Monday, May 29, 2006

May 2006 - Recent Notes and Postings - Pt. 2

My most recent NYC wine bargain find might be the 2001 Chateau Bourgneuf from Bordeaux’s Pomerol region. Sherry Lehmann has apparently purchased a huge lot of the wine directly from the chateau and is passing the savings on to its customers by offering it for $20 a bottle. It typically retails for $35. It’s very good and I’ve already chosen it for our New Year’s dinner in 2007!

As the summer heats up, you might also want to check out the 2005 Commanderie de Peyrassol from Provence and the 2004 Dr. L from Dr. Loosen in the Mosel Saar Ruwer region of Germany. Both are extremely refreshing and affordable. Perfect for any weekend picnic in Central Park.

Two other solid finds I’ve come across in May include Warre’s Otima, a 10 Year Old Tawny Port that reminds me of Christmas. There also a solid sparkling wine from Gruet in New Mexico, a refreshing crisp blanc de noir.

Also noted is a recent experience I had with, an e-bay like auction site for wine that lead me to a very affordable 1982 Bordeaux.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Gruet NV Blanc de Noirs (New Mexico)

The Gruet Winery in Albuquerque, NM specializes in sparkling wines. Among them are four value offering which include NV Brut, a NV Rose, a NV Demi-Sec, and a NV Blanc de Noir. All sell for around $15 a bottle. By far the most widely available is the NV Brut.

However, I was able to bring back bottles of the Rose and Blanc de Noir from our last trip to New Mexico.

The NV Blanc de Noir is peach in color with that rising yeast characteristic on the nose and small concentratged bubbles. It’s also peach in flavor with light hints of cherry. Zingy and very crisp. This would pair wonderfully with Asian food and at approximately $15 a bottle, you could even have this with take-out Chinese.

This was purchased in Albuquerque, NM at Jubilation Wine & Spirits for $13. It’s a little harder to find in New York as all I’ve seen in stores in the NV Brut. However, sells it for $16 a bottle and will deliver to New York.

Warre's Otima - 10 Year Old Tawny Port (Portugal)

Warre’s Otima 10 Year Old Tawny Port is brick red in color with notes of chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove on the nose. It’s smooth and lush on the palate with a long finish.

I thought this was a fantastic port and a good value at approximately $20 to $25 for a 500ml bottle. It really reminded me of a Christmas spice and because of that, I’ll definitely keep it in mind for this year’s holiday season.

This wine was given to us as a gift but it can also be found for $20 at Sherry Lehmann and Union Square Wine.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

2004 Dr. L - Dr. Loosen (Mosel Saar Ruwer – Germany)

This Riesling is the entry level wine from Germany’s Dr. Loosen Winery. It’s typically good in quality regardless of vintage, available nearly everywhere as they typically produce 40,000 to 50,000 cases, and it’s always at a bargain price of approximately $10. The 2004 is no different.

Pale yellow in color with tropical fruit on the nose. Mostly melon with a hint of lemon. Slightly sweet with a little less zing/acidity that is typical of most Rieslings. This is a tasty and affordable easy drinker that is just begging to be taken to Central Park on a sunny weekend afternoon.

This was $9 at Garnet on 68th and Lexington and $10 at Sherry Lehmann but as mentioned earlier, you’ll find this at most good NYC Wine shops.

Sunday, May 21, 2006 and 1982 Bordeaux - Chateau Coufran is an online wine auction site based out of Northern California that offers thousands of wines on a weekly basis in a format similar to e-bay and other online auction sites. It’s a resource especially worth checking out if you like to try hard to find wines or older vintages that are no longer being offered in most wine stores. On the extreme end, a recent search unearthed a 1905 Chateaux Margaux for a cool $400 to $500 if you’re interested in trying a 100 year old bottle. Overall, prices run the gamut from affordable to stratospheric. Current examples include a a 1999 Cote de Baleau from St. Emilion for a $5 bid all the way up to a 1985 Domaine De La Romanee-Conti-Romanee Conti for a clean $9000. With the thousands of wines on the site though, there are plenty of bargains if you’re willing to troll the site.

This is how I came across a 1982 Chateau Coufran from the Haut Medoc region in Bordeaux for $30 (not including auction and shipping costs.)

If you’re a fan of Bordeaux you probably know that 1982 was one of the best vintages of the 20th century and the better bottles are selling for at least a couple hundred dollars to upwards of $1000+ for the likes of Lafite Rothschild and other first growth chateaux. I can’t afford that but I wanted to at least taste a wine from the legendary vintage.

