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New York City
Wine Director at Piora, Writer and Instructor.
The wines from Switzerland hold great potential. Rarely are they exported but a few exceptional producers have made their way onto the New York market. At Piora we have quite a few as they are great food wines- low in alcohol, bright and high acidity with savory elements.
My favorite producer is CAVE CALOZ. They have been making wine for quite some time but in 2013 a brilliant young winemaker took over- their daughter, Sandrine. Although Switzerland is quite liberal, very few females are in the wine industry. As the story goes, when Sandrine was born, her grandfather excitedly opened a bottle of Champagne to celebrate his successor who would one day take over the winery. Minutes later, upon learning that his grandchild was a girl, he was reported as fuming, “Do you know how hard it is to put a cork back in a Champagne bottle?” Luckily, Sandrine’s hard work and skill put his skepticism to rest, and today he—along with a legion of fans—seems impressed by her wines.
Their vineyards teeter high above the Valais valley. Like Burgundy, the plots of vines are squeezed into neat little rows that have been severely divided over time and through families. Her best wines come from the appellation, Coteaux de Sierre, which holds two distinct sites: La Mourzière and Les Bernunes.
Her Fendant (Chasselas) is like drinking pure spring water. Sometimes I think that if I look down in the glass I will see fish swimming in it! And if you are looking for a red, her Alpine-herb scented Cornalin is the way to go. Only otherwise seen in the Valle d’Aoste, Cornalinmust be made carefully, but a well-made one like Sandrine’s seems to play a Syrah-like charade on the palate while boasting the inky color of Dolcetto.
Food photographer and writer
This was a phenomenal piece! Great story, and very exciting that you guys are carrying Swiss wines!
over 1 year ago
My friends think I'm a food snob
I second that, loved reading this!
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New York City
Wine Director at La Sirena
Benoit Marguet. This is the Champagne house you should be looking to drink all the time for excellent value. While the Marguet house has been around for some time, it wasn't until recently that Benoit took over and really but his signature on the wines. As of 2009, Benoit switched over much of his agriculture to Organic and is currently moving towards Biodynamic viticulture. His Champagne is shockingly consistent despite no additional sulfur added and a dosage of only around 3 grams per liter (making this wine an extra brut style). Currently we are pouring the label Elements 10 (soon to become Elements 11) at Del Posto which-- as the name implies-- features a base 2010 vintage, but includes reserve wines going back to the 2004 vintage. The Elements 11 reserve wine only goes back to 2009 just in case when you come in that's what we're pouring. Either way, all of the fruit comes from the Grand Crus of Ambonnay and Bouzy in Northern Champagne and the focus here is Pinot Noir. The 2010 base shows a rich fruit but defined minerality that drives home the sense of place. Personally, I'm excited to pour the 2011 base vintage. While it was a challenging year that many drinkers aren't looking forward to, I think there is great potential in this wine for drinkers who appreciate a bit more tension in the glass. Here, much like the wines from Georges Laval (Imported by the same company Transatlantic Bubbles and a good friend of Benoit) you pick up a distinct herbal, think coriander, and a beautiful salinity that begs for some bar snacks. Fortunately at Del Posto you can come in and relax in our intimate lounge and eat some black truffle chickpea fritters while you sip Champagne. I should mention, the wine is 38 dollars a glass, but that means it's just under $120 a bottle on our wine list which compared to some of the other labels on our list is absolute value. And, so as to not just talk about my place of work, I also know you can find the 2008 vintage bottle at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels where all-star wine director Caleb Ganzer has the wine aggressively priced for all of our benefit at only 84 dollars a bottle. Pick which cozy restaurant you want to drink in and taste this great Champagne! Or, split the difference and go to both!
I must also give mention to another wine by the glass on our list from Sicily. I mean, we're an Italian restaurant after all. I absolutely love the wines from Alice Bonaccorsi, a relatively new winemaker in Sicily who is doing a phenomenal job with her white wines. The Bonaccorsi family has been making wine for some time, but only for family consumption. It wasn't until they received consulting from Salvo Foti, the man who I swear has made wine for everyone on Etna at some point, that they began to commercially release their wine. The Valcerasa we pour by the glass features 100% Carricante, a grape that is notorious for a pithy, citrusy, slightly bitter, tart and light profile. While this does wonders for creating a wine with outstanding longevity (displayed by Benanti's Pietramarina label), it isn't always the most pleasant to drink young. To counteract this, Alice does a brief maceration on the skins which creates a whole new wine. Now this isn't like an orange wine or a fully skin-fermented wine, but just a couple of hours on the skins before pressing gives the Carricante a beautiful golden hue, rich, broad texture, and you still retain that wonderfully volcanic, earthy finish.
