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Is there any party that can’t be instantly improved by the sound of a cork popping for sparkling wine? But not all bubbles are created equally: you might want the best champagne or a rowdy midnight toast with Solo cups. To help you plan, we sat down with sommelier Steven Grubbs, wine director at Empire State South, for a blind tasting of four sparkling wines.
It’s been eight years since celebrity chef Hugh Acheson opened Empire State South and challenged Atlanta’s notion that Southern food is something preciously preserved in the past. But a lot can change in eight years. Empire State South’s next chapter, under newly installed executive chef Adam Waller, marks a deliberate return to the basics.
Don’t mistake this complex grape for a sickly sweet, second-class pour.
In this weekly column, Evan Mah asks Atlanta’s sharpest wine minds about all things vino. What’s Karthäuserhof? Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg? Kabinett? If you don’t know, ask Steven Grubbs. On a recent Sunday afternoon at Empire State South, Grubbs is leaning into a booth, his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing a dark tattoo sprawling down his arm. The subject of talk is Rieslings, a grape varietal from Germany noted for its high levels of acidity, complexity and warm honey bouquet. And it is clear in this moment that nobody in this city loves this often-misunderstood grape more than he does.