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April 17, 2014

Wine for Spring Feasts

The weather’s weird but Spring is here, and we can feel the difference in our souls. Windows are being opened, the farmer’s markets are starting to bustle with people and produce again, and we’re dancing in the streets and drinking in the park. Tonight’s tasting features one of the sure signs of the season- Rosé! Our friend Michael from Wineberry will be pouring two tremendous pink wines (one from a box), as well as a delightful Italian red, the perfect pairings for a weekend away, spontaneous Sunday brunches with friends, or traditional family dinners. Enjoy them tonight, 6-9 pm, alongside bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District.

Chateau Tassin Rosé Box, Bordeaux 2013

3L of delightful Bordeaux rosé packaged ingeniously in a wooden box? Oh, hell yeah! 3L is the equivilant of four bottles of wine on the shelf, and if you’re not on the boxed wine band wagon yet, this is a good way to test the waters. Vacuum packed in a bag within a box, the wine stays fresh for about a month, protected from two of fresh wines biggest enemies: excess air and light. So you can have a glass or two one day and come back a few days later for more of the same vibrant, lustrous wine… and repeat! Perfect for the solo drinker and large gatherings alike. The gorgeous packaging and incredible value has made Wineberry’s boxes a cult favorite of outdoorsy brides, smart party hosts, and those who want “just a glass” a day. Come on, everybody is doing it… $41

Domaine Vico Rosé, Corsica 2013

The beautiful island of Corsica has a rich and unique culture rooted in it’s lengthy history as part of ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Italy, and now in the present day, as one of the 27 regions of France. Jean Vico planted his vineyards in the mountains of the Northeastern in 1902 at the very limit of the wine growing regions of the island at the time. His pioneering paid off, and over a century later the wines in his name remain beautiful expressions of the terroir. Native varietal Niellucciu blended with Syrah, Grenache, and Cinsault makes for an incredibly versatile and delicious libation- terrific with salmon (in all forms), caviar, fresh salads, and seafood tacos. $22

I Capitani Guaglione, Irpinia 2010

Capitani is a family-run vineyard passionate about creating and promoting the wines from Irpinia, a DOCG region of Campania in Southern Italy. A blend of Aglianico and Sangiovese, Guaglione is named for the regional slang equivilant to “dude”. Spicy and smoky, with bright red berry fruit this utterly satisfying red is a great pairing with eggplant parm, peppery roasted meats, and firey fra diavolo. Buonissimo! $20

April 10, 2014

Old World Wines for a BEAUTIFUL Spring Day

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of three amazing values from across Europe. We’re talking romance languages, love stories, family values, and ancestral grapes… these wines have it all! Our friend Daniel from IPO wines will be here pouring and we’ll have bread from She Wolf and cheese from ED.

Elvio Tintero Grangia Rosato, Piemonte N/V

I always enjoy a good love story, and the one behind this delightful effervescent rosato is a gem. The estate dates back to 1900, when Frenchman Pierre Tintero travelled to Piemonte in search of employment. He got a job on a small vineyard doing odd jobs for widow Rosina Cortese who was struggling to keep things afloat solo. He quickly became an indispensable, and he and Rosina fell in love. Two years later, they married and lived happily ever after. Today, their great- grandson Marco carries on that legacy! 90% Barbera, 5% Moscato, and 5% Favorita, this pink refresher is fresh and dry with a hint of just-ripened red berry fruit, low alcohol and tiny, spritzy bubbles. Believe it or not, it’s gonna be hot soon, and this is what we’ll reach for. $15

Le Paradou Grenache, Rhone 2011

This pure, unoaked expression of Grenache is a fantastic red for this transitional time of year. Made by two handsome brothers in Luberon with estate fruit grown in accordance with the laws of Terre Vitis, an organization that ensures that properties respect the environment in which the vines are grown and stresses the benefits of integrated farming. These hard-core vineyard practices and high altitude, mountainside vineyard sites produce a vivacious and dynamic Grenache, bursting with fresh red fruit and spirited acidity. The Chaudiere brothers stress that this is a wine for sharing with family and friends, a wine for picnics and gatherings, and we couldn’t agree more. $14

