Monthly Archives: September 2011

GQ’s New Rules of Wine

Found a great article today in the October issue of GQ: The New Rules of Wine.  Some of my favorite lines:

*Of course grapes grown in different places taste different; that’s a banality no one disputes.

*…when you open a bottle of rosé champagne, people understand that you are spoiling them.

*Stop giving the wine list to the oldest, richest-looking dude at every table.

*And for the love of God, don’t sniff the cork.

Worth a full read!

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Wine

Progress report, take 2

This post could alternatively be called, “I saw my bar frame being wheeled down 97th street”.

Master Fire is still plugging away on our hood installation.

Breaking through the brick to connect the duct work. We'll be filling the old hole in.

Our bar frame has arrived!

Not something you see everyday.

Bar frame, in its new home, waiting patiently to be installed.


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Hood Installation

The scene two days ago. Up-to-code black iron, waiting patiently to be installed.

Remnants of the old hood system, when the space used to be a bodega.

Today, a hole, where the old system used to be. The air is thick with welding smoke..

The old system, in pieces, in our air shaft.

Sweet, sweet hoods. I can't stop smiling.

Happy I caught the guys in action today.

It was a welding party.

The dramatic close-up.


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Wines of Brazil

I was invited to a seminar yesterday on Wines of Brazil, featuring 14 wines and Brazilian cuisine (i.e. meat fest), hosted by Evan Goldstein, MS.  I did not go into the tasting with high hopes, but I left impressed.  The presentation was thorough, well-organized, and more importantly, many of the wines were delicious.

We sampled 3 sparklers, 2 whites and 11 reds, including some varietals that were new to me.

Some fun/nerdy facts:


*Vines were first planted in Brazil by Portuguese immigrants in the 1500s.  The first Brazilian wine was produced in Tatuape, São Paulo, in 1551.

*The Italian immigrants started arriving in 1875, many of them settling in the Rio Grande do Sul, which now accounts for 60% of the country’s grape production.

*In the mid-1960s, the multinationals started to come in – Chandon, Pernod Ricard, Martini, Cinzano.

*In the mid-1970s, production expanded toward Uruguay.  The 1980s saw an increased focus on quality.  The kids started being sent abroad for enology courses.  In 1998, the Brazil Wine Institute was formed.


*In the southern hemisphere, Brazil ranks 5th in production.  1 – Argentina, 2 – Australia, 3 – South Africa, 4 – Chile.

*Labrusca vines account for 73% of the plantings.  They use these grapes for jams, juices, concentrates and domestic table wine.

*1/3 of the fine wine production is sparkling (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Glera <Prosecco>, Muscat).  Most sparklers are produced using the Traditional Method, though we did sample a Charmat.

*For still wines, the production breakdown is: 77% red, 22% white, 1% rosé.

*There’s a great diversity of grapes.  Traditional French ones, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; Tannat, like neighboring Uruguay; interesting crossings, which I’ll get to in a moment; Italian varietals like Glera, Moscato, Teroldego, Fresa.


*Globally, per capita, Brazil ranks 101st.  The U.S. comes in at 60th.

*Domestic consumption is low, primarily due to high taxes on wine.  Domestically produced table wines are taxed at 52% and sparkling wines are taxed at 63%, while imported wines from other South American countries are taxed at 33%.


*The finer wine regions are surprisingly moderate – averages of 53°F in winter and 71.6°F in summer.

*Soils vary region to region, ranging from granite and limestone in Campanha to Basaltic in the Serra Gaúcha.

*The best vineyard sites have decent elevation – 1500-2500 ft. is not uncommon.

Evan doing his thing. What you may not be able to see on screen is a photograph taken in Pernambuco, of vineyards in 4 different season "states". Through irrigation, forced dormant periods, and other methods, growers have been able to trick these vines into 2 harvests per year.

On to the wines:

My favorite sparkler was the 2008 Cave Geisse Terroir Nature.  62% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir, 12.5% abv, traditional method, only 970 cases produced.  Jancis Robinson is showing this wine at an Expo in Hong Kong at the end of October, as an example of what can be done in Brazil.  No importer for U.S. yet.

My favorite white was the 2010 Lidio Carraro Dádivas Chardonnay.  Dádivas means present/gift.  13% abv.  No ML, no fining, no oak, 8 months lees aging.  Floral, melon and pear notes, great minerality.  Represented locally by Winebow.

Favorite reds:

2006 Lidio Carraro Grande Vindima Quorum.  40% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Tannat, 15% Cabernet Franc.  14% abv.  Lots of red fruit, spice and floral notes.  Refreshingly, no oak.  Arrived in the U.S. 3 weeks ago.  Winebow.

2008 Casa Perini Tannat.  12.5% abv.  Electric purple in color.  Elegant, but still grippy, as you’d expect from Tannat.  These Tannat clones are Basque, as opposed to Madiran.  Peninsula Beverage (Miami).

2007 Pizzato Reserva Egiodola.  The grape is pronounced edge-a-dola and means “pure blood” in Basque.  It was a cross made in the 1950s, in France, between Fer Servadou (Marcillac) and Arbouriu (Lot).  130 acres of it are now planted in Brazil.  Wild berries, white pepper, black tea, with a bite.  13% abv.  Metropolis Wine Merchants.

2008 Cara Perini Marselan.  Marselan is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache.  Producers in southwest France came up with it in the 1960s, when they were looking for color and crop.  Only 30 acres or so planted in Brazil.  Soft tannins, wild red fruit, herbaceous, great food wine.  12.5% abv.  Peninsula Beverage.

2007 Don Guerino Gran Reserva Ancellotta.  Ancellotta is an Italian grape.  You can find it in Lambrusco blends in Emilia-Romagna.  You can also find it in the Veneto and in Ticino in Switzerland.  I wrote, “rustic, animal, lovely”.  12.8% abv.  Looking for an importer.

Other tips:

*Castas is the term Brazilians use for varietal/cepage/cultivar.  Uva refers to grapes for eating.

*Saffra refers to the vintage/harvest.

Churrascaria Tribeca doesn't mess around when it comes to meat. Servers circulated with pork sausage, beef ribs, chicken legs, bacon-wrapped turkey, sirloin, prime rib, all on menacing-looking meat swords.


Filed under Wine

New Location for Vinyl Wine

The Mikes are moving.  Next door to Starbucks, steps from the 6 train, on Lexington between 96th and 97th streets.  We’ve been helping them get ready.  Soft opening tonight!

The thirsty rockers have come along.

If you’ve been to the old space, you’ll notice this one is quite a bit bigger.

In addition to greater shelf space, you'll also find a piano. Ask nicely, and maybe this guy will play for you.

Wait until you see some of these record covers that adorn the checkout.

Scrubbing the shelving last night. Donkey & Goat's The Stonecrusher made the job more fun.


Filed under What my friends are up to, Wine

Progress report

Thanks to all of you bearing with me.  We just moved to the ‘hood of the bar.  It was daunting at first, having lived below 23rd street for my 10 years in NYC, but so far we are loving it.  I’m certain I will be thanking myself when I can walk home at night after closing the bar.

Sheet rocking for first floor. Check.

The last post had a glimpse of bathroom no. 2.  Here’s the big guy:

A working toilet. Someone has already peed on the seat.

We are currently in line with the DOB for our rough in inspection.

Lots of plumbing downstairs. Don't often see a dirt floor in NYC.

Next up: subflooring upstairs, framing the basement, rough electrical runs.


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