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Fancy Pants Wines

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BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The Delicious Pink One


pouillon rose.jpgR. Pouillon et Fil Champagne Brut Rose de Marceration Premier Cru NV (Champagne, France):

If you’re going to do sparkling for Valentine’s Day, you might as well spring for Champagne. And if you might as well make it a full-on lovefest and choose something pink. We’re partial to this one, a rose de maceration from R. Pouillon. Its intense pink color comes by way of 12 hours skin contact on the base wine. Most pink champagnes go pink when a bit of red wine is added right before the final cork is added. But when this pink-making method is used (also called saignée, which is a different sort of saignée than the one involved with non-sparkling rose) the results tend to be more intensity, structure… and yes, color. Technical babble aside, this is a delicious wine with notes of wild strawberries, a bit of biscuit and a lip-smacking freshness that makes it very, very easy to finish the bottle – with or without a valentine.

Price: $54.99

 
 
 

BRING ON THE BUBBLES: The (Not Really) New One


corbon 1995.jpgLet us tell you about one of our favorite new champagne growers. OK, “new” might not but the right word because the family has been growing grapes in Avize since 1912, but the estate is new to us and to the US market, so we’re very excited to introduce the wines. So, on to the details:

Corbon Champagne is a small estate in the Grand Cru village of Avize, located in the Cote de Blancs. As the name implies, this sub-region is known for turning out excellent bubblies made from the chardonnay grape, and the Blanc de Blancs of Corbon prove this point.

The estate is overseen by Agnes Corbon who returned to the family vines in 2004 after a stint working in the European food business as an engineer and buyer. In the 1970s, her father, Claude, worked up the courage (with a little push from the economic downturn) to keep the grapes and make champagne under the family label. Agnes has continued the work he started, experimenting with organics in the vineyard, and turning out wines that we love and are eager to introduce to a wider audience.

We’re lucky enough to have a range of Corbon wines in stock. And recently, we were even luckier to host a wine dinner featuring some library bottles (a.k.a. older and straight from the estate cellar) that prove how well the wines can age.

Corbon Absolument Brut NV - zero dosage that proves zero dosage doesn’t have to equal severe. This is has purity and elegance without being mean and lean. Price: $59.99

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004 (battonage) – of the two 2004s, this is the richer one, showing more biscuit notes and texture. Price: $59.99

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004 (non-battonage) – more of a razor edge to this one, while still showing off elegance and biscuit. Price: $59.99

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 2005 – still a wee babe, this opens up nicely with some time in the glass. Or… drink the 2004s and save this for later! Price: $59.99

Corbon Blanc de Blancs Brut 1995 MAGNUM – absolutely gorgeous. Showing the toffee and rich brioche that comes with age, while maintaining an underlying freshness. Price: $280 (that’s essentially $140/bottle for gorgeously aged bubbles direct from the estate cellar)

To purchase, go to our WINES pages and search on CORBON.

 
 
 

THE UNICORN HAS LANDED: Chateau Musar Rose 2012


This exists.

musar rose.jpgAnd no, your eyes do not deceive you. This is an actual bottle of Chateau Musar rose.

It's not the Jeune, which we know and love as the deeply colored $20-ish cinsault-based rose. This is not that. This is it's own thing. A very rare creature...... dare I call it a unicorn?  I had heard of it, glimpsed images of it in the background of photos, perhaps seen it in dreams. But it wasn't until I actually visited the actual cellars of Chateau Musar - and had a very wonderful dinner with my traveling group at the home of the Hochar family, that I actually tasted it. And that was about three years ago, fresh of the plane, in the haze of jet lag... did I really taste it? Or did I just think I did?  Since then, I've asked about it, pleaded for some to make its way to the US market. And now it has..... the unicorn has landed.

Some technical details? It's the same base wine as the whites - made from the mystical old vines of obidah and merwah - with the addition of a bit of cinsault for color and a subtle berry note. It's gorgeously textured and subtly fruited. And given the extreme ageability of the both Musar reds and whites, it shouldn't be a surprise that this is a rose that can age as well. So don't be afraid to hide some away.

Price: $51.99

 
 
 

Pecorino! Yes it's also a grape!


Emidio Pecorino.jpgI know many associate Pecorino with the world of cheese, but this wine made from the grape of the same name is one of the finest white wines to pass my lips in quite some time! It’s lush, silky texture and concentrated flavors and aromas of apricot marmalade, toasted almond and a touch of sweet spice had me dreaming of sun-kissed vineyards and a walk in the Italian countryside! Pure heaven in a bottle, and a perfect pairing with cheeses of the same name drizzled with orange blossom honey!

Produced in the region of Abruzzo by Emidio Pepe and family the grapes are grown organically on two hectares and crushed delicately by foot in wooden tubs in order to avoid the contact between the iron presses and the acids of the fruit. The juice then goes into glass-lined cement vats for fermentation, then, after a few months it is transferred to bottle. It ages in the cellar in the bottle for 2-3 years and is carefully hand decanted before release. The 2010 vintage is the first release of this fancy pants wine and hopefully not the last.
 
