Being-Together, With Wine, And Supporting Domestic Winemakers

Earlier today, I sat down to work on the article about orange wine that I started last week, and I thought: “Ugh. Who even cares?”

It’s hard to reconcile writing about wine, food, the stuff of revelry, with the events of this week. It’s still too raw for me to formulate cogent words about what I’m feeling, or how I see my life changed by this election.

But I do want to suggest that, for those of us who find beauty, culture, and intellect within wine and food, that we hold really tight to that. I don’t think I have exactly the same feelings as I did four days ago, with regard to wine, food, or life in general. But, and while I’m not quite ready to parse it all out and dive in, I do think that wine and food encourage community, and this is what we need right now. Not that we have to get wasted, or overindulge–but rather, take time to share a meal or a special bottle with someone, or some people, you know and care about. Talk about the wine if you want, or not; it’s the being-together that’s most important.

On this note, I do want to mention an upcoming dinner that I know still has a few seats left: the Division Wine Co dinner, at Rebelle on Monday night. One half of this urban winemaking team, the passionate and knowledgable Tom Monroe will be there to talk about these delicious Chenins, Gamays, and Pinots. Tom and his business partner Kate Norris are incubating a lot of Oregon’s future natural winemakers in their urban winery in Portland. If there ever was a time to support our domestic winemakers, now would be it. I’ll be at the dinner, and hope to see you there. Below is the menu and line-up of wines. 

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Meet The “Crazy French Woman” Behind RAW Wine Fair

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-4-14-24-pmIf you haven’t heard yet, here’s the good news: RAW Wine Fair, the natural wine expo originally founded in London, is popping-up in Bushwick next weekend, Sun + Mon Nov 6-7 (99 Scott Av in Brooklyn, a 5-minute walk from the Jefferson L Train). There’s still time to get tickets–and you can also plan to attend one of the after-parties happening around Brooklyn and Manhattan. For Vogue.com, I profiled Isabelle Legeron, the only French female Master of Wine and an incredibly passionate spokesperson for the natural wine movement. Check out the story here.

You can find out more info on RAW Wine here (I think if you show up on the day-of without a ticket, it should be fine, FYI). Below, I’ve compiled a broad representation of the after-parties and dinners happening around RAW. The easiest thing to do is just show up at The Ten Bells on any given night between Nov 4-8 to find winemakers parties and plenty of juice flowing. See you there!

RAW Wine After-Parties, Dinners, Events // note that prices generally do not include tax or gratuity

Sunrise Sunset: Post-RAW pop-up dinner party, Sunday Nov 6th, starting at 6pm 

Keep the party going post-RAW while staying in Bushwick, with Asian-themed bar food by chef Gary Kim (Sheep & Wolves / co-founder Anju) alongside wines BTG or bottles from Alexandre Bain, Chateau de Beru, Finca Parrera and Zanotto.

Rouge Tomate Chelsea: Jean-Pierre Rietsch and Tom Shobbrook, Nov 4, 6:30-10pm

These winemakers will be taking over the bar room of Rouge Tomate Chelsea, with special BTG offerings. No tickets or reservations necessary.

Also at Rouge Tomate Chelsea: Dinner with Sepp Muster and Franz Strohmeier Nov 9, time

The 16 seats at RTC’s communal tables will be filled for this dinner, with a family style menu featuring the hosted producers. To complement the pours from these Austrian natural wine rockstars, a vegetable-focused Austrian feast will be served (spaetzle and kraut!). $99; email or call restaurant for reservations.

Il Buco: Live music and Italian winemaker dinner, Tues Nov 8, 7-11pm

Producers will be on hand for the evening and chatting with guests, including: Franco Terpin, Il Cancelliere, Cantina D’Angello, Cantina de Barone, Fabio De Beaumont, La Maliosa, Andrea Scovero, Viña Enebro and Denis Montanar. Sugarman 3 will be performing live during dinner, featuring Neal Sugarman on saxophone, Adam Scone on Hammond organ, and Rudy Elbin on drums. Buy tickets here, $75/person (drinks will be charged separately).

Barano: Andrea Scovero & Franco Terpin dinner, Monday, Nov. 7, 7:30pm

At this new casual eatery in Brooklyn, these two iconic Italian producers will host a tasting of some of the finest offerings coming out of Piedmont and Friuli. Featured wines include: Scovero 2013 Nebbiolo, 2014 Dolcetto, 2014 Barbera; Terpin 2015 Quinto Quarto Bianco, 2015 Quinto Quarto Ramato, 2008 Ribolla Gialla, 2011 Sialis Pinot Grigio Ramato, 2009 Jakot, 2015 Sauvignon Blanc. Tickets $105; buy here.

Sel Rrose: Special dinner with Theo Milan (Domaine Henri Milan), Nov 9, 6:30-9pm

In the chic, intimate Sel Rrose space on Delancey, enjoy a specially prepared, 4-course menu with 8 delicious wines from this Provence producer, including a vertical of Clos Milan from ’06-‘09. $110; email doreen@diamondsommelierservices.com for reservations.