Now $30 is a pretty cheap price to pay for a 1982 Bordeaux so I wasn’t expecting much. I was basically hoping it hadn’t already turned to vinegar. It was in fact over the hill but my overall impression was “not bad.”

It was red clay in color (a sign of a fading wine) with smoky wood on the nose alongside fading notes of chocolate and cherry. Chewy texture with a medium long finish but overall a bit out of balance. Still, aged Bordeaux wine is a taste unto itself and I basically thought I got my money’s worth.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

2001 Chateau Bourgneuf (Pomerol-Bordeaux)

Sherry Lehmann has a great wine sale going on right now where they’re selling the 2001 Château Bourgneuf from the Pomerol region of Bordeaux for $20 a bottle where it typically retails for approximately $35.

Deep dark red in color. The first whiff on the nose is mint and chocolate followed by notes of cedar, tobacco, coffee, and blueberry. Mint and chocolate on the palate as well. There is also a very slight herbal element which might be my only knock on this wine. Full bodied with a long chewy finish

As mentioned, Sherry Lehman has this wine on sale for $20. For comparison purposed, you can also find this at Martin Brothers Wine and Spirits on the Upper West Side for $35 and it retails on the internet for approximately $35 to $45.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

2005 Commanderie de Peyrassol (Provence)

This is the second wine of Provence’s Peyressol Chateau and is a blend of Grenache, cinsault, and syrah mouvedre. It is light pink in color with floral notes, carnation maybe? In taste, it’s minerally accompanied by stone fruit and strawberries. It’s wonderfully refreshing and a perfect wine for a warm summer afternoon or evening. I would recommend it.

As for food pairing, I’d drink this with anything you’d pack in a picnic basket. It would also pair nicely with spicy Asian food.

This was $11 at Garnet on 68th and Lexington or at Martin Brothers Wine on the Upper West Side at 107th St. and Broadway.

1997 Pichon Lalande (Bordeaux)

From one of the most stunning estates in all of Bordeaux! The 1997 vintage was relatively uneven but in my opinion, many good chateaux produced wonderful early drinking wines and now is the time to enjoy them.

The 1997 Pichon Lalande is one of those wines. Saddle leather and tobacco on the nose with cassis and black cherry. It’s ruby red in color and medium bodied. Soft and velvety in texture with a medium long finish. This is a great wine in my opinion and a good way to enjoy this fantastic estate at a price lower than what other vintages sell for.

This wine was purchased at D. Sokolin Wine in Long Island for $50 a bottle. You can order it from there. An internet search through Wine Zap shows that you can order this from various other places across the country for between $50 and $70.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Vinovino - Another Visit (Tribeca)

We sampled a couple wines on our most recent visit to Vinovino. One was the 2003 Mt. Jefferson Curve Pinot Noir from Cristom and the other was a “Gill’s Farm” Viognier from Pikes Winery in South Australia.

The Mt. Jefferson Pinot Noir was brick red in color with a cedar/woodsy nose and notes of clove and black licorice. Its medium bodied with a medium long finish and a silky texture. It’s a nice wine which sells for $14 a glass or $46 a bottle in the bar or for $28 in the store. However, it’s tasted better to me in the past and I’m looking forward to trying the 2004 to compare.

The 2003 can still be had for $28 at Columbus Circle Wines. The 2004 vintage is out and listed for $30 at K&D Wines but I’ve also seen it a Union Square Wines. In addition, Garnet is selling half-bottles of the 2004 for $14 if you literally just want a taste.

The 2004 “Gill’s Farm” Viognier from Pikes Winery in South Australia has hints of grapefruit and leeche on the nose but it looses its fruit on the palette. It’s medium bodied and light yellow in color. It sells for $9 by the glass and $34 by the bottle in the bar. I wasn’t able to check the store price and the only other place I’ve seen it is for $25 from Honestly though, I’m planning on skipping this wine next time I visit.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

2001 Palazzo Della Torre-Allegrini (Verona - Italy)

Allegrini’s 2001 Palazzo Della Torre is from Verona, Italy and contains a blend of 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Sangiovese. It’s a meaty wine. It’s garnet in color and there’s a woody earthiness to it on the nose along with hints of tobacco with underlying dark fruit. Full bodied with a lot of structure and a chewy finish. You could probably lay this down in a cellar (or the back of a closet) for a couple years to soften it up a little but its still good right now. It all depends on your taste. Recommended food pairing would be with some sort of game or grilled meat.