Celler de Roure “Setze Gallets”, Valencia 2011

The name “Setze Gallets” translates to “16 Cookies”, which is a regional term for something that is a very good value… like this wine! Hailing from a recently revitalized 300+ year old vineyard, “Setze Gallets” is a blend of Garnacha, Merlot, Monastrell, and Mando. Here, juicy black fruit is balanced by exotic spice and a distinctive earthiness. Fire up the grill, my friends! This wine is terrific with bbq. $15

April 3, 2014

THURSDAY NIGHT TASTING

New Wines!

Happy spring! Globe-trot with us tonight, 6-9 pm, as we taste three new wines from around the world! Our friend Mellissa from Banville and Jones will be pouring whites from Hungary and Italy and a red from Argentina- how’s that for a mix? We’ll have bread from She Wolf and cheese from Eastern District. Be sure to stop by Duke’s Liquor Box after to taste a bourbon and two gins (one barrel aged!) from Ohio.

Evolucio Furmint, Tokaj 2012

This dry, versatile white comes from one of the oldest winemaking regions in the entire world. Tokaj is a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts the world’s oldest wine classification system which started in 1730, several decades before Port wine and 120 years before Bordeaux. Soft and mineral-rich, with bright bursts of fresh citrus and stone fruit, Evolucio is one of our favorite new values to hit the shelves this season! $12

San Salvatore Falanghina, Campania 2012

This lush Italian white is textured and memorable, with a gentle, lingering finish that keeps you comin’ back for more. The soil in which the grapes are grown is rich with the traces of ancient volcanoes, endowing the wine with a distinctive minerality. Medium bodied and round without a single bit of oak. $23

Quattrocchi Malbec, Mendoza 2011

Giuseppe Quattrocci and Elena Camilleri moved from Italy to Mendoza in the seventies to put an old world touch on the brave new world. Today, their youngest daughter continues what they started! Hand harvesting and intervening only as much as neccesary in the winemaking process results in a pure expression of the ever popular grape. Spicy, ripe, and concentrated, just the way you want it. $15

March 27, 2014

“Danubia is a border-less wineland situated geographically and philosophically between wine’s contemporary western position and its ancient Eastern origins.”

Join us in welcoming our friend Stetson from the Blue Danube Wine Company for a tasting of three wines from the mysterious, historic, and beautiful regions along the Danube River. 6-9 pm, we’ll be drinking wines, (hopefully) learning how to pronounce them, and enjoying She Wolf bread and cheese from Eastern District.

Crnko Jarenincan, Slovenia 2012 

ONE of these days, something in the universe will give. Our bones will thaw and this harrowing winter will seem like a distant memory, like some old, dusty nightmare we awoke from long ago. On that day, I hope to see you in the park, soaking up the sun and drinking wine from plastic cups and revelling in the magical thing that is summer in Brooklyn. And that, my friends, is where Crnko comes in. This Slovenian field blend is named for the magical little village of Jarenina where the majority of this wine is consumed. It’s comprised of Laski Rizling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Ravenec, and comes in a liter bottle with a crown cap. In addition to being wildly convenient, it’s incredibly delicious. Bright, light, dry and fresh. A subtle breeze. A blade of grass. The light at the end of the tunnel. $15