El Quinto Pino: Alta Alella dinner, Nov 7, 7-10pm

This is a 4-course dinner prepared by chefs Alex Raij & Eder Montero with winemaker Jose-Maria Pujol Busquet of organic estate Alta Alella in Northern Spain. $68; buy tickets here.

Brooklyn Wine Exchange: Zusslin wines seminar, Nov 2nd at 7pm

One of Alsace’s most iconic naturally-working estates, Marie Zusslin will conduct a seminar about her winery and her biodynamically made wines, showing a vertical of her Rieslings Grand Cru, no-sulfur-added Crémant de, and Pinot Noir. More info here, reserve seats by calling the store.

Diner Airstream: Joe Swick dinner hosted by Uva Wines, Nov 5th, 7:30pm

A 3-course meal paired with Joe’s beautiful Oregon wines, including some back-vintages—in a vintage airstream behind Diner! $85; for reservations email lucy@uvawines.com.

Tertulia: “Soleras & Smoke: A Night of Sherry And Wood-Fire-Grilled Fare” Nov 7, 9:30pm until late (un-related to RAW, but still cool!)

Pop-up sherry bar hosted by En Rama, with food from Speedy Romeo. Organizer Nick Africano aims to provide a relaxed, fun setting for discovering “the mysteries and myths of sherry,” for “novices and pros alike.”

The Ten Bells: “Meet the Winemakers” parties, Nov 5-8, around 8:30/9pm until late

As usual, The Ten Bells will be the point de rendez-vous for winemakers and wine lovers alike who want to get loud and rowdy. There will be 50 wines by-the-glass at low margin, so you can re-taste whatever you loved at RAW, along with—these are Sev’s words—“dancing on the tables, burning the place down!” On election night (the 8th, duh), there will be a special American natural winemakers night, featuring Brianne Day, Joe Swick, Evan Lewandowski, and more. Below is the complete line-up:

MEET THE RAW WINEMAKERS @ THE TEN BELLS

Saturday Nov. 5th, 8:30pm

Géraud Bonnet – Ferme apicole Desrochers

Jaques Perritaz – Cidrerie du Vulcain

Clémence Lelarge – Lelarge-Pugeot

Jérôme Bretaudeau – Domaine de Bellevue

François de Nicolay – Domaine Chandon de Briailles

Isabelle Jolly & Jean-Luc Chossart – Domaine Jolly-Ferriol

Luca Garbarolio – Carussin

Xavier Ledogar – Domaine Ledogar

Antonin Azzoni – Le Raisin et l’Ange

Philippe Chaigneau – Château Massereau

Even Bakke – Clos de Trias

Sunday Nov. 6th, 9pm

Marie Zusslin, Domaine Zusslin

Franz Strohmeier – Wein & Sektmanufaktur Strohmeier

Eduard Tscheppe & Stephanie Tscheppe-Eselböck – Gut Oggau

Sepp Muster – Weingut Maria & Sepp Muster

Rudolf Trossen – Weingut Rita & Rudolf Trossen

Ewald Tscheppe – Werlitsch

Petr Nejedlík – Dobrá Vinice

Kim Engle, Debra Bermingham & Katy Koken – Bloomer Creek Vineyard

Tracey & Jared Brandt – Donkey & Goat

Christian Tschida

Jason Edward Charles – Vinca Minor Wines

Hardy Wallace – Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery

Tony Coturri – Coturri Winery

Joe Pedicini – Montebruno

Monday Nov. 7th, 8:30pm (also Sev’s birthday!)

Jean-Pierre Rietsch – Domaine Rietsch

Ricardo Zanotto – Zanotto Col Fondo

Alexandre Bain – Domaine Bain

Athenais de Beru – Château de Beru

Alberto Anguissola & Diego Ragazzi – Casè

Fred Niger – Domaine de l’Ecu

Theophile Milan – Domaine Milan

Olivier Paul-Morandini – Fuori Mondo

Rubén Parera Renau – Finca Parera

Tom Shobbrook – Shobbrook Wines

Tuesday Nov. 8th – “bad ombrés and nasty women” theme, 8:30pm

Brianne Day – Day Wines

Deirdre Heekin – La Garagista Farm & Winery

Joe Pedicini – Montebruno

Joe Swick – Swick wines

Kim Engle, Debra Bermingham & Katy Koken – Bloomer Creek Vineyard

Evan Lewandowski – Ruth Lewandowski

Shaunt Oungoulian, Samuel Baron & Diego Roig – Living Wines Collective

Kenny Likitprakong – The Hobo Wine Company

Hardy Wallace – Dirty & Rowdy Family Winery

Tony Coturri – Coturri Winery

Shaunt Oungoulian – Samuel Baron – Diego Roig – Living Wines Collective

Darek Trowbridge – Old World Winery

Phillip Hart & Mary Morwood Hart – Ambyth Estate

Jason Edward Charles – Vinca Minor Wines

Lewis Dickson – La Cruz de Comal

Tracey & Jared Brandt – Donkey & Goat

The Ultimate Event And Book For Champagne Lovers

img_5459If you’ve ever had the chance to taste really good Champagne, you are undoubtedly aware of how special, terroir-driven, historical, and complex this famous bubbly wine from Northern France can be. There are some bad Champagnes out there, true, but with a bit of research it’s remarkably easy to find extraordinary Champagnes from growers and houses alike, in the $45-55 range at a good retail store.

