Monday, August 22, 2005

Vintage New York Wine Bar

One of our most recent NYC Wine excursions was a visit to the new Wine Bar at Vintage New York on 482 Broome Street at the corner of Wooster in Soho. Vintage New York is one of the few stores in New York City that carry New York State wines and in my opinion, it’s the only one in the city with a comprehensive sampling of what the state has to offer the wine world. Vintage New York carries approximately 200 New York State Wines from the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, and Long Island and the new Wine Bar offers most, if not all of them, buy the glass along with a menu of light fare made from local product. The seating area is a comfortable two tier set-up which is a perfect casual place to hang out with friends.

The trip was made mostly to check out the space but also to sample some New York State wines, some of which are among my all time favorites having grown up in the Finger Lake region. Our tasting revolved mostly around Finger Lake Rieslings which are among my personal favorites. The panel of tasters included myself, my wife Tahirih Sadrieh, and friends Brian Cogan and Lisa Bochini, a college professor and graphic designer, respectively and all of us wine lovers. Below is a list of the wines we sampled that night along with our thoughts.


We started with the Long Island Schneider Cabernet Franc “le Breton” 2003. The bottle we bought was $32 or they sell it for $8 by the glass. You can walk out of the store with it for $18.99. We though this wine was balanced and smooth with hints of chocolate, an earthy aroma and a medium finish. Lisa thought it wasn’t quite as complex as it smelled but that it had enough acidity to go well with food. Brian thought it reminded him of a French film set on Long Island where everyone toasts all the ducks as they walk along on the beach and then these water fowl are then later collected and made into dinner where everyone then toasts the foie gras.

We all tried a flight of Bordeaux-style reds from Long Island beginning with the Pindar Pythagoras-NV, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec that we all thought had an ok fragrance but tasted flat and not very balanced. It sells for $8 a glass or $14.99 at the store.

The 2001 Macari Bergen Road is much more expensive at $12 a glass or $39.00 at the store. It was certainly better than the Pindar with an Earthy, fruit forward nose, a dark cherry taste, and a soft medium finish. This would probably pair perfectly with dark chocolate. However, its not very complex and probably not worth the price-tag.

Finally, the 2001 Paumanok Assemblage, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, was much fuller bodies with notes of blackberry and smoke. It had a wonderful nose and nice long finish. This was our favorite red and would pair well with the classic steak. This also sells for $12 a glass or $39.00 at the store and is more worth the money compared to the Macari.


The 2003 Chateau Lafayette Reneau Johannisberg Riesling sells for $12.99 at the store or $7 a glass. This had a peach nose with strong acidity. It’s a slightly sweet, zingy wine that would probably be great with Chinese or other spicy food.

The 2003 Standing Stone Riesling sells for $13.99 a bottle at the store or $7 a glass at the bar. This is crisp, minerally wine which. Not overly complex but straight forward and well balanced. We thought this was a little close to the classic Reisling that you might find from Alsace.

The 2003 Ravines Riesling sells for $16.99 a bottle or $8 a glass. This wine was our favorite of the night, whites and reds. Apparently, according to my mom, the former winemaker at Dr. Konstantine Frank left a couple years ago to start his own winery. This is it. We thought the Ravines had a slight floral bouquet, drier than the others, smooth, and had good acidity. It had a medium finish that was still the longest of the ones we tasted.

Separately, I tasted the 2003 Standing Stone Chardonnay from the Finger Lakes which sells for $10.99 a bottle. This is one of my favorite everyday Chardonnays that might appeal more to fans of Chablis or the un-oaked variety rather than the bigger oaked California versions. This has a light taste that almost reminds me of a sauvignon blanc. Its crisp with lemon as the dominate flavor and medium bodied.
Overall, the Vintage New York Wine Bar is a hit in my book mostly for the fact that you can get turned on to New York State Wines by sampling the huge array they have on hand. Its one of the few places you can find a wide array of these wines and many are well worth seeking out. My only complaint (and this is the Upstate New Yorker in my talking and should be taken with a gain of salt) is that the Finger Lake wines are much much cheaper upstate. The best store for picking up these gems at bargin prices is GCP Wine and Liquors in Elmira Heights, a mere 5 hour drive from NYC but I’m sure they ship. There you can fine the Standing Stone Chardonnay for $6.99 ($10.99 at Vintage) or the Ravines Riesling for $12.99 ($16.99 at Vintage)