J & J Eger Wine Co. Eged-Hegy Dulo, Hungary 2009

A joint venture between grower Janos Stumpf and Master Sommelier John Szabo, this 100% Kekfrankos (aka Blaufrankisch) is made as naturally as possible: “old vines, low yields, hand harvesting, no chaptalization, additives, or artificial methods of concentration.” The result is an old world stunner. From the importer: “Complex aromas of cranberry sandalwood and rose hips contrast its not so subtle minerality. Though grown in limestone it smells of granite. Rich without being overripe, the structured and savory almost herbal nature of the variety and its fresh acidity make this wine versatile for the table as well. Pair with herbed pheasant, lamb, pungent creamy cheeses and whole grain based dishes like barley or farro. For the authentic experience try Dr. Stumpf’s recommendation of wild venison sausage.” $24

Bibich R6 Riserva, North Dalmatia 2010

Fact: Zinfandel originated in Croatia. And this wine is living proof! An equal blend of native Croatian varietals Babic, Plavina, and Lasin, all genetic relations to Zin, are all co-fermented and aged 12 months in American oak to produce and old-world partner to a new-world fave. Concentrated, full and harmonious, spice-laden, with jammy fruit, tobacco, and dried herbs. WIld and exciting, and an amazing match for smoked meats. Oh you guys, I can hardly wait for the first BBQ! And since baseball season is about to go full swing, it’s worth noting that the back label states, “Serve at 61°F with mets, tuna, and cheese.” Who knew there were such passionate New York baseball fans in Croatia? (Go Yankees!) $21

March 20, 2014

In France, it’s printemps. In Spain and Italy, it’s primavera. And here in Brooklyn it’s HALLELUJAH, *&#@!$% SPRINGTIME, BABY! Rejoice with us tonight, 6-9 pm, with a tasting of three fresh new whites from across Europe, imported by the fabulous Rosenthal Wine Merchants. Our friend and neighbor Clarke will be here doing double duty: pourin’ wine and spinning THIN LIZZY on the turntable. With bread from SHE WOLF and cheese from EASTERN DISTRICT, it’s a celebration, indeed.

And keep the party goin’ on Franklin Street with a visit to our friends across the way at Duke’s Liquor Box. They’re pouring a coffee liquer and a gin tonight, both from Northern Cali, 6-9 pm!

Celler Credo Miranius, Penedes 2012

This still, dry white from Cava country is made from grapes traditionally used in sparkling wine production: 50% Xarel-o, 47% Macabeu, and 3% Chardonnay. The vineyard is certified biodynamic and organic, grapes are hand-harvested, the cork used is sustainably grown and the bottle is made from lightweight, recycled glass- how’s that for eco? And little, mischeivous Fennec foxes roam the vineyards and steal grapes! I want to go there and see them! The wine itself is crisp and vivacious, with notes of green apple, just-ripened pear, steel, and a touch of citrus. $20

De Forville Arneis, Langhe 2012

The DeForville family moved to Piemonte from Belgium in 1848 and established vineyards throughout the region, in Barbaresco and closer to Asti. We’re longtime fans of their hand-harvested Arneis, one of the few white grapes with DOC status in Piemonte. Elegant and dynamic, with soft edges, minerality and lean fruit character, this is a beautiful choice for a dinner party with friends. If I were you, I’d visit the fish guy at the McGolrick Park farmer’s market on Sunday for a fresh catch, then uncork a bottle of this. You and your guests can thank me later. $21

Bechtold Obere Hund Muscat, Alsace 2011

This ethereal, exotic, highly-perfumed Alsatian sipper from storied family-run organic producer Domaine Bechtold is like something from a fairy tale. Fields of white lillies, blossoming orange and cherry trees, honeybees carrying pollen, birds nesting and chirping away.. all the loveliest signs of the season are encompassed in this aromatic Muscat! A light, delicate beauty like this calls for a special pairing: think Asian dishes with subtle spices, simple fruit-based desserts, and lazy, breezy Saturday afternoons. $22

March 13, 2014

WINE WEATHER

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of two cheerful French whites and a favorite Portuguese red with our friend Steven from David Bowler Wine, with bread from SHE WOLF and cheese from EASTERN DISTRICT!

