Joe Campanale, Sommelier, Owner, Dell’Anima, L’Artusi, Where the chefs eat, Insider Recommendations, Where to eat in the West Village, Manhattan, Best places to eat in New York, Chef Recommendations, Where do the chefs eat in New York, East Village, Gramercy, Chinatown, Soho, Burgers, Pizza, Brooklyn, Park Slope, Asian, Upper West Side, Favorite Wines, Amaro, Digestif, Wine, Cocktails, Where to drink in New York, Best Wine Bars in New York, Best Cocktails in New York

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Q & A with Sommelier Joe Campanale

Q. The wine lists at dell’anima and L’Artusi seem to cover the spectrum, from catering to wine geeks (with wines like Radikon, Gravner, Blanc de Morgex, Lagrein, Cave de Donnas, older Barolos, etc.) to wine novices - is there a particular reference point or ideal you try to achieve with the list?

A. Wines that pair well with foods (bright acid, moderate alcohol), natural wines (many organic and biodynamic), wines from native Italian varieties (Italy has more than anywhere else and we try to showcase them), wines from off the beaten path areas, traditionally-made and terroir-driven wines, and wines that are ready to drink (many wines have some age on them, even ones that are too expensive).


Q. There’s a wide range of wine knowledge out there. How far will you go to please the customer? How do you please the spectrum or can you?

A. I just put wines on the list that I really love and hope that our guests like them too. Fortunately, they often do. That being said we do not, nor will we ever have Pinot Grigio or Prosecco on the list. Not that these are inherently bad wines, they're not. They just aren't as interesting as their alternatives.


Q. Within Italy, do you have a particular favorite regional / wine love? 

A. I love Barolo for its complexity and earthy flavors, Friulian, skin-macerated whites, wines from Mount Etna and the Vallee D'Aosta - a tiny river valley that cuts through the Swiss/Italian Alps and makes wines that reflect its unique place at the crossroads of Europe.


Q. Outside Italy, what regions are you excited by?

A. The Loire Valley, especially Savennieres and Chinon, as well as the Mosel and Kamptal.

Q. If you could create a wine list just for your personal tastes, what would it include?

A. I feel like I have created lists for my personal tastes, but if I had to really edit it would be full of Champagne, Riesling, Barolo, and Burgundy.


Q. Do you have a favorite food and wine pairing?

A. Sparkling wine with anything and skin-macerated white wines with sweetbreads.


Q. Are there aspects to the wines lists at dell’anima and L’Artusi that you focus on differently - or do you view them as a whole?

A. Both are Italian-based lists, so you see many of my favorite producers at both places. At dell'anima, space is a bit more limited and the selection is a bit more funky. For instance, by the glass we are currently pouring out of a magnum, ungrafted Nerello Mascalese aged in anfora, unfiltered and unsulphured. At L'Artusi, we have a bit more room and are able to explore verticals a bit more and there is a selection of my favorite grower champagnes, as well as some select New York State wines.


Q. You create limoncello and infused grappas for your restaurants, what inspires you when creating them? Are you more influenced by history and the origins of the drinks or the opportunity to build on the past?

A. I am a total history buff and understanding the story of any wine or digestif makes it taste that much better. But for infused grappa, I was more inspired by the fruit at the farmers’ market on Abingdon Square than anything else. Infusing a grappa with seasonal fruit is a way to preserve that season just a bit longer.


Q. As the weather slowly starts to turn warmer, spring and summer thoughts start to enter into our heads, what are your thoughts on rose? Serious wine or just for slurping on a hot summer day?

A. I LOVE ROSE! There are some very serious and delicious roses, or rosati as they say in Italy, and I don't think it has to just be a warm weather wine.

Q. Any wine that you keep at home as your go-to wine?

A. Egly Ouriet Champagne, Movia Ribolla and Palacios Bierzo.

[See details.]

Q. What’s your favorite pre-dinner drink / aperitif? 

A. Cynar and soda with lemon or a Negroni Sbagliato.

Q. Favorite after dinner drink / digestif?

A. Amaro, especialy Nardini and Nonino.

[See details.]

Q. Is there a wine or cocktail that you secretly love that would make a wine director or bartender laugh? i.e. your dirty little drink secret?