Private chef specializing in Italian, French
I enjoyed every bit of this! Do you know if its possible to buy Benoit Marguet retail at any stores around the city?
Flatiron wines has Elements 10 in stock (no surprise, that's one of my favorite wine stores in the city since their selection is awesome) and it looks like Chambers Street has the Elements 11! At both stores the wine retails for 49.99 which is certainly not the cheapest but beats out many others!
Baker, Blogger, Dog-Lover
This was such a joy to read! Thank you!
Sommelier at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Alexandre Chartogne is a young, passionate and charismatic winemaker at the helm of Chartogne Taillet, a grower Champagne house with roots stretching back to the 15th century. In Champagne the norm is to blend grapes from multiple sites to craft a house style. However, Chartogne Taillet focuses on producing single vineyard, single varietal Champagne from parcels located in the town of Merfy. Each of his wines are an elegantly crafted expression of terroir.
Alexandre is an example of wine making at its best - fanatical attention to the vineyard (e.g. plowing with horses to minimize subsurface soil compaction) and willingness to experiment in the winery (e.g. use of concrete eggs). His wines achieve a focused, laser sharp elegance that will appeal to most Champagne lovers.
We proudly carry several of his wines at the Aldo Sohm Wine Bar.
A balanced diet is a cookie in both hands.
Wonderful background about Chartogne, I really enjoyed this piece. Thank you!
Wine lover, world traveler
Aldo Sohm is one of my favorites, if you guys recommend it, I'm tryin it!
I spend a disproportionate amount of my income of food
I really liked this -- very cool hearing about some of the up and coming winemakers
Sommelier, Restaurant Marc Forgione
Chartogne-Taillet is one of my favorites. I had the pleasure of meeting him this year and not only are the wines incredible, he is also a great human being!
about 1 year ago
Current wine rep for Savio Soares Selections and bartender at Sweet Chick Ludlow. Past lives include The Modern, Craft and Raines Law Room.
I love this place. Everyone there is knowledgable and approachable, the wine list is bonkers and has something for everyone.
The wines from Nicolas Renaud are some of my personal favorites. For over 10 years Renaud, (a former geography and history teacher) worked nights and weekends (luckily, school is out during harvests!) for Domaine de Vieille Julienne and taught during the day. Then in 2005 he decided that he wanted to make wine full time, so he rented vines and began what he terms his ‘Clos des Grillons’. His encompassing knowledge of almost every rock and soil, as well as where the forgotten older vines reside, Nicolas was able to piece together a magnificent string of parcels throughout the area. Now, he and his wife are working around the clock to reveal the stories of our stony earth. He does so first by using organic measures when working the vineyards: no chemicals are used, and soil maintenance is done by hand. Over at Betony they have his Côtes du Rhône Les Terres Blanches, a 50/50 Grenache/Carignan that is a delicious balance of earth and fruit!
Food Enthusiast, Lawyer, Mother
Lovely! Very nice story about Renaud
This makes me wonder what I could get done on my nights and weekends :)
Head Sommelier at La Compagnie (des Vins Surnaturels)
I love going to Reynard. Lee Campbell's expertly selected list focuses on a few growers from various fringe regions of France and there are ALWAYS excellent finds. I recently dined there and drank a lovely Macon-Chaintre by Domaine Valette. While Domaine Valette is 3 generations strong in Burgundy, for a region that's this steeped in history, that actually pretty new! The current generation has taken things in a more organic and natural direction and the resultant wines are rich, textured and pure. I always love seeing what producer Campbell will add to the wine list next and there's always a new discovery to be had. I love drinking off this list and eating the ever changing range of seasonal dishes coming out of the kitchen at Reynard in the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Cheap eats to fine dining and everything in between
Reynard is one of my go to spots in BK, I'll be on the lookout for this next time!
I've heard great things about the wine list there, excellent writeup about these guys.