This is selling for $15 at PJ Wines and for $17 at both Garnet Wines and at Sherry Lehmann. I think it’s a great value at that price. You can also get it for $19 at K&D Wines and for $20 at either Columbus Circle Liquors or Union Square Wines. It appears to be in stock at most good NYC wine stores so there might be other deals out there too.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

2001 Limerick Lane 1023 (Sonoma County)

The 2001 Limerick Lane 1023 is a blend of 50% Zinfandel and 50% Syrah. It’s a big wine. Garnet in color. Its nose has a lot of smoked wood on top and blackberry and other dark fruit underneath. It’s full bodied with a medium long finish and a soft texture. Very good but it needs the right food to go a long with it and I’d recommend grilled meats.

We were treated to this wine at our friends Julanne and Julie’s house who purchased it at the winery in the Russian River Valley region of Sonoma County in California. There were only 150 cases of this produced and it appears that you have to order it through the winery to get a bottle. The cost is $35 and at that price, I’d probably wouldn’t recommend going that far but would say to check out the winery if you’re in the area and maybe pick up a bottle or two there. Julanne insists it’s one of her favorite places to visit in the area and I’m planning on making it there myself one day.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

May 2006 - Recent Notes and Postings - Pt. 1

Welcome to NYC Wine Notes, a blog that you should think of as a mini online guide to wine in New York City based on my own experiences. On these web-pages, you will see tasting notes along with links to the stores in New York City that currently carry them along with the price I paid at the time. You’ll also find links to wine bars, restaurants, and wine shops, along with a narrative of my impressions and experiences.

This web site will be continually updated with this main page serving somewhat as a table of contents for my recent experiences but please check out the archives and expecially the Wine Index page for an alphabetical list of tasting notes, restaurants, and wine bars.

Recent Notes

The wine bargain of the month might be the 2005 Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. At $12 from Sherry Lehmann, think of it as a nice summer white to take to Central Park as the days get warmer.

Not as much of a bargain at $40 but still fantastic in my opinion is the 2001 Montiano from the Lazio region of Italy and made by Falesco. It’s a 100% Merlot and a solid choice as a special occasion red in that price range.

2004 Standing Stone Vidal Ice for $27 at Vintage NY is a tremendous bargain for anyone who likes dessert wines. It’s from the Finger Lakes region of New York and would be a good choice for the fruit based desserts (a nice peach tart for example) that seem to be more popular in the summer.

On the restaurant and wine bar front, it might be worth checking out Landmarc in Tribeca for its wine program which basically offers wines at retail price. Since they don’t take reservations, think about heading down to the Vinovino wine bar down the block while waiting for your table. They have fantastic selections by the glass. If you either on the Upper East Side or just in the mood for a French Bistro experience, check out Le Bateau Ivre where they excel in French comfort food and also offer great wines by the glass in a cozy setting.


I like to view wine as a journey and this blog as my travel memoirs in a way. I fully recognize that this is just one persons opinion and that it may widely doffer from others experiences. I think the diversity in wine including personal tastes, its wide range of prices, and the various ways it accompanies life from backyard picnics to 4 star restaurants, is one of the drinks greatest attributes. That said I’d like to hear your experiences, especially when they differ from my own.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Le Bateau Ivre - East 51st St. (East Side

Landmarc, located at 179 West Broadway in Tribeca has one of the more progressive wine lists in the city and in my opinion, has some of the best grilled meats around.

First the wine. One of Landmarc’s virtues is what they call their “wine program” which is really just a fancy way of saying that the vast majority of their wines are priced at retail or just slightly above. In addition, they do not serve wine by the glass in order to avoid serving anyone a wine that’s sat on the shelf for too long. To make up for this, they have an extensive list of ½ bottles. Personally, I wish all restaurants followed this philosophy.

Second is the food where I believe they really excel at grilled meats and especially lamb and steak. However, their selections of salads and seafood are also strong.

The décor is heavy on the exposed brink with modern touches to the bar area and seating. The back of the restaurant has an open grill where you can watch the hanger steak sizzling away. The biggest complaint is the bar area is on the small side which can be somewhat of an issue as the wait can typically be an hour plus on busy nights. They do not take reservations.

The wait staff is young and are fine when it comes to helping with food. However, don’t expect high quality assistance with the wine unless you talk specifically with the sommelier/beverage director.

I’ve been to the restaurant twice and have had positive experiences both times. This last trip was highlighted by a perfectly cooked hanger steak ($27) preceded by an excellent shrimp salad ($16) that was just large enough to share with my wife. The highlight though wa the $75 bottle of 2000 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino which was a perfect pairing with our meats and at $75 was priced at retail. This wine would have been at least $100 or more elsewhere and I would have passed on it at that price. Here, you can get it and feel like it’s a splurge.