A. Lambrusco (red and white!) and... there's a 1L bottle of Gruner Veltliner that comes with a crown cap and sells for $10 from a producer called Berger, I love this stuff.

[See details.]

Q. Who else in the wine and cocktail world is doing interesting things that you should deserve more praise?

A. Gramercy Tavern: I think that the wine program is incredible. Everything is delicious here, but I just let Juliet Pope choose. I go here once a month and she never fails to pick something amazing.

Franny's: you can find a lot of my favorite wines at very reasonable prices - lots of naturally-made wines. I always have to order a cocktail here - they are amazing, a lot of seasonal and home made stuff.

Momofuku: the wine program is amazing, I just had a 97 Alsatian Pinot Gris for $65 that could not have complemented the food any better at Ssam Bar.

Veritas: amazing wine selection... they are also running 25% off their entire list for the rest of the year.

Terroir: it is easily my favorite wine bar.

[See details.]

Q. For cocktails:

A. Louis 649: a great little cocktail bar in the East Village doing classic stuff in a cozy space.

Eleven Madison Park: like everything else here the cocktails are thoughtful, delicious and stunning.

Fatty Crab: Adam makes some intense but delicious cocktails - try the Chupacabra!

[See details.]

Q. Favorite places and what you like there:

A. Casa Mono: the food is some of my favorite and the best Spanish wine list (by far) in the city.

Dovetail: it gives me a reason to leave downtown - this place is truly incredible.

Franny's and Roberta's - I love these places for the same reasons - great pizza, great vibe seasonal stuff. Drink beer at Roberta’s, and wine and cocktails at Franny's.

Ess-a Bagel: I am New York boy, there is nothing I love like a great bagel and these are my favorites. I just ran the NY marathon and I would plan my long training runs so that I could have an Ess-a-Bagel at the midway point.

[See details.]

Q. Off the beaten track places to eat, that you’d be excited to take an adventurous eater, and why?

A. K-Town: especially Han Bat for homestyle Korea and Madangsui for Korean BBQ.

A trip to Jackson Heights for street food.

Main Street Flushing for the Queens Chinese food.

[See details.]

Q. Late night places to dine?

A. Fatty Crab: I love these guys, the crispy pork belly and pickled watermelon is one of my favorite dishes in the city. Can always satisfy my fatty, sweet, spicey tooth!

[See details.]

Q. Top five restaurants (other than your restaurant or home) and why?

A. Blue Hill at Stone Barns: the most amazing dining experience. They once presented me with something that the chef picked from the garden during our meal and served it to us.

Gramercy Tavern:  there is no place that is friendlier and more welcoming - and I love [chef] Michael Anthony's food and Juliet Pope's wine - just the best.

Jean Georges: just stunning food.

Eleven Madison Park: the most comfortable fine dining place, I could stay here for 5 hours, oh wait, I did.

Maialino: I have brunch with my mom every weekend and when we went to Maialino, we agreed that it was our favorite place that we could possibly remember.

[See details.]

Q. Other favorites:

A. Faustino: I especially love the vibe and energy in this place. The wine selection is up my alley and the food is reliably delicious.

‘inoteca: drinking Lambruso and eating panini, especially on a Sunday afternoon, though its been a while since I've been able to do that.

Otto: I just love drinking wine and eating cheese at that beautiful marble bar. And the olive oil gelato, wow.

[See details.]

Q. Any exciting projects in your future?

A. We're working on a little wine bar next to dell'anima. [Anfora opened in May 2010]

[See details.]


Details of Joe Campanale’s recommendations on where to eat and drink in New York.

Cocktail Recipes

- Roasted Orange Negroni Sbagliato



West Village

Italian Wine Bar

34 8th Avenue

New York, NY 10014

T: 212.366.6633



West Village


38 8th Avenue

New York, NY 10014

T: 212.366.6633 (make a reservation)



East Village


13 East 1st Street

New York, NY 10003

T: 212.533.7400 (make a reservation)



West Village


228 West 10th Street

New York, NY 10014

T: 212.255.5757 (make a reservation)



L’artusi | dell’anima | Anfora - New york, NY

Q & A 2010

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Photo Credit: Michael Morales | Photograph courtesy of Joe Campanale | Photo Credit: Michael Morales

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