September 30, 2014
September 30, 2014
September 27, 2014
Drink well, live well.
September 25, 2014
THURSDAY NIGHT TASTING : Croatia and Slovenia
September 25, 2014
I returned Sunday from a two week vacation in Central Europe- specifically Hungary, Croatia, and Slovenia. As with any big trip, I had great expectations, and to say they were exceeded would be an understatement. I strolled through charming capitol cities, explored small medieval villages, hiked among breathtaking waterfalls, and drank a LOT of really fantastic wines, many on the vineyards with the people who make them. As much as I love New York, it’s always really invigorating to embark on a real adventure, and this trip fulfilled that and more. It was a real two week education, adventure, and love affair…and it’s always wonderful to return home with stories, renewed energy, and of course, wine! Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of wines from Croatia and Slovenia (both formerly Yugoslavia) with our buddy Stetson from Blue Danube Wine. Stetson has been like a guru for all things Danubia for us at Dandelion, and we’re excited to share these wines tonight- some bottles I tasted along the way and some made by friends of friends I hope to meet on future trips! We’ll have bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District, and lots of stories.
Crnko Jarenincan 2013
I spent an absolutely wonderful afternoon with Silvo Crnko and his family at their winery near Maribor last week, smack dab in the middle of their busy harvest season. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to visit the region to begin with was a picture I came across of Jarenina, the nearby, namesake village where this wine was originally exclusively sold, while researching this very wine for a tasting last year! Despite the flurry of activity, Silvo sat down with me between press loads and we tasted through his entire, impressive line-up of white wines over local cheese and homemade charcuterie. After, I was invited to have dinner with the whole family and their tired harvest workers. I left late in the evening full, and utterly charmed, and more amped than ever about this wine! His liter blend has been a favorite here for a while- it’s just so damn easy to love! A mixed bag of the white varieties Silvo grows, all sustainably- flowery, aromatic Muscats, vibrant Laski Riesling and Ravenec, and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc. In the summers, Slovenians drink this wine with sparkling water. Although this has been a difficult vintage across Slovenia, I got to sample some of the grapes coming in from the fields before they went into the press. If you can judge from the grapes themselves, I can’t wait to try the spring release! $15
Vinarija Dingac Peljesac 2012
While I didn’t make it to the Dalmatian Coast this trip, I looked into it, and dream of a future summer vacation island hopping between pristine Croatian beaches! This is one of my favorite easy reds on the shelf, and it hails from the sun-drenched coasts of southern Croatia. Made from local varietal Plavac Mali, I like to think of this as an exotic Beaujolais, and I like it best with a little chill. Light bodied and cheerful but surprisingly complex- it boasts fresh plummy fruit, lean minerality, and a super interesting mix of dried herbs, earth, and preserved fruit notes. Locals drink it with wood fired sardines, but it’s versatile enough to pair with a wide variety of foods and palates! $14
Bibich R6 Riserva 2010
This red blend hailing from Skradin in Northern Dalmatia is composed of 34% Babic, 33% Plavina, and 33% Lasin. Deep, dark, and dense, it’s the answer to wet, chilly nights like this and the wetter, chillier nights in our near future. 2010 was a dry vintage, I’m told, and the grapes harvested produced a more concentrated, heftier style of red. Our importer describes "delightful aromas of tart cherry pie fresh out of the oven" and I can’t think of anything more pleasant! Pairs well with roast duck, brisket, and Law and Order marathons on rainy nights! $21
Batic Rosé 2013
One morning I woke up in Croatia, ate lunch in Slovenia, and was in Italy in plenty of time for hours of aperetivo. I’m told that when Yugoslavia disbanded, the property lines weren’t checked before the borders of the countries were drawn, so some families reside in Slovenia and their back yards, in Italy. Because of this, the culture and food of Friuli and the bordering Slovenian villages have a lot in common. For instance, Vipava, the home of Batic! The Batic family consider themselves more “expert gatherers than heavy handed winemakers.” Ivan and his son Miha are guardians of the local terroir and native varietals who make wines from them as naturally as they can, with little, if any, intervention or additives. This wild rosé is semi-dry, a touch effervescent, and utterly unique. We’ve never tasted anything like it, and the bottle is just as wonderfully weird. We’re only opening one of these, so get here early so you don’t miss out. $33
September 24, 2014
Shana Tova U’Metukah! Happy New Year! Celebrate the Jewish New Year with a bottle of Gran Sarao Kosher Cava, the perfect dry sparkling for your holiday meal. A traditionally made Cava of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Perellada grapes from Northern Spain, this shows notes of fresh green apple and pear with soft minerality. A great value at $12.
