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August 6, 2014

BURGUNDY IS FOR LOVERS

This hot couple, just in.

Clotilde Davenne Saint-Bris 2013

Saint Bris is the only appellation in Burgundy to produce Sauvignon Blanc instead of Chardonnay. This one from rock star Oenologist Clotilde Davenne is very satisfying. Lean minerality, zested lime peel, and grass after a downpour… this much character in a sustainable Sauvignon Blanc?? Yes, please! $19

Domaine des Rouge-Queues Envol Bourgogne 2011

Located in the teeny, tiny, relatively obscure Cotes-de-Beaune village of Sampigny les Maranges (only 170 inhabitants!), Domaine des Rouge-Queues’s small vineyard boasts clay and limestone pebble soil, which give way to mineral-rich, high-acid Pinot Noir grapes. The wine is bright and fresh with notes of wild strawberries and cassis with an energetic, zingy finish. Summer red to a T! $22

August 6, 2014

July 31, 2014

wordbookstores:

Read responsibly …

Drinkin’ and readin’ <3

wordbookstores:

Read responsibly …

Drinkin’ and readin’ <3

July 31, 2014

STAFF PICKS!!!

Everyone is back and everyone is drinking.

Summer is glorious!

July 31, 2014

ITALIAN WINE TASTING

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a diverse Italian wine tasting with our friend Evan from Omniwines! We’ll showcase three special bottles from across the boot, with bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District.

And be sure to stop by and see our buddies over at Duke’s, same time, where Whiskey is on the bill!  

Casa d’Ambra Ischia Bianco 2013

This is Ischia. The largest island in the bay of Naples is incredibly picturesque and atmospheric, with a colorful past. An important stop on the route between Greece and Northern Italy, it’s history is punctuated with periodic catastrophic eruptions of its now extinct volcano. This bianco, made from native Biancollelo grapes grown throughout the island in those rich volcanic soils, is a gorgeous export from this fascinating place. Anjou pear, key lime, and green apple finish with this saline, savory quality I love to find in island whites, this is a natural choice for a meal from the sea. Did y’all hear that Greenpoint Fish and Lobsteropened yesterday? That’s right, we don’t need no stinkin’ G train to get great fish! YES! $19

Piedmont Wine Project Gambai 2012

A blend of Barbera, Ruché, and Pelaverga, some of my favorite grapes in Italy if not the world, this is a fun, casual approach to these classic native varietals of the venerable Piemonte region.  Gambai, which means “boot” in the Piedmont dialect, is a tribute to the wine making heritage of this boot-shaped country. The three grapes combine beautifully, each bringing something special to the table. The Barbera, which comprises 60% of the blend, endows it with a sturdy acidity and clear cherry fruit, the Ruché, at 30%, provides it’s characteristic rose-y floral notes, and 10% Pelaverga adds a spicy peppercorn quality up-front the continues through in the finish. There’s a lot going on in the region and a lot going on in this bottle! Pair with meats and cheeses, olives, crostini, and good conversation. $16

Maso Michei Trentino Pinot Nero 2010

Located in the dangerously steep but deeply idyllic slopes of Ronchi di Ala in Trentino, Masso Michei is a small, relatively new winery founded by Giuseppe and Michela Bruni, who left their fast-paced banking careers just over a decade ago to pursue their passion and dedicate themselves to the land.  At this extreme elevation (between 820 and 890 meters), machine work is impossible and work on the vineyards can be life threatening, but also incredibly rewarding. “My dream was not to be the richest man in the world, but the freest,” Giuseppe has said.  This noble humility translates to his wines, like this delightful Pinot Nero. Bright and playful, with mineral undertones, gracious fruit, and a maverick spirit. Inspiring and invigorating! $17

July 31, 2014

THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG-IN-A-BOX! 

Gothamist wrote about Vrac’s delicious, affordable, convenient boxed Rosé last week in the midst of a city-wide shortage, and our phone’s been ringing off the hook and a lot of hearts have been broken.

CRY NO MORE, PEOPLE. VRAC IS BACK!!!!! 10 cases of boxes and 10 cases of bottles just rolled in the door, so we have you covered!!! For a while, anyway…

July 24, 2014

Yes, I’m aware that we are in the midst of what has been dubbed “Rosé Season”, but I’ve started to find myself longing wistfully for my old friend RED WINE.  There are occasions for it year round, I promise, and tonight we’re tasting three great options that you should welcome into your homes this summer and beyond! Join us this evening, 6-9 pm for a tasting of three dynamic red wines that all share Grenache/Garnacha as their common denominator over cheese from ED and bread from She Wolf!

