Chef Ryan Hardy Just (Figuratively) Spilled His Favorite Healthier Wines

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant
Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Image by Studio Firma / Stocksy

When it comes to the world of wine, we're always welcoming expert opinions. So when we sat down with Chef Ryan Hardy for the mindbodygreen podcast, we were sure to get Hardy's two cents on the best ones out there.

The Mediterranean-inspired chef knows good wine, touching on the value a nice bottle can add to an already great meal. "I really look at the power of a meal as the conversation that happens between people when they sit down," he says. "And the wine is the lubricant, right? And the food is the nourishment, and the conversation is the digestion."

His insight didn't stop there (but we also recommend you listen to the full conversation with co-CEO Jason Wachob because he also gets into how to eat gluten in a healthy way). Ryan also covered the world of wine, how it's changing, and his favorite picks for a nice glass of red.

The world of wine is evolving.

He touches on how we're beginning to see more young people getting involved in winemaking—something he's taken note of in his restaurants.

"You're really starting to see young winemakers getting back into the industry that was usually dominated by mostly older men that were primarily in nutrient-rich countries—you know, the United States, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, kind of the more dominant wine-producing countries," Hardy says. "[Now] you're starting to see a little bit more of the youth taking stock in that, and producing wines in interesting areas of the world."

And as interest in wine grows, so do the places you drink the wine.

"It's not just New York City. You can drink well in Austin, and you can drink well in St. Louis. You can drink well in Seattle. You can drink well in all these different places. And that didn't exist 20 years ago," Hardy says.

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So, what does he recommend?

When it comes to his go-to's, Hardy was happy to offer his favorite options.

As far as "natural" wine is concerned, he says there are producers that don't get the natural label but are putting out natural wine: "That's just the way that wine is made in that particular region—particularly in places like Burgundy or in [other] parts of France—[who] do biodynamic farming."

With that in mind, some of those great producers according to Hardy:

  • Jean-Louis Chave: Hardy says Jean-Louis is a winemaker he would "bow down for."
  • Giampaolo Venica: Hardy's pal sits on the Italian-Slovenian border, and Hardy commends Giampaolo's wine for its taste and affordability.
  • Domaine Dujac: Hardy had high praise for this family wine business in France.
  • Roberto Conterno: "Kind of the greatest winemaker in Italy," according to Hardy, making great, affordable wines with minimal production.

So it is possible to get well-sourced, well-made wines for a decent price. And if you're keen on natural varieties, look for the wines made through biodynamic farming. Cheers!

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