September 23, 2014
We have tons of new wines coming in every day- It’s wine season! So stay tuned for updates in the coming days! Starting now!
NEW FROM SPAIN
Ulibarri Atzaik Bizkaiko Txakolina: Shepards, cheesemakers, winemakers, and brothers Iker and Asier make this light and wild Basque white from native varietal Hondarrabi Zuri. Unfined, unfiltered, and fermented in oak barrels, with minimal added sulfur, there is none of the fizz you might expect from Txakolina, but plenty of character and funk. We even detect a slight cheesiness on the finish… super cool. $21
El Quiñón Estate Sembro Tempranillo, Ribeira del Duero 2012: Thick-skinned Tempranillo makes up some of the most famous wines from Spain, and some of the most popular bottles on our shelves! This new addition, from grapes hailing from south facing slopes of chalk and stone soil, is big, and rich, and modern. It owes it’s deep black fruit, full body, and structure to the varietal and terroir and super smooth, baking-spice laden finish to time spent in toasty French oak barrels. Warm and comfortable. $19
Marqués de Tomares Don Roman Rioja 2013: A super pleasingly well-balanced sipper from venerable producer Marqués de Tomares, whos wines have always been popular on our shelves! 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano, lively and fresh with lingering notes of cherry, raspberry, and vanilla. $15
Gran Sarao Kosher Cava Brut: A dry, easy going, crowd pleasing and festive option for the high holidays! The perfect thing to bring to a dinner or serve to your guests at the beginning of the meal you’re serving! Crisp and lean with persistent bubbles. $12
Gramona Imperial Cava Gran Reserva 2007: An incredibly complex Cava, blended from Xarel-lo, Macabeo, and Chardonnay. The aging and second fermentation occurs in the bottle over the course of 36 to 48 months, bringing out a toasty richness you just might confuse with pricier Champagne bottlings… Elegant and exultant!
Bodegas Urium Superior Fino Sherry: Hailing from a small winery in the center of Jerez’s famed Barrio de Santiago, known for it’s ideal conditions for sherry-aging! Saline and bready, with a rich almond-y quality. Super complex and interesting, a conversation starter that is dynamite with fish and fried foods. $15
September 23, 2014
"People who love wine generally consume more of it at home than anywhere else. And regardless of the quality of their glasses or the extent of their cellars, those who most enjoy wine at home share one attribute: a commitment to drinking it.
Many people who profess to value wine break out bottles only on special occasions, or on weekends. But people who really love wine think of it as an ordinary part of their meals, like salt or bread. Regular consumption is the single most important characteristic of the confident wine lover.
The benefits of commitment far outweigh a primer on proper glassware or schematics for pairing food and wine. Drinking wine regularly develops your critical ability and your sense of your own taste. And it helps answer the crucial question: Do you like wine enough to want to learn more about it? If you do like it, the repetition of pouring a glass with a meal becomes a pleasurable learning experience, which in turn leads to a greater sense of confidence. That, more than anything, improves the experience of drinking wine anywhere.
Regular wine consumption does not mean you need to drink a lot. It could be just a glass with dinner. Or a couple could share a bottle, which, like the 90-foot baseline in baseball, is just the right proportion: Two people can generally finish a bottle happily rather than woozily. Either way, or anywhere in between, regular drinking renders wine ordinary in the best sense rather than extraordinary.
Some people may shy away from regular wine drinking as self-indulgent or hedonistic, and they would not be wrong. Good food is pleasurable, and good wine enhances that pleasure. But wine is not the end itself. Adding wine as an ingredient of a good meal diminishes the need to focus on it.