Ampeleia Unlitro, Tuscany 2013

Chill out, dude. And chill this red! Served cold, this liter bottle from Tuscany, a blend of Grenache and Mourvedre grown organically, is a great way to beat the heat. Super quaffable and happy, with ripe cherry fruit, soft acidity and a lively, lingering finish. The perfect thing to drink in the park while watching a movie with friends tomorrow night! $21

Lezaun Tinto, Navarra 2013

55% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha, 20% Merlot… 100% awesome. All fruit is biodynamically grown in cooler climate Northern Spain, a region that in my opinion produces leaner, easier to drink reds than some of the southern counterparts. And easy to drink is a perfect way to describe Lezaun! Red berries for days, with a sprightly minerality and bright acidity for balance. We tried this wine with nachos and were pleased as punch! $12

Edra Grullas de Paso, Aragonés 2010

 Edra’s vineyard is situated on the southern skirt of the Pyrenees, on a serene bird sanctuary where migratory grullas (cranes) rest twice a year in their journey from cold northern Europe to hot northern Africa, and this wine is a noble tribute to these beautiful birds! 30% Tempranillo, 30% Garnacha, 30% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Full and silky, with a comfortable dose of American oak contributing a fair amount of spice and soft tannic structure, this is a wine to take with you upstate for chilly nights, or to the bbq on while it’s still hot in the city. $21

July 18, 2014

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES
July 14, 2014

Wine from a Sacred Place
Tasting wines from Ribeira Sacra
Eric Asimov
If you travel widely enough around the grape-growing regions of the world, you gather ample testimony of the driving, historic human desire to make good wine. What else could explain the compulsion to plant vines on ridiculously steep hillsides in the Mosel and the Rheingau, in the northern Rhône Valley, in Priorat and the Douro, and in Ribeira Sacra in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain?
Thousands of years before the lucrative global wine economy of today, Romans carved terraces on slopes in Ribeira Sacra that rose at precipitous angles from the rivers below. They planted vines to keep themselves supplied with wine. Over the centuries, monks expanded and maintained the network of vines, which was farmed by the church and by locals, for whom grapes were just one of many subsistence crops. It was not a matter of survival — grains and produce planted on the flats saw to that. The backbreaking labor these vines required was a matter of choice.
Nor was it an economic necessity. Until fairly recently, Ribeira Sacra was largely cut off from the rest of Spain, though a few farmers shipped wine by river to Lugo, a city to the north, mostly for local consumption.
At the end of the 19th century, grape phylloxera, a ravenous aphid that preys on the roots of European vines, destroyed much of the crop. Agricultural disaster was followed by economic depression, civil war and dictatorship. Many of the historical terraces were abandoned, and the children of farmers left for work in the cities.
Then a curious thing happened. Near the end of the 20th century, people began to return to Ribeira Sacra. Disillusioned by the city, perhaps, or drawn by the promise of the slate-and-granite soils at a time when other once-obscure Spanish wine regions were developing worldwide reputations, they came back to replant the vines and renew the terraces. The hills of Ribeira Sacra came alive again.

Dandy loves Ribeira Sacra, especially the incredible value on our shelf!
Estrella Ribeira Sacra Amandi 2011Fresh and juicy, with aromas and flavors of crushed berries. $14

FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES

July 14, 2014

Wine from a Sacred Place

Tasting wines from Ribeira Sacra

Eric Asimov

If you travel widely enough around the grape-growing regions of the world, you gather ample testimony of the driving, historic human desire to make good wine. What else could explain the compulsion to plant vines on ridiculously steep hillsides in the Mosel and the Rheingau, in the northern Rhône Valley, in Priorat and the Douro, and in Ribeira Sacra in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain?

Thousands of years before the lucrative global wine economy of today, Romans carved terraces on slopes in Ribeira Sacra that rose at precipitous angles from the rivers below. They planted vines to keep themselves supplied with wine. Over the centuries, monks expanded and maintained the network of vines, which was farmed by the church and by locals, for whom grapes were just one of many subsistence crops. It was not a matter of survival — grains and produce planted on the flats saw to that. The backbreaking labor these vines required was a matter of choice.

Nor was it an economic necessity. Until fairly recently, Ribeira Sacra was largely cut off from the rest of Spain, though a few farmers shipped wine by river to Lugo, a city to the north, mostly for local consumption.

At the end of the 19th century, grape phylloxera, a ravenous aphid that preys on the roots of European vines, destroyed much of the crop. Agricultural disaster was followed by economic depression, civil war and dictatorship. Many of the historical terraces were abandoned, and the children of farmers left for work in the cities.

Then a curious thing happened. Near the end of the 20th century, people began to return to Ribeira Sacra. Disillusioned by the city, perhaps, or drawn by the promise of the slate-and-granite soils at a time when other once-obscure Spanish wine regions were developing worldwide reputations, they came back to replant the vines and renew the terraces. The hills of Ribeira Sacra came alive again.

Dandy loves Ribeira Sacra, especially the incredible value on our shelf!

