Before I could even buy wine, I loved food. Like really loved food. (Thank you insane metabolism!) After I started working in wine stores, it was only natural to combine these two passions. It's so satisfying to spend an evening cooking something delicious from scratch and then pick out the perfect matching bottle. The skill also comes in handy dining out with friends or impressing a date—it's the gift that keeps on giving. Plus there's no better excuse to explore new countries, regions, and grape varieties instead of relying on safe old favorites. Choose your wine based on your meal and your mood!
This Friday, February 12th, Gideon Beinstock—of Clos Saron and Renaissance fame—will be in-store pouring his wines. Let me repeat myself. Gideon Beinstock, my absolute favorite winemaker, will be in our store. Rejoice! Look, it’s always special opening a single bottle of any rare, limited-production wine. It’s even more special when you’re a total fanboy, and when you’ve spent the last six months doing your best to consume his entire production.
Every bottle of wine has its own story, a complicated tapestry woven from history, geography, meteorology, agriculture, chemistry, cuisine, and artistic vision. You’ve stopped into the store, heard the stories from us, even tasted the wines—but wouldn’t it be interesting to chat with the vignerons themselves, whose talents and passions have been poured into the bottles you’re bringing home? (See what I did there?) That’s why, whenever possible, we bring in producers to share their own wines with you. From them, you get to hear the fascinating narrative behind a particular wine from the world’s foremost expert on that individual bottle.
In the past, people tended to view wine the same way they viewed buying their weekly carton of grocery-store Tropicana. When purchasing it from their local Gristedes, they expected an identical product each and every time. Sure, oranges come from trees, but do you know anyone drinking artisanal vintage OJ? Until recently, this overly consistent approach to production and consumption was the norm—especially in the New World—and even today many corner bottle shops offer row after row of mass produced, highly adjusted bottles with their familiar brand names. But grapes, after all, are an agricultural product, and thus wines should reflect year-to-year changes in temperature, precipitation, soil, available fruit, time of harvest, and so on.
With the new year arriving in full, the cold weather coming on in earnest (hello winter, where have you been?), and the return to usual routine, I’m tempted to spend every evening in the exact same fashion: parked on my couch in Queens underneath a cocoon of fleece blankets, listening to the radiator clank and spit, drinking a comforting red wine to stay warm. (Maybe I’m also watching Netflix.) Thus, the nightly question becomes, “What do I open?”
When the clock strikes midnight and the ball drops in Times Square, you'll want a flute or coupe of out-of-this-world bubbly in hand—delicious and festive—there’s no better way to say goodbye to 2015 and greet a brand new year, a clean calendar, a fresh slate where anything is possible.
I’ve selected a variety of options, each of which I’d happily uncork during my festivities this Thursday night, or of course, all year ’round.
The holidays are here! It's already December 10th, and if you’re anything like me you’ve barely started thinking about gift shopping. Sound familiar? Never fear—we’re here to do the thinking for you. We’ve spent the last few months scouring the globe for the most interesting bottles we could find, the gifts we would want to get. Now we get to share those special finds, six of the coolest bottles available in New York City, with you!
This won’t surprise anyone, but I was a pretty awful twenty-one year old. Seriously, you wouldn’t’ve wanted to hang out with me. My cultural taste—in books, in movies, in music, in food—was carefully curated, most often in an effort to seem as “different” as possible. I filled my iPod with atonal music, hefted around gigantic tomes to show off my obscure literary taste, and made a hobby out of ordering the weirdest item on any restaurant’s menu. It was an embarrassing time. With some luck, however, I made a great choice when it came to wine. Sure, my motives were questionable at best, but the region I landed on, the plot of earth I lauded to my friends, turned out to be legitimately great.
Off-dry Riesling in America often gets a bad rap. To a certain extent, it’s understandable—we’ve all been to our fair share of bad college parties and disappointing adulthood get-togethers, complete with cloying Riesling experiences we aren’t eager to replicate. In these very basic, frequently mass-produced bottles, sugar is used to mask low quality fruit and industrial vinification methods, which keep production high and prices low. The end result is cheap, sweet, and frankly not that good. But here’s the thing: we’re being way unfair to most German winemakers. Believe it or not, the preponderance of bad Riesling on the market is largely our fault.