Jean Perrier et Fils Cuvee Gastronomie, Savoie 2013

100% Jacquere from the small village of Abymes in the Savoie. Nearly ripened pear, green apple, almonds, orange peel, wet river rocks, and a gentle salinity endear this wine to simple seafood dishes and the fondue the region is known for. $12

Domaine Guillaume Cabrol Picpoul de Pinet, Languedoc 2012

'Picpoul” means “lip stinger” in dialect, and we're longtime fans of the bright, zingy varietal. Domaine Guillaume Cabrol's has strong, lingering minerality and the softest finish. Thirst-quenching, versatile, and crowd pleasing. The vibrant lime-zest quality makes it a perfect substitute for margaritas on taco night! $12

Adega Regional de Colares Chao Rijo, Sintra 2010

You don’t have to know me well to know how much I love everything about Portugal… especially Lisboa, the beautiful capitol city. This wine, from magical Sintra just outside the city, is another thing to adore! Concentrated and plummy black fruit, exotic spices, and a soft, velvet-y texture… Transportive and comforting. $17

February 27, 2014

Party Like a Rock Star It’s cold. It’s grey. It’s winter. And it’s almost March. If you need a reason to drink (we don’t) any/all of those will do… so let’s get down! Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, to celebrate the end of February! Meg will be pouring three hard rockin’ Old World reds alongside cheese from ED and bread from SHE WOLF.

Milziade Antano Montefalco Rosso 2011

To taste this wine is to love this wine, and I can’t wait for you to join us in the fan club. A sustainably-grown old-vine blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Merlot from Umbria, a region hidden in the shadow of the Tuscan hills. Following previous generations’ examples, Antano takes a decidedly old fashioned approach to his wines- farming naturally, working by hand, and interfering very little in the winery. The result is a clean, pure expression of the grapes and terroir of the region: bright red cherry fruit, soft but persistent tannic structure, and a unique, lingering finish that demands another sip, another glass, and another bottle. $23

Cesca Vicent Priorat 2011

Fifth generation winemaker Francesca Vicent practices organic farming on her Priorat vineyards which have been growing wine grapes since the 15th century. Paying special attention to the various soil types (eleven!) and microclimates on her property, Vicent grows each of the grape varietals for her blends in the absolute optimal individual conditions. 40% Garnacha, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 10% Syrah make up this powerful yet nuanced wine that at 15.5% abv is sure to get your blood pumping and those sweaters off. $19

Vina Sastre Ribeira del Duero 2011

This organic Tempranillo comes from some of the oldest, most primely situated vineyards in the Ribeira del Duero D.O. Employing ancestral farming techniques and many of the principles of biodynamics, Jesus Sastre mixes the most traditional practices with any new technology he deems practical in creating classic regional Tempranillo. The wine is unfined and unfiltered, fermented with the use of indigenous yeasts, naturally cold stabalized, and aged in large used-oak barrels. I’m told Jesus and his family and friends enjoy this wine with lamb on the vineyard, and I think you should absolutely do the same. $21

February 20, 2014

Sophia Loren famously said “Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti!”, but I think she clearly should’ve thanked red wine as well. Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting of three Italian reds (all under 20 bucks!) with our good friend Anthony Lamonica from Golden Vines over cheese from ED and bread from She Wolf Bakery.

Sopra Berruti L’Armangia Barbera d’Asti 2011

A natural choice for Pinot Noir drinkers that want to mix it up, Barbera tends to offer lush red fruit, medium body, and well-balanced acidity. This classic Asti Barbera is all that: juicy cherries, cooked cranberries, delicate structure, and a soft, silky finish. Bellisimo! $17

Montemercurio Tedicciolo 2009

80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, and the remaining 5%, a local field blend, Tedicciolo is a perfectly food friendly wine from the hills of Tuscany. The vibrant acidity that is characteristic of Sangiovese makes the perfect match for anything tomato-y… pizza, bruschetta, or Sophia’s spaghetti. $17