For regular drinkers, wine is no longer a novelty. It’s simply a supporting player in an ensemble cast that includes food and those with whom you share it. You want good wine, of course, but good wine does not have to be profound, attention-grabbing or expensive.
Exciting bottles are not hard to find for $10 to $20, although most are closer to $20 than $10. If you are sharing the bottle among several people, it does not add up to a great deal. Still, if drinking well at home requires commitment, part of that commitment is financial.
But the investment does not have to be great, especially with equipment. You could drink wine out of juice glasses if you wish, though the experience improves greatly with good stemware, which doesn’t have to be expensive. Similarly, you can spend hundreds of dollars on meticulously engineeredcorkscrews, but a basic waiter’s tool for about $12 will reliably open anything.
Don’t worry that wine will be ruined if you leave it in an open bottle for two or three days. Wine, especially young, fresh wine, is sturdier than we imagine, and so doesn’t require special pumps, stoppers or other knickknacks marketed as preservers. Older wines are more fragile and should be saved for occasions when they can be consumed in one sitting.
The time may come when, having decided that you love wine and want it to be part of your life, you begin to buy a lot of bottles.
The wine itself is the most important investment, but to care properly for the wine, especially bottles that you want to age, you will need long-term wine storage. If you have a house with a cool, damp cellar, you’re in luck. Just keep your wine there in whatever sort of shelving you choose. If you live in an apartment, it will be worth getting a wine refrigerator (or two), or off-site storage. Inevitably, loving wine costs money. But if you love it, the money is well spent.”
September 23, 2014
A Guide To Drinking Wine At Home
by Eric Asimov
September 20, 2014
Staff Picks. That’s what’s up.
September 18, 2014
Sweater weather is better weather for drinking wine.
Red Wine Tasting Tonight 6-9pm
Come taste wine from Argentina, Southern Italy, and Bordeaux.
DIAMANDES PERLITA MALBEC-SYRAH 2012 ARGENTINA
A long time favorite here at Dandelion for it’s drinkability and value. Malbec and Syrah come together as harmoniously at the modern design of the winery does with its dramatic mountainous backdrop. In 2005, the Bonnie family, owner of renowned Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere and Chateau Gazin Rocquencourt, decided to leave France in search of new horizons in the world of wine. It all began with the acquisition of a single 130 hectare block of land in the hear of the Uco Valley, to the south of Mendoza. By the Andes Mountains, Bodega DiamAndes boasts an ideal terroir; temperate climate due to the altitude and sandy soils with large amounts of rock, allow Malbec, Argentina’s king varietal to fully express itself. $13
I CAPITANI GUAGLIONE IRPINIA AGLIANICO 2010 ITALY
Some argue that Aglianico is the most important red grape of Southern Italy and it’s in the inner part of Campania where it reaches its maximum expression. This is a young and fruity example of Aglianico called “Guaglione” which loosely translates to “Dude”. There is no oak used in making this wine so the result is bright and fresh. Or as the producer describes, “Straightforward and sincere, as only the youth can be.” Speaking of the producer, the family has been farming and cultivating the land in Torre le Nocelle, a small town in the heart of Irpinia, for over a century. The wine is delicious and a great match for… you guessed it… PASTA! Carb up. Drink up. Warm up. $20
CHATEAU DE CERONS GRAVES 2010 BORDEAUX FRANCE
Chateau de Cerons is a lovely manor house, and now a listed historic monument built in the early 18th century on a terrace overlooking the Garonne River. Xavier and Caroline Perromat took over the management of their family’s estate in 2012. Caroline came to Dandelion Wine earlier this year and was as charming as her wines. The Cerons appellation, bordering Sauternes, is one of the oldest appellations of Bordeaux and an enclave in the Graves region. They make a red, a dry white, and a sweet white named for Cerons, similar to Sauternes. We bought both the red and the sweet white. (Maybe we’ll crack a bottle of that tonight too.) We loved the 2010 Rouge because it was so drinkable right out of the bottle, unlike so many Bordeaux we taste that need to lay down for a decade or 2. Come see for yourself! $32