Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier | Rouge Tomate - Find. Eat. Drink.

Pascaline Lepeltier, Sommelier, Wine Director, Rouge Tomate, New York, France, Where to drink wine, Where to eat, French, Recommendations, Sommelier’s Recs, Where Sommeliers Drink, Where Sommeliers Eat, Insider Recommendations, Brittany, Loire Valley, France, Angers, Wine Education, Wine Bars, Drinking wine in New York, Wine Stores, Wine Shops


New York, NY


Q. Tell us about your philosophy about putting together the wine list at your restaurant?

A. I am very lucky to work in a restaurant with strong and honest commitments to the quality and integrity of the food, as well as the social, environmental importance of the way to run a restaurant business. The wine list is following the same path with ‘real’ terroir-driven wines of great quality for the value, open to any kind of palate or geekiness, but with a concern put on the way the grapes are grown and the wine is made.

You can find a delicious, complex, unique and expressive wine and you don’t need to spend a fortune for it. Plus, you are supporting the best ways of farming.

Today the wine list is around 700 references, most of them being of the not-so-trendy movement of low and natural intervention, meaning organic, biodynamic, natural wines. There are wines that I have been drinking for over 10 years. I have increased the list a lot in certain areas: the Loire, the Eastern Europe, the New York sections. These regions are fantastic for their complexity and price.

I am also looking more and more at older vintages. I think one of the big challenges of my generation of both sommeliers and guests (I started in 2005) is missing the experience of how a great wine ages. It’s a unique experience, a benchmark you need to be able to drink if you want to understand a little bit more what wine is all about. These wines also tend to have a moderate mark up.

Finally, I try to have a decent section of fortified and dessert wines. You can find so many incredible wines, and very few guests seem to be into it anymore, so we need to enhance them.

Q. What are some of your favorite hidden gems on the list?

A. To be honest, I think there is quite a lot. Of course from the Loire Valley, there are quite a few incredible Chenin Blancs from producers not yet in the spotlight and the same goes for the Cabernet Franc. You will find also really good wines in the South West and Jura, as well as in the other sparkling category. Don’t hesitate to ask, there are always gems not on the list!

Q. What specific wines are you currently drinking that should be on our radar and what do you love about them?

A. I am drinking a lot of sparkling wines recently – most of them cremant and sparkling, because I can’t drink Champagne every night. I’m especially fond of wines from Alsace, Loire, Jura and Savoie. There are a lot of great bubbles from these regions around. I always have a bottle in the fridge.

I also drink a lot of south west France wines. Because of the complexity of appellations, grapes and producers, people don’t pay attention and miss real treats.

Q. Michael Madrigale recommended you for the work you have done creating the Rouge Tomate wine list. Which sommeliers would you recommend and  why? Who is putting together really creative, interesting wine lists?

A. Lee Campbell at Reynards. Lee is a true inspiration – she knows what she is talking about (she used to work with Joe Dressner). She is a real restaurant person and she cares about both the winemaker and the guests. Her list at Reynard is short and changing all the time and 100% spot on for me.

Juliette Pope at Gramercy Tavern. I don’t know why more people don’t speak about what Juliette is doing. Yes she inherited the work of various great wine directors, including Paul Grieco, but she has kept the quality level and improved it, which is quite a challenge! Gramercy Tavern is my favorite wine list in the city.

Thomas Pastuzak at the NoMad. Thomas is so passionate and I admire the challenge he took with his position – not only a restaurant, but bars, a lounge and room service. He put together a great, open-minded list with a lot of ‘under-dogs’ – like New York or natural wines. He is promoting to a crowd that may not have ever tasted these types of wines before.

NYC | Buying & Drinking Wine

Find | Wine Stores

The Barolo section at Chambers Street Wines

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.

Chambers Street Wines

My favorite wine shop is probably Chambers Street wines, but NYC is full of great shops: Crush, Frankly Wines, Uva, Flatiron Wines, 67 Wines, Astor Wines & Spirits.

148 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007

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Eat & Drink | Restaurants & Wine Bars

The Barolo section at Chambers Street Wines

Photo Credit: Find. Eat. Drink.


You have many choices, but I go for the orange wines.

34 8th Avenue, New York, NY 10014

T: 1.212.518.2722  |

Bar Boulud

Photograph courtesy of Bar Boulud

Bar Boulud

Especially for the nights when Michael Madrigale is pouring old Jura!

1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

T: 1.212.595.0303 |


It is very tiny and pretty with the best aligot (mashed potatoes blended with butter, cream, crushed garlic, and the melted cheese) in town and a very decent list.

42 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014

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Corkbuzz Wine Studio

You should play with their wines by the glass selections, which change very often. Also Laura Maniec, the owner and a Master Sommelier, had this great idea of creating the Champagne Campaign. They offer 50% off the price of any bottle of champagne after 10pm. It’s an awesome way to try new producers.

13 East 13th Street, New York, NY 10003

T: 1.646.873.6071 |

The Ten Bells

Photo Credit:  Find. Eat. Drink.

Ten Bells

For the wines from a lot of smaller natural guys from the Loire that owner Fifi imports directly.

247 Broome Street, New York, NY 10002

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Terroir East Village

I know there are many Terroirs now, but I like the original. I used to live next door to it and it remains my favorite. At Terroir, Riesling is a must, of course, but also Sherry and Madeira, and everything they have open.

413 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009

T: 1.646.602.1300 |

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General Information

Rouge Tomate

Midtown East


10 East 60th Street

New York, NY 10022

T: 1.646.237.8977

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Photograph courtesy of Pascaline Lepeltier