 
 

ADVENTURES IN BYO: Fuleen and Overnoy-Crinquand


BYO nights and restaurants are one of the great not-so-secrets of the New York wine trade. It’s not about avoiding restaurant mark-ups. (We’re in the business so we all understand why a bottle on a wine list costs more than it does in a shop and assuming the list is well thought out and the mark-up doesn’t fall into the evil range, we’re happy to pay up.) BYO is really a way to tap into our own private stashes and share with friends…. Without the hassle of cooking dinner or washing the silverware.

Many of these BYO joints are Chinese restaurants. There tend to be different tribes haunting different places – Grand Sichuan, Peking Duck House and Fuleen Seafood are three that come up often. If you have an eagle eye for your Instagram feed, you’ll be able to spot who’s drinking where even if they’re not “checked in.”

Shitty glassware and an ice bucket that’s literally a bucket (and yes, I feel this is an acceptable, old school use of ‘literally’) are part of the experience. If you’re feeling fancy, you can bring your own stemware, so if you happen to be at one of these places and notice a table in the corner where the bottles outnumber the guests more than two to one and their glassware is way way nicer than yours… chances are good you’ve stumbled upon a hoard of New York wine industry folks having a night out.

Our Sunday man David recently went to Fuleen Seafood (my personal favorite of the Chinese BYOs) for a dinner. After much discussion, I sent him off with a bottle I thought would go particularly well with the restaurant’s salty/savory seafood specialties. Did I pick well? Read below to find out. (Hint: of course I picked well… it’s my job!!)

Distinguished and Surprisingly Versatile

overnoy.jpgFans of wines made from the Savagnin grape love their notes of walnut, salt and orange rind. The Overnoy-Crinquand Savagnin 2010 from the town of Pupillon in France's Jura region has sure possession of these notes. But a recent dinner at Fuleen on 11 Division St. in Chinatown showcased the stunning range of this -- wine, which spends several years aging in old oak barrels before release.

Fuleen - a Chinatown haunt for more than a few local wine geeks - has a generous BYOB policy, an extensive menu, and tasty, affordable food. At $4 each, the fried quail are a steal, particularly in service to the Overnoy-Crinquand. Its notes of toasted brioche complement the quail and the wine's unexpected acidity cleanses the palate between morsels.

But it's with the main courses that the Savagnin shines. Against a dish of shrimp, garlic, peanuts and red and green peppers the wine reveals a slight smokiness and then some honey to smooth the garlic. A plate of eggplant, chicken and salted fish elicits melon and then a little black tea from this wine, and a side of chive stems calls forth a hint of milk chocolate - not kidding, it's in there. The wine's body is never thrown out of balance but oscillates from leaner to more opulent depending on the dish with which it's paired.

There are next-day leftovers of both meals - Fuleen portions are enormous - and wine, which when sampled with an Italian hard cheese reverts to the more expected flavors of walnut and fine honey. A pairing of Savagnin and Comte, the Jura's answer to Gruyere, is justifiably classic, but dinner at Fuleen shows just how much the Overnoy-Crinquand Savagnin 2010 has to offer.

Price: $47.99

 
 
 

Jura Duty: Marcel Petite, 2 yr Comte, Raw Cow + Gahier Vin Jaune


Aged in the Fort Saint Antoine in Jura, this Comte is produced by one of 13 high altitude cooperatives ("Fruitiers") approved by affineur Marcel Petite. This Comte is aged for 2 years, which is the longest the affineur will age any cheese. A bit more savory, buttery and with just a touch of milk chocolate dipped hazelnuts on the finish. For a match made in heaven pair with one of our Vin Jaune’s. It would be an amazing gift for the Jura fan in your life!

Pair with Michel Gahier Vin Jaune 2006 Price: $74.99

 
 
 

For those who want to skip straight to dessert


navarre PdC.jpgR. Navarre Pineau des Charentes Vieux (Cognac, France): You may not know about Pineau des Charents. But you need to. You really, really need to. Broken down to a simple definition, Pineaux des Charents are basically unfermented grape juice fortified with cognac. But what they really are is magic. Pure, delicious, crazy good magic. They are sweet, but the kick of Cognac gives them a sweet/n/strong attitude that makes them so irresistible. There’s some of the nutty, caramel notes a tawny port, but with of freshness and liveliness that makes them oh, so charming. At around $65/bottle, they aren’t cheap, but if you try one, you’ll understand why one customer said, “I really wish I didn't know these existed.” They’re just that good. You’ll find yourself thinking about them while typing away at your desk, mulling over spreadsheets and the number of emails you need to send (or maybe that’s just me.)

Price: $68.99

 
 
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