Sounds awesome, how much does a bottle of that run?
Jose J Valverde
Sommelier at Toro NYC
Envínate is the name of the Spanish Wine Project. It was founded by 4 friends: Roberto Santana, Alfonso Torrente, Laura Ramos, and José Martínez, who met while studying Enology at the University Miguel Hernandez in Alicante. These guys have started Envínate with the desire to create wines that are expressive of terroir. Wines in line with its surrounding nature, that are maintained and kept in accordance with the traditions established over time. Using in some cases, nearly-forgotten grape varietals that are indigenous to the regions where their wines are produced. So far, they make wine in 4 different areas of Spain: Galicia, Canary Islands, Extremadura & Castilla-La Mancha. I have recently discovered these wines and already understand how special and interesting they are. You should stop by Toro in the Meat Packing District and try these gems. Currently we have 2 of their wines in our list: 2012 Lousas, Parcela Camiño Novo from Ribeira Sacra in Galicia made with 90% Mencia and 10% Garnacha Tintorera for $98 and Parcela Valdemedel from Extremadura made with 100% Tinta Amarela (Trincadeira in Portugal) for $74.
Fascinating! Have you tried any of the wines from the canary islands? I'd never have thought about wine being produced there.
Jose J Valverde
Christina, yes I definitely have. Usually made with indigenous grapes that are not well known and they pack tons of minerality. You see more and more great quality wines coming out of these islands. Try one if you get the chance!
Wine Director / Dir. of Operations at The Lotos Club
Jacques Leménicier is a winemaker I wasn't familiar with few months ago. It has been a revelation to me. As a wine buyer, one of the thing we do is to look for good values for our wine programs. I have found one!
Cornas in all its splendor!
Leménicier's wines are so representative of the region. I am expressing my opinion solely on my experience with the Cornas 2013, so it might be a little bit premature but I was so impressed with the elegance and the balance of his wine. It is made not as "old school" style Cornas by any means.
It has a lot of personality, and as a young wine it drinks incredibly well . You know that Cornas , generally speaking , needs few years to express itself , I'm thinking of Domaine du Tunnel and Clape among others, but in this case, you have access to a very approchable cornas with a lovely bouquet of violettes and crushed raspberries and in the palate I got a very balanced black currant, with light notes of chocolate and mushrooms surrounded by a gentle smokiness. I just feel like opening another bottle right now!
Your description of it sounds delightful, I'd love to try!
Lawyer, craft beer aficianado
Very cool -- Brushstroke is one of my favorite restaurants I'll be sure to try a bottle!
Another beautiful writeup Philippe! Brushstroke falls into the 'special occasion' type restaurant for me -- a great wine recommendation for when I finally make it there!
The Terrassen Dry Riesling, a project headed by Thomas Pastuszak and Jessica Brown, is the wine that recently restored my faith in what is possible in the Finger Lakes, New York. This small production riesling checks all my criteria for good juice, and has a serious "yum" factor. It retains the great, refreshing acidity that makes riesling such a sommelier favorite, and a year of lees aging adds a creaminess that is so comforting and pleasant. In the most recent vintage, they are experimenting with reds and rose wines from cabernet franc, and I can't wait to try them upon release! Vive la Finger Lakes!
We are pouring this gem by the glass at Restaurant Marc Forgione right now, and you can also find it at a small selection of restaurants around the city.
Really glad to hear you guys are pouring it by the glass, makes it a no brainer to come try it out! It sounds fantastic!
This sounds really nice! I tend to prefer rieslings that are a little bit dryer, where does this sit on the spectrum?
about 1 year ago
It's bone dry, but the texture is creamy and round.
about 1 year ago
Culinary Director of Fleishers Craft Butchery
Christopher Nicolson @ Red Hook Winery. This little winery on pier 41 has been doing finger lake and long island grapes for a long while but their resident wine maker Christopher has really come into his own as of late. He studied winemaking and Viticulture under Ted Lemon (of Littorai) and is a summer seasonal Commercial fisherman as well! Look for his Merlot on the wine list at Blue Hill in the city...
Very cool that they are carrying it at Blue Hill!
I love drinking local wines this is perfect for me :) Thank you Ryan!
Wine Director at Piora, Writer and Instructor.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Restaurant Marc Forgione
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