Like most of us who studied the humanities in college (hello, postcolonial studies), Kim Prokoshyn didn’t turn her art history degree into her career. At least, not directly.
Prokoshyn is head sommelier at Scampi, a southern Italian restaurant that opened near Manhattan’s Union Square last December. Prior to that, she worked with mentor Patrick Cappiello at NYC wine destinations Rebelle and Pearl & Ash restaurants. Her reserve list at Scampi includes back vintages and rare bottles from Rebelle’s cellar.
While she might not be running a gallery or lecturing at The Whitney (yet), she does bring the history and contextual importance of her chosen bottles to life. She believes the sommelier’s job is to help diners connect with and enjoy their wine. “This is a completely human experience, not this intangible thing,” Prokoshyn said of cultivating discussion and enthusiasm for restaurant wine programs.
We caught up with Prokoshyn to learn what bottle of wine she would drink for the rest of her life, and her go-to order at the Lower East Side cocktail bar where she hangs her hat after service.
1. What’s the bottle that made you fall in love with wine?
Briseau “Patapon” — Pineau d’Aunis from Loire Valley. Patrick Cappiello handed it to me to try during service, and it was unlike anything I had ever had. A red that is so peppery and herb and grapefruit tangy? I was like, “What is this?”
2. FMK three varieties: Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
F Chardonnay. I freakin’ love Chardonnay, a lot. Some of my best bottles ever have been Chardonnay. But push come to shove, I think Pinot would be my forever wine.
M A great bottle of Pinot Noir is pretty much the pinnacle of a transcendental wine experience; hard to have anything that will compare to that.
K Cab. Ugh, I’m sorry [to do it]! Older Bordeaux can be some of the best, too!
3. You’re on death row. What’s your last-supper wine?
Maybe 1986 Roulot “Perrieres” from Meursault. It might be the best bottle I’ve ever had!
4. You can only drink one wine for the rest of your life. What is it?
Maybe Collier Saumur Blanc “Charpentrie” 2013. It’s not the “fanciest” of wines, but such a delicious white. It satisfies all my cravings for salty crunch, yet it’s slightly fruity and floral. And it can be paired well with most things, or drunk on its own.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it? Which bar?
Attaboy. Every time I go and order a dealer’s choice drink there, and they nail it every time. If I had to choose a drink for the rest of my life it would probably be a salted mezcal Margarita (sorry, not sorry).
6. What’s the best and worst wine on your rack (or in your fridge) right now?
The cheapest one is Viña Maitia Pipeño, a natural wine from Chile that retails for like $13, I think. Most of my fancy wines are off-site, but I think the nicest bottle I have is Gaja VignaVeja 1986.
7. If you could no longer drink wine, what would be your beverage of choice?
Tea! It’s super terroir-driven and has so many health benefits, and you can do so many cool food pairings with them.
Or sake. I don’t know a ton about sakes, but I have tried some and really loved the different textures and flavor profiles.