Stage Left Builds Community with Wine
On Memorial Day 1992, the two former Rutgers University classmates opened Stage Left on a sketchy New Brunswick, NJ street adjacent to the city's venerable State Theater. Within 18 months, Francis Schott and Mark Pascal scored three stars from The New York Times, and have received a continuous stream of accolades ever since. Along the way, the neighborhood gentrified and Pascal and Schott have hosted a popular radio show, opened a more casual restaurant upstairs and expanded Stage Left to four elegant dining rooms boasting one of the region's best wine lists.
To Schott, Stage Left's contemporary American menu is central to its success, but the wine he assembles for its 1,000-bottle library-distinctive, estate-bottled labels from small producers ("wines that speak of a certain place," he says)-take his establishment's status to a different level altogether. "Wine occupies a unique place in Western dining tradition," he explains. "In nice restaurants, usually you may have your own dishes, but what you share is the wine. That creates a remarkable bond. After all, a bar, a watering hole, a public house has been from the dawn of our country a locus of community."
Barone Fini Pinot Grigio from Valdadige
by Francis Schott
Refreshing as aperitif, but also great with white-fleshed fish.
The nose is bright with orange and lime peel and a hint of smoke.
It's full in the mouth, with certain a stony minerality and richness.
It's a great complement to our seared day-boat scallops.