishes, so they need to drink something fuller too.

On what makes a celebratory bottle:

Some people choose to celebrate with a wine they are familiar with; maybe it comes from their favorite region or their favorite grape. A wine can also be celebratory if it manages to connect the drinker to a fond memory. For me, though,the simple act of drinking wine, whatever it is, is enough to commemorate a moment.

On The Tavern’s can’t-miss pairings:

It’s hard to go wrong with a bottle of Chablis and a platter of oysters. Can we trace the wine’s fresh, saline character to the local soil that is made primarily of fossilized oyster shells? We can’t say for sure. What we can say is the pairing certainly works.

Similarly, our dish of mussels with Vadouvan curry is brilliant with a dry Riesling. The wine’s bright, lively character frames the delicacy of the shellfish, and the aromatic nature of both drink and sauce play off each other well.

On making dessert even more indulgent:

Our banana cream pie and Verdelho Madeira are a strangely delicious pair. Why does it work? It’s not for us to know—only to enjoy. In general, though, you’ll never regret drinking sweet wine with your dessert.

On his overarching wine philosophy:

It’s simple: If it tastes good, drink it. We’re lucky to have access to a huge variety of wine these days, so you can pretty much drink any wine you want whenever you want. At The Tavern, we are currently pouring 26 wines by the glass. I encourage you to come in and try something new!


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