Two great ways to learn more about Champagne: (1) buy the wonderful new book, But First Champagne, by the Washington DC-based writer David White; he spent time in the region getting to know producers of all sorts, and the book is written in a way that’s very approachable, no matter your level of knowledge. If you like picking up a special bottle of Champagne from time to time and enjoying it with dinner–because Champagne is not just for celebrations!–then you’ll appreciate having this book at home. 

(2) go to the Fête du Champagne! Generally speaking, this event (taking place in New York, various events Nov 3-6, grand tasting Nov 5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion) is mostly geared toward those who already drink quite a bit of Champagne. But there is a very cool seminar on offer with Champagne expert Peter Liem, for just $95, that will basically survey the region through six wines, which I’m sure will include some special selections. 

If you do live in New York, check out the Fête, and I’ll see you at the Grand Tasting! Also, it’s a nice way to get your palate primed for RAW Wine fair, Nov 6-7–but more about that to come! Check back here next week for a profile of RAW founder Isabelle Legeron, an overview of RAW, and a listing of events (i.e. after-parties and ticketed dinners) with RAW producers. Meanwhile, I’m off to buy some liver-cleansing vitamins, to prepare.

 

Support French Vignerons At Racines NY + Chambers Street This Month

screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-4-00-34-pmIt’s not easy to be a small wine producer anywhere in the world, but it has been particularly hard in France these past few years, with each vintage suffering from devastating frosts, hailstorms, and drought. Some of the producers I visited in the Loire Valley over the summer were anticipating that about 70 percent, or more, of their harvest was lost because of spring frosts. The French government does provide some insurance compensation, but not much.

New York City wine lovers have an easy way to provide support to these growers, over the next two weeks: Racines NY and Chambers Street Wines are participating in Vendanges Solidaires, an initiative from the French wine community to aid vignerons affected by extreme weather. In a show of solidarity and support, Racines NY and Chambers Street Wine are joining a number of restaurants and wine shops in France to help raise money to aid the most vulnerable and affected winemakers.

Financial aid collected via Vendanges Solidaires will go to those most in need – winemakers who have been established for less than ten years and who suffered 75% losses or more. The restaurant Racines NY will donate $2 from every bottle of French wine sold from October 24th through November 5th. And down the street, retailer Chambers Street Wines will donate $1 from every bottle of French wine sold at the store on October 29th and 30th. As if you needed another good reason to go out and drink some excellent French wine, here you have it.

 

What To Drink This Fall, My Latest In Vogue

Fall’s crisp weather makes me thirsty for really great wine–and I don’t mean expensive, fancy wine. Just drinkable, tasty juice that I know will pair well with excellent food and company. 

I’m sure you feel the same way. That’s why I asked the good people of San Francisco and New York’s sommelier worlds to chime in on my latest piece for Vogue.com, sharing the wines they are most excited to drink this fall–in their own words. It’s a pretty stellar list, and nothing is too expensive or difficult to find. So read the story here, and get drinking! Cheers.

 

Latest Writings: How To Get Into The Somm / Wine Sales Professions

Happy early fall! The best season of year, at least here in New York. I’m back from travels in Champagne and South Africa, and while the jet-lag is strong, I’m diving into my notes and getting to work on stories.

While I was away, my two-part series on wine industry jobs was published on VinePair: first, I wrote about how to become a sommelier, and next I profiled the wine sales profession. With the explosion of wine culture in our country, these jobs are only going to continue to grow, so hopefully the valuable advice that experienced somms + wine reps shared in these pieces will be helpful to aspirants.

You can read my story on what it takes to become a sommelier here, and about life as a wine sales rep here

Cheers!

Meet Sauvage’s Chef, The Ambitious, Fiery, Producer-Obsessed Lisa Giffen

IMG_1511Greetings, and I hope your 4th of July weekend was filled with delicious food and wine! Just one update here: I’m sure some of you who live in New York have already checked out Sauvage, which opened recently in Greenpoint (if you haven’t, I recommend it!). I profiled the ambitious, young, producer-obsessed chef there, Lisa Giffen, for Food Republic. I really admire her forward-thinking approach to sourcing ingredients, as well as the way she takes inspiration from the restaurant design and bar program. Read here