Erin go bragh! Or, at least Erin go dinner, maybe have a glass of wine…🤷♀️ (Hey, we could all use a drink these days.) In honor of next week’s celebration of St. Patrick and all things Irish, here are our picks for the best wine to go with your Irish-influenced dishes on any budget:
A Woman’s Work Is In the Cellar: A Salute to Women of the Vine
Well-behaved women seldom make history, they say. We say the same holds true for women who make wine and spirits. From Maria Prophetissima, the ancient alchemist who invented the tribikos, one of the first recorded stills, to Doña Antónia Ferreira, patroness of Portuguese wine, and Hannah Weinberger, Napa’s first female winemaker, women have long been leaders in the booze business. Today’s producers are continuing in the footsteps of their foremothers, crafting wines and spirits that delight critics and consumers alike. In honor of Women’s History Month, here’s a closer look at some of the women winemakers on our shelves.
Arianna Occhipinti (Occhipinti)
Arianna Occhipinti came of age in Vittoria, in Sicily’s southeastern region, nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the inland mountains. She first learned about wine and natural winemaking in the fields and cellars managed by her Uncle Giusto, owner of the renown COS winery, and in no time fell in love with the vine. She studied oenology and started her own production with a single hectare of abandoned vines growing near her family’s home. In 2004, she founded her own estate, bottling her first commercial vintage just two years later. Today, Arianna works exclusively with estate fruit grown organically and biodynamically. Focused on native varietals, including Frappato, Nero d’Avola, Albanello, Zibibbo, Arianna’s dedicated to making wines with singular character and freshness that captures the essence of the region. Across the world, critics, consumers, and industry peers have taken notice, and Arianna is today recognized as a symbol of success in viticulture and natural winemaking, even she continues to develop her own ideas on the practice. “I make natural wine, but this is a term I’m beginning to be less and less comfortable with, because its implications are very complicated,” she said during an interview with importer Jules Dressner. “I really want to stress that my main goal is to make a good wine that reflects where it comes from, and for me the only way to successfully do this is to make the wine naturally.”
Brianne Day (Day Wines)
A semifinalist for this year’s James Beard Award, Brianne Day is an unmitigated star in the world of Oregon wine. A native of the Willamette Valley, Day grew up enraptured by the vines of her home turf, so when the opportunity arose to travel the world and continue exploring wine, she didn’t hesitate. Day traveled and tasted wine for nearly two years before returning to Oregon for formal study at Chemeketa Community College. After that, she picked up and went traveling again, this time to gain experience making wine in France, New Zealand and Argentina. Officially hooked on the craft, Brianne worked to learn every angle of the wine business. “I worked for producers who were making wines in ways I wanted to: The Eyrie Vineyards, Brooks Winery, Grochau Cellars, Belle Pente, and Scott Paul,” she writes on her website. “I also worked at Storyteller Wine Company, learning the retail side of the wine world, and then as a server at Le Pigeon and Little Bird Bistro. I also sold barrels for Bordeaux cooperage, Saury, which allowed for many opportunities to listen and learn from winemakers throughout the Willamette Valley. In 2012, Brianne had the opportunity to start her own production when she purchased fruit for 125 cases of single vineyard Pinot Noir from a friend. Her wines stood out from the very beginning among industry pros, the wine press, and consumers. The rest, as they say, is “herstory” — Day Wines now produces 5,000 cases from organically farmed fruit, and is distributed in 12 states and three countries.
Sara Pérez (Mas Martinet, Venus de la Universal)
The daughter of José Luis Pérez, founder of Priorat’s Mas Martinet, biologist, self-taught oenologist, and one of the most respected and followed voices of the wine world, Sara Pérez is without a doubt descended from winemaking royalty. Having grown up surrounded by the vine, she studied plant biology, viticulture and philosophy before taking the reins at Mas Martinet in the late 1990s. Back then, to win the respect of the old school, boys’ club of local grape growers, Sara took to swearing and drinking strong, black coffee. “Eventually they understood that I was the one who decided who to buy from,” she said.
“I owe everything to my father,” Sara continued: “The direct knowledge that he has given to me and the strength that he has transmitted to me, as well as the respect for what is different, for other ways of thinking and working, and, above all, the sense of freedom to discover my own path.” That path is widely apparent with a sip of the elegant, bold, and unforgettable reds Sara produces from organically grown old vines in hot, sunny Priorat and Montsant.
Maria Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas (Parés Baltà)
Oenologists and sisters-in-law, Maria Elena and Marta are also leaders among the new generation of winemakers who are rooted firmly in the past, yet continually work to innovate and elevate the craft. A former chemical engineer, Maria Elena fell in love with winemaking almost at the same time as she fell for Joan Cusiné, one of the owners of Parés Baltà. She studied enology at Rovira Virgili University in Tarragona, and expanded her wine knowledge with travels to France, Australia, and Napa Valley, here in the U.S. She joined the family business when she returned.
-During her childhood, Marta was surrounded by her grandparents and her great-grandmother, who were all involved in winemaking. She loved to play in her grandparent’s tiny wine cellar, dashing behind the press, barrels and concrete tanks. When Marta grew up, she studied pharmaceutical sciences at University of Barcelona. During her studies, she met her future husband Josep Cusiné. In this period is when her passion for wine started. Josep introduced her to wine tastings and they started to travel to different wine countries around the world. She was so interested in the vinification process that she decided to help in the cellar. Today the duo has made a name for themselves in Spain and beyond, introducing new, ecologically sensitive farming techniques and state-of-the-art science to grape-growing and winemaking.
#GGHappyHour: Weekend Tastings at Wine & Spirits
Thursday, February 20, 5-7p
Skyline Artisan White 2017
This Riesling-Sauvignon Blanc blend from winemaker Nathan Kandler is “Artisan” in every way–small production, made from grapes grown sustainably on some of the best farms in the Central Coast. Intensely fragrant, the wine offers notes of tart green apple and jasmine, buffered by finely balanced acidity and minerality. Dry, but fruit driven enough to add depth to the palate, the wine has a beautiful, focused finish. Try it with everything from Turkish to Thai food.
Vina Errazuriz Max Carmenere 2017
Founded in 1870, Vina Errazuriz was one of the first wineries to plant French grapes in the mineral-rich soils of the Aconcagua Valley. This Carmenere offers subtle notes of ripe black and red berries, roasted red peppers, rosemary, and forest soil