Estrella Ribeira Sacra Amandi 2011
Fresh and juicy, with aromas and flavors of crushed berries. $14

July 18, 2014

SPECIAL FRIDAY NIGHT TASTING: BASQUE COUNTRY WINE

AMEXTOI + ISASTEGI

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a special Friday tasting of the spectacular Getariako Txakoli of Ameztoi and Isastegi Cidre with our friend Rob Novick from T. Edward Wines! Every spring, we anxiously await the arrival of our small annual shipment of Ameztoi. This year Bacchus was looking our for us and we got a lot more than our usual allocation… perhaps he knew we were planning a vacay to Basque country? In case you hadn’t heard, we’re planning an autumn trip to Spain and France, to eat and drink our way through vineyards, pintxos bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, and open air markets, along with a host of other activities we’ll squeeze in between meals in this fascinating and beautiful region. You can learn more about the trip here, as well as chat with us about it tonight over Txakolina, Cidre, and queso and chorizo from Eastern District! 

AMEZTOI

The Ameztoi winery holds about 20 hectares of vineyard land in one of the best locations in the region, in the sloping hills over looking San Sebastian and the Atlantic Ocean. Ignacio Ameztoi is the seventh consecutive generation to carry on the tradition in the province of Getaria. They grow indigenous varietals Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza and make wines in the traditional regional style- fermenting in stainless steel and bottling with residual carbonic acid- endowing the wines with their signature spritz. The breeze of the Atlantic, unique terroir, and the coastal climate give all Ameztoi’s wines a unique minerality and zingy acidity that keep us (and their other loyal fans) constantly gravitating towards these bottles all summer long.

Classic

Surfs up! Ameztoi’s original white wine is like the sea breeze in a bottle… lime zest and Atlantic salinity come together in the most refreshing way. It’s like a good margarita on a sultry summer day, but with lower alcohol so you can drink more! Tacos are a good m.o., as is sneaking it with you to the beach! $22

Rubentis

This is a hot ticket wine- it’s a press darling, with super small production. Some of our restaurant friends only got three cases for the entire summer, but we got lucky, and received a few more. Strawberry lemonade for us “grown-ups”. I can’t think of a time that this isn’t exactly what I want to drink!

$25

Tinto

 When a customer requested red Txakolina a few months ago, we thought he made it up. One reason I love this job, however, is that I learn and discover new things every day! He was right, it exists, and it’s rad. Dry and lean and mineral rich, with black fruit and those signature bubbles. Cheeseburger wine!

$25

ISASTEGI

This classic Basque Sidre, Sagardo, has healing qualities, I swear (full disclosure, I’m no MD). It’s a hangover cure, good for digestion, great with breakfast (I heard from a friend)… The sideria recommends pouring a tiny bit at a time into a wide mouthed glass with the bottle held high above your head. Sure! Super bright, super lean, and low alcohol, made from native ancestral apple varietals. I always like to have one in my fridge, you never know when a craving will come on!

$13

July 17, 2014

A trip to Lake Garda

Viva Italia! Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of three cool summer wines from the shores of beautiful Lake Garda in Northern Italy with friend James Endicott from Acid Inc. Selections guiding the tour! We’ll start with a sparkler and a rosato from Lombardia, a wealthy and populous region with the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. Then we’ll cross the lake to visit the culturally-rich Veneto region with a refreshing chilled red. Bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District will round out this perfect Italian picnic. Cin cin!

Pasini San Giovanni Lugana Brut Metodo Classico

This idyllic winery has been family run since it was founded in the 1950’s and is committed to growing traditional varietals as sustainably as possible, and creating wines representative of their region and history. Made of 100% Turbiana grapes, this enigmatic sparkler is made in the Metodo Classico style- just like in Champagne, baby.  Soft bubbles, notes of golden pears, tart stone fruit, and a richness achieved with 18+ months in the bottle make this a standout new bubbly in our hard-working fridge. Although it’s not “appropriate” sommelier behavior, nothing makes me happier than the festive pop of a cork coming out of a bottle of beautiful sparkling wine. And by all means, this is a wine worth breaking the rules for! $27

Pasini San Giovanni Il Chiaretto Valtenesi 2013

"I’ve been drinkin’… watermelon…", Beyoncé sings… but maybe she’s talking about Il Chiaretto! This special rosé is native to the Valtenesi appellation on Lake Garda, and it’s been a hit here for several summers now. A blend of Groppello, Marzemino, Barbera, and Sangiovese, this short bottle packs in a ton of character.  With it’s bright acidity, refreshing minerality, and distinctive watermelon-y finish, this sassy rosato has us pretty drunk in love, too. Flawless with watermelon-feta salad, and fish all up on your grill. $17

Lanza Bardolino 2012

I know the label’s cheesy but I stand by this wine, 100%! This light, fresh, ruby-red sipper is one of my favorite pairings with salmon, year-round.  In the summer, I like to throw it in the fridge for a bit- the chill really brings out this minerality present under the clear, candid red fruit. A blend of Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella, all estate-grown and organic, this is a wine for all seasons, especially this one.  Lazy Sundays in the park, picnic lunches, casual get-togethers, twilight dates on the pier, laundry day- Lanza’s Bardolino is good for all of it. One of my favorite “go-to” bottles! $14