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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 3, 2014


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 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 6, 2014

Happy Thursday everyone! Big things are happening in March… “In like a LION” is right!

Our best girl Meg is in San Francisco this week and, while there, she passed her Certified Sommelier exam on March 3rd administered by The Court of Master Sommeliers!


And a well-deserved break for her as she explores the great city of San Francisco, discovering disco churches and lunching with Alice Waters… [the above photo is from a different trip (Palm Springs 2013?) but I thought it was appropriate for this week’s events, including Mardi Gras.]

Speaking of French culture, we will be pouring 3 gorgeous organic reds from France for you this evening. It just so happens that 2 out of 3 of them are “Meg’s Picks” and the 3rd is a brand new Bordeaux that we are excited to share with you… Ariel Prince of Savio Soares Selections will be here tonight from 6-9pm to fill you in on all the juicy details of these beautiful wines. Come out and taste! There will be cheese from Eastern District and bread from She Wolf Bakery.

Organic Pinot Noir from Bugey. Ruby red in color and soft red fruit on the palate. Loads of finesse! Delicate tannins make this wine a great pairing for roast chicken or fresh cheeses. Meg says, “Oh! Hello, gorgeous! I love this pretty Pinot Noir from Bugey, a tiny appellation steeped in history. Clean and mineral rich with a dash of je ne sais quoi.” $19

Organic Gamay from Beaujolais. This is both a staff and customer favorite. What can I say? Each grape is hand-picked in October, resulting in a wine with perfect balance of fruit, earth, and acidity. Meg says, “This totally delightful Gamay is made by Beaujolais royalty. Biodynamic and organic in the vineyard with natural vinification methods. Happy, pretty, gentle, fresh.” $19

A certified organic unoaked Bordeaux from Sainte-Foy. Sainte-Foy is an appellation on the eastern edge of Bordeaux, just a few miles west of Bergerac. This wine is a blend of 63% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot. A softer side of Bordeaux, this wine is quite versatile and will pair well with many menu items. Brick chicken, spare ribs, steak salad, minestrone… what’s for dinner? I can’t wait to hear what Meg has to say about this wine. $24

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

February 14, 2014

Friday Night Tasting

Tuscan winemaker Sean O’Callaghan believes “You can not fully appreciate the culture of Italy and Italian wine if you have never tried a great Sangiovese.” Well my friends, tonight is your chance! Sean will be here tonight, 7-9 pm, pouring two of his award-winning organic Chiantis from Riecine, where he has been the winemaker since 1991. We’re thrilled to welcome him and share this iconic taste of Italy with you tonight!

Riecine Chianti Classico 2011

Medium-bodied with lots of fresh berry fruit character, light tannins, and a spicy finish, Riecine’s flagship wine is classic Chianti in every sense of the word. Making Valentine’s dinner for your love? This wine is terrific with pretty much anything tomato based- think puttanesca, meaty ragus, and hand-made pizzas. $30

Riecine Chianti Classico Riserva 2009

Riecine’s wines are absolutely a hand-made affair- organically grown, hand picked, foot-stomped, and well-tended in the cellars by Sean himself. The 2009 Riserva is concentrated and well structured with a finish that goes on for days. This Riserva loves meat and makes a special wine for your special someone on this cold Valentine’s Day! $62

February 13, 2014

What weather? Wine tasting is ON.

Let’s all try to channel Audry Hepburn in Charade and put on our most fashionable winter black (don’t forget the hood), our best smile, and head over to Dandelion Wine tonight for some vino! James, our friend, neighbor, and representative from Acid, Inc. is trekking over to pour three red wines from Italy; a light, a medium, and a fuller bodied red all priced under $20! We’ll have cheese from ED, bread from She-Wolf, and some hot music spinning to keep everyone’s spirits up during the worst winter ever?

Not incentive enough? Duke’s Liquor Box is having a spirits tasting right across the street… so it’ll be a double whammy.

Guaranteed free buzz on Franklin Street tonight!

In the eighties, a group of like-minded people came together to form Ottomarzo, a co-op organization dedicated to the production and marketing of organic products. In 2000, Alessandro Lanza founded with Paolo Fusina the “vin & organic product srl”. While originally a co-op model they soon were able to open Cantina della Valpantena. This was what allowed them to start taking over management of certain vineyards and produce a estate driven style organic line put under the label, Lanza. This light-bodied red is our go-to for pairing with fish. It’s also a nice sipper for when there’s no food to be had except for some popcorn while watching a Downton Abbey marathon. Even better with a slight chill on it, so put it on your fire escape for 10 minutes before popping the cork. $14

Located along the northern coastline of Le Marche (North of Ancona!) near the town of Fano, Morelli makes whites and reds with remarkable freshness due in part to the cool breeze from the Adriatic and the light grayish soils composed primarily of sand and tufo. The seaside temperatures of this small terraced vineyard give beautifully ripened fruit for Claudio’s 100% stainless steel Sangiovese. We loved this medium-bodied wine the first time we tried it. The brightness of the fresh red fruit and soft tannins made this a no-brainer for us… we couldn’t wait to drink it with a bowl of hearty pasta. $16

Lorenzo Marra, owner of Schola Sarmenti, says their goal is to make wines that speak of their terroir, their culture, their cuisine. This is accomplished by harvesting from old vines — some up to 70 years old, using traditional trellising (for Puglia, this means the vines look like bushes) and very little oak influence, if any at all. Located on southern, interior tip of the heel of Italy’s boot, the vineyards are a mere 10 minute drive from the sea, under sunny, hot arid skies the vines are grown on soils rich with marine fossils. This Rosso is 100% oragnically farmed 45 year old Negroamaro. No oak is used in making this wine, and it might surprise some people due to the firm structure and spice of this full-bodied red. Actually, Negroamaro for years was shipped to Northern Italy and even into Burgundy to provide color and richness to the thinner, Northern wines. So if you’re in the mood for bold spice, this is the wine for you… $19

January 31, 2014


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