In June, The Livermore in East Liberty closed its doors as a cocktail bar and re-opened as a restaurant focused on hyper-regional, close-to-the-earth Italian food and wine. “We’re restaurant people, and we weren’t feeling the energy we were at Bar Marco,” says Dominic Fiore, sommelier for both establishments.
While Livermore still offers a handful of craft cocktails, most of Fiore’s attention goes to the expertly curated wine list. “We want to give a village-to-village, province-to-province perspective,” he says, “almost like a mini tour of Italy.” Fiore and co-owner and executive chef Justin Steel work closely to deliver seasonal, complementary flavors to the table. “It puts you in the region where the dish and the wine comes from, and that’s what we are trying to do here,” he says.
To keep his wine list as close to the plate as possible, Fiore follows the cardinal rule “if it grows together, it goes together.” This often means gathering wines that are more obscure to American markets, so Fiore works with representatives and suppliers who are passionate about spotlighting lesser-known varietals and vintages. He leans toward natural wines, made with minimal human intervention and low or absent in sulfates. Minimal processing creates wines with clarity, unencumbered by oaky, buttery notes.
A light, crisp white, from the hills surrounding Rome, is a shining example of the wines Fiore will be putting on the menu: little known, interesting and easy to drink. He walks me through the list: a soft, slightly briny white from Marche on the Adriatic coast; a light-bodied, dry Sicilian red made from the endemic Nerello Mascalese grapes, perfect for summer drinking; and, finally, a Sangiovese Foglia Tonda blend from Tuscany that’s so smooth, it would be nothing to finish the bottle.
There might not be quantity on this list, but there is certainly quality. With restaurants like Livermore bringing passion and diversity to their cellars, I’ll agree with Fiore when he says, “There’s never been a better time to be a wine drinker.”