Il Fitto Syrah, Cortona 2009

Il Fitto’s Syrah is a pretty special expression of a grape I find to be something of a chameleon. The perfect balance of savory meatiness and delicate black fruit, with subtle spice and soft tannins. A wine as good with steak as it is with roasted winter vegetables. Versatile and elegant. $16

January 30, 2014

Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, for a tasting with cider guru Anthony from Rowan Imports. Anthony is chock-full of information about these fermented apple libations, which are generally lighter in alcohol than most wines and are a great alternative to beer… we like cider for breakfast, cider while cooking, and cider for SUPERBOWL SUNDAY! We’ll have bottles from across Europe tonight with bread from She Wolf and cheese from ED!

Weidmann & Groh Speierling Halbtroken, Germany 2012

This German “apfelwein” is made from a single varietal of apples, Trierer Weinapfel, known for higher tannins and acidity and lower sugar. Orange marmalade, straw, earth, and a hint of old oak shine in this savory and complex liter bottle. Great with pork, both as a brine and a pairing! $16

Sidra Menendez Val d’Ornon, Asturias 2012

Light, tangy, and dry, Val d’Ornon is made from 22 varietals of apples grown on and around the Menendez estate in the Val d’Ornon Valley in North-West Spain. Traditionally poured from high above the glass in long, thin streams to release the natural effervescence, this funky unfiltered cidre has just 6.5% alcohol, making it one of the most refreshing beverages I can think of. $10

Cidre de Fouesnanz Manoir du Kinkiz, Brittany

Herve Seznec oversees 30 hectares of orchards where he grows 21+ varieties of apples without the use of pesticides or herbicides. The hand-picked apples ferment for 75 days in the bottle, resulting in a semi-dry, tart, and jubilant naturally sparkling cider. This is new to our shelves and we’re so excited to share it! $15

January 23, 2014

Thursday Night Tasting: Aussie Reds

It’s summer in the land down under… and if closing your eyes and imagining picturesque beaches, rolling hills, and kagaroos doesn’t warm you up, perhaps drinking some Australian reds will do the trick! Join us tonight, 6-9 pm, and our friend Gordon from Little Peacock Imports, to sip on some new Aussie reds over bread from She Wolf and Cheese from Eastern District!

Moorooduc Estate Pinot Noir, Victoria 2011

Single vineyard Pinot Noir from the Mornington Peninsula made in a very hands-on fashion… grapes are carefully tended, hand-harvested, and fermented in open stainless steel, then transferred to a combination of old and new oak to undergo malolactic fermentation and age for 12-14 months before bottling. We actually heard about this wine from a sales rep. from another company- she loved it so much that she reached out to let us know! A truly unique Pinot Noir, with fresh red fruit and touches of baking spice and yogurt. $36

Smallfry Joven, Barossa Valley 2011

A Joven from Australia?!? Now we’ve seen it all. Smallfry is a classic “Joven” style, remniscent of the young Riojas we love and a tribute to the time the winemaker spent in Spain. A blend of traditionally Spanish varietals: 45% Tempranillo, 38% Garnacha, 6% Monastrell, 5% Carinena, 4% Bastardo, and 2% Tinta Amerilia- made with relatively little intervention, unsulfured and unfiltered. The finished product is well balanced and exciting- the spice and brightness of the early-harvest Tempranillo is tempered perfectly by the lush, jammy Garnacha, and the other grapes blended in each bring something special to the table. $24

Best’s Great Western Bin No 1 Shiraz, Victoria 2012

Sustainably grown, cool-climate, old-vine Shiraz… definitely not a mass produced super market bottle! Best’s Bin 1 is definitely a Shiraz we can get behind! Concentrated, peppery, smoky, and intensely aromatic, and oh-so refined and structured. Short ribs, brisket, roast pork, and meaty stews are all sure-fits for this powerful, masculine red. Superbowl Sunday, anyone? $24