By now you've probably heard that Appellation will be closing its doors (for now) in early August. Before we go, we want to thank all of our customers with a week full of wine tastings, featuring some of our very favorites from over the years. Stop by after work or during your weekend adventures, say good-bye, and taste some delicious wines and spirits!
We are smitten by Riesling, and many’s the time we’ve extolled the virtues of the variety. We’ve written about the wide range of expressions of this noble grape from around the world, going from bone dry and mineral driven to deliciously sweet. We’ve discussed the exceptional value you get for money, especially among Germany’s finest. Finally, we’ve covered the characteristic acidity that makes Riesling arguably the most versatile food pairing wine in the world, equally at home alongside Thanksgiving dinner, light seafood, or even—trust me on this one—a juicy hamburger topped with bleu cheese. Of course you're already a savvy wine enthusiast and know all of this without me rambling on.
We're honored to be included in Time Out's recent roundup of New York City's 10 Best Wine Stores! We couldn't have done it without you, our loyal customers in West Chelsea and beyond, so here's a hearty thanks for more than a decade of your patronage, company, and conversation. Cheers!
Summer, for me, is cocktail season. It’s not that I stop sipping my spirits neat, but there’s something about warm weather that snaps me out of my funk and energizes me enough to bother with more than one ingredient in my glass. The warmer months also pair perfectly with the flavors in my favorite classic cocktails: Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, margaritas, negronis, gimlets, gin & tonics, Cuba Libres, caipirinhas, and the list goes endlessly on. As much as I appreciate these classics, I’m also a firm believer that every home bar needs a ‘wildcard’ option, something that not only inspires brand new creations but also adds a fun twist to more familiar cocktails.
For New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc accounts for approximately 70% of the nation's total wine production: perfumed, summery, and somewhat predictable. In most cases, regardless of producer, you know more or less what you're getting. Fair enough. But here's the thing: if your experience so far with wines from New Zealand has stopped here, you're in for a real treat. This is an incredible, diverse wine growing country, worthy of further exploration, where a handful of small, naturally-minded producers are bucking the corporate trend and making truly special wines. Family-run Pyramid Valley Vineyards, located in Canterbury, is among the very best.
The greatest pleasure in selling wine—other than tasting bottles I can’t afford—is sharing the story behind a particular bottle with you, the enthusiastic customer. In most cases a wine’s story focuses on something interesting or unusual the grower does: playing classical music to the grapes in the vineyard, foraging for ancient, almost-extinct grape varieties high on a Corsican mountainside, or aging the wine in giant clay pots buried underground. Other times, however, what sets a winemaker apart is what he doesn't do.
Look, I’m not one for picking out wine based on the label’s aesthetics, but you have to give Weingut Hahnmühle some credit. Their tall, slender bottle is adorned with simple black and white graphics, an armored knight, a row of stylized grapes, and pragmatic text that describes what’s inside and where it’s from: 2014 Riesling + Roter Traminer, Nahe. From a design perspective, the juxtaposition of medieval imagery with an almost-modernist minimalism is quite striking, a fitting tribute to a pioneering blend the winery has produced for over 100 years. From a taste perspective, this wine is just as alluring, approachable but unsual, a bottle worth talking about whenever it graces your table.