It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a word. I started strong. Got a bit lazy. twitter requires less commitment. But it’s time to catch up.
It was an overcast Saturday, chilly and damp. I was overcome with the rare weekend impulse to jump on the R train and head into the city. I love those moments where I get a surge of energy - hit it and run.
My first stop was at Davidoff at Time Warner Center for Zino Brasil cigarillos. As always the Time Warner Center was swarmed with neurotic and ambitious consumers.
I jumped back on to the 1 train. 1 stop and a half a block to AckerMerral wine shop on 72nd. My first time in this shop. The staff was helpful and not over attentive. I love browsing in wine shops. Studying the labels before committing.
The representative from Pisco Porton was present pouring their newly released Pisco, “Little Bird”. Made in Peru, Pisco is a white spirit made from white grapes. You can have it neat or in mixed drinks. The rep poured me a healthy portion and it cleared the chill out of my bones. The bottles retails for $40+. I liked it, but not that much.
As I continued my journey through the shop I discovered the Longoria 2007 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah. In 2007 A and I had the good fortune to visit Longoria’s tasting room located in Los Olivos, CA. I remembered tasting and purchasing their Blues Cuvee at the time, don’t recall the vintage. But it was good. I decided to purchase the Longoria Syrah.
I headed back down to Union Square where I met A. We were starving and thirsty, mostly thirsty. I’d been hearing about Corkbuzz run by Master Sommelier @lauramaniec, conveniently located on 13th Street.
When we arrived we were quickly seated at a large community style table. There were three middle aged women sitting at the end of table who appeared to have poles stuck up their asses. I ignored them, however A informed me they were having a depressing conversation about their kids. No thanks. I’m there to eat and drink.
The staff was friendly and attentive. We reviewed the wine menu. I continued to make the same mistake I frequently make. I ordered by the glass. Duh, it’s not the best value. But I really didn’t have the intention of drinking more than one glass. However, the wine I chose was fantastic. The Don David Tannat by Michael Torino. The Tannat was deep dark purple, deep violet in color. It has a smokey aroma the feel and taste of a mouthful of dark chocolate. I must run out and find a bottle.
Review the Corkbuzz menu and winelist and your mouth will water. We ordered the following, Crab beignets, Lamb chops, Potato hash & Burrata. It was all delicately prepared and tasty.
During dinner a large group of 6 was seated at the other end of the table. As they continued greeting each other we overheard one of the men say (pointing to girl next to him), “I’m married but I’m banging her”.
It all ended too soon. We settled the bill and headed back to Brooklyn.
A couple days later I opened the Longoria Syrah as a second bottle. But it wasn’t until the next day I could get an accurate taste. It was peppery, spicy and deep rich berry. According to their website it isn’t readily available. Fortunately Acker Merral had some in stock. I searched on Wine Searcher but no luck.
A and I celebrated our 3rd Anniversary at Buttermilk Channel in Carrol Gardens. Lucky enough for us they have BYOB on Tuesdays, no corkage fee! By the way, they don’t accept reservations for parties under 5. So show up early or be prepared to wait for a table.
We were greeted politely and after a short wait seated at nice table. I pulled out the wine I brought with us Ridge Vineyards 2009 Zinfandel Three Valleys and the waitress promptly asked if I’d like it decanted. Of course, she briefly disappeared, poured it into a decanter and returned to the table.
We started with the Barbecue Oysters (w/smoked bacon and green onions). I’m not a fan of Oysters, in fact I just avoid raw oysters. But wow, I could have eaten a dozen easily. We tried the Grilled kale and Endive salad, (w/anchovy dressing, soft boiled egg & sourdough croutons). Both starter and salad were mood changing.
For the main course I ordered the Duck Meat Loaf. It was excellent. The meat loaf was on top of a parsnip-ginger puree. Topped with a beautiful onion ring. Check out the menu. A ordered the Tuesday special, Jamison Farm Lamb. A wasn’t as thrilled about this dish as I was about mine. I believe A’s preparation of lamb has more depth then BMC’s.
The Ridge Vineyard Zin (70% zinfandel, 10% petite sirah, 15% carignane, 3% grenache, 2% mataro) is well balanced and stands on its own. Medium in body with a smoky peppery flavor. It’s beautiful. You can find it at Astor Wines.
I was feeling indulgent. So for dessert we tried Doug’s Pecan Pie Sundae. It’s pecan pie filling and ice cream. What could go wrong? It was perfect.
On Wednesday night, A and I attended the UrbanWordNYCTeenPoetrySlam at the NuyoricanPoetsCafé. It was inspiring hearing the teenagers perform their poetry. I momentarily felt hopeful. Yes, that’s rare. But rest assured reality set back in as I exited the Nuyo.
Thirsty and hungry we briskly walked across E. 3rdstreet. Tempted by the thought of TwoBootsPizzeria we decided to walk over to ‘inoteca located at 98 Rivington. The weather was nice. The LES was busy and barely recognizable. But fortunately the wait wasn’t long. We landed a pleasant table along the open window walls.
Obviously, the first order of business was choosing a bottle. ‘inoteca’s wine menu offers over 600 wines by the bottle. This is where having a limited budget conveniently narrows your options. After enjoying an Aglianico on Sunday night, we decided to go with the 2008 SanMartinoAglianicodelVulture “Siir”. The bottle retails for $17+. ‘inoteca’s price is $36. Not bad at all, seriously. I’ve found bottles that retail for much less with a much higher mark up in select establishments. This wine was spicy and savory with a dark fruit tone. This organic wine was produced by SanMartino winery located in Forenza, IT.
We started with the Grilled Calamari salad (soppresetta, celery, chickpea and spicy tomato vinaigrette). While eating the salad a cab stopped on Ludlow and a young, sharply dressed couple exited the cab. The driver was visibly pissed and rolled up the receipt in his fist and made an attempt to throw it out of the passenger window towards the couple. He failed. The male passenger looked back at the driver. Obviously, the passengers refused to tip, tipped poorly or forgot altogether. They looked lost as they stepped up onto the curb looking for their fellow socialites.
I ordered the Roasted Pork Shoulder Panini (apples, watercress & aioli) and A ordered the Spaghetti Squash Carbonara (w/ pancetta, scallion & grana padano). The food was well prepared. The service from the waitress, sommelier, and bussers were pleasant.
I’ve only one suggestion for inoteca. Turn the musicdown.
The final sip always comes too soon.
It was another anxiety ridden Sunday evening filled with insecurities. Fortunately, I found the cure, the 2006 Ocone Aglianico Taburno. I’m not advising anyone to self medicate, but it occasionally works.
Just like our lives this Aglianico is unfiltered and demands decanting. I could go on about firm tannins, hints of rhubarb, blackberry and blueberry and its ruby red color, but I don’t want to bore you. It tastes good.
I’m renaming the 2006 Ocone Aglianico the organic anxiety killer.
I stopped by Astor Wines Friday night and tasted both the Wölffer Estate 2008 Cab Franc and the 2009 Chardonnay. I decided to go with the Cab Franc (unfined/unfiltered) and it paired beautifully with grilled hanger steak. It’s light, lovely, and a bit peppery. The Chardonnay offers your mouth an explosion of fruit but will have to wait for a warm summer night.
I also tasted the Lebanese wine Massaya Gold Reserve, described on Massaya’s website as their luxury brand and comes with a luxury price tag $30+. It’s a balls to the wall blend. Dark and rich and will require a knife and fork. Next time I’m feeling luxuries I’ll splurge.
Pictured below: Wölffer Estate 2008 Cab Franc