Like a merciful bit of payback for the awful heatwave(s!) we’ve been experiencing in New York this month, I was rewarded this week with the wine world version of the perfect storm – one of those nights when everything just comes together. The venue: Apiary, a cool little restaurant in the East Village that has a brilliant little tradition – no corkage Mondays. Which means that on Monday nights, the place turns into a bit of a crossroads where wine industry veterans cross paths with tasting groups, cork dorks and other variations of the wine-obsessed, all vying for seats in a place that is packed to the gills.
On this night, I am dining with a group that, excluding me, could be described as Young Turks and Turkettes of the wine trade – a gang of bright young folks spanning the wine retail, distribution and wine bar channels of NYC. Future captains of the industry to be sure, but in this crowd, we are among the less laden with disposable income – but we have enthusiasm and some smartly chosen bottles on our side.
As we settle into our table, the first winds of the stormy wine adventure start blowing. For lo and behold, sitting at the next table is my friend Suzanne from the wine bulletin board community Wine Berserkers and a blind tasting group I’m in. We greet each other, exchange pleasantries, I ask what they’re drinking. Next thing I know, I’m being asked for my glass, and it comes back filled with burgundy. Not just any burgundy – Grand Cru burgundy. My oh my, my favorite region, and suffice it to say, drinking at the grand cru level is a rare treat for me.
Our generous neighbors have poured me a beautiful wine, a 1995 Dujac Charmes Chambertin. I smell, I swoon, I pass the glass around the table. We are off to a fantastic start.
We hand our bottles over to our server to have the corks pulled. It’s a nice lineup: Movia Lunar and ’99 Chateau Musar for the whites, and the reds include a Chamonard Morgon, ’07 Vincent Girardin Clos Renardes (more Burgundy!), a Cotes de Provence wine I’m not familiar with called Nowat, and my bottle, which I have covered for everyone’s blind tasting pleasure.
As we’re perusing our menus trying to make decisions, our neighbors have a wonderful surprise for us – they’re leaving us the wines they haven’t finished. One of the best things about having wine as a passion is the terrific generosity of wine enthusiasts – and tonight, my friends from the next table are flooring me: we get tastes of the Dujac, a 1990 Fougeray Bonnes Mares, and a healthy amount of 1991 Camille Giroud Echezeaux. Our impromptu wine dinner has gained some serious heavyweight firepower. The wines are wonderful.
As we our appetizers arrive, I’m enjoying the Movia Lunar – a true wine geek wine. It’s from a producer in Slovenia (just across the Italian border), made with noninterventionist techniques, it’s unfiltered and cloudy, and it’s made from a grape I can’t pronounce or spell without help. (It’s not that bad really – ribolla gialla) It’s somewhat reminiscent of the Gravner I had from my March 10 Tasting for the Ages- a little bit golden-orange colored, in an artisanal and unusual style, and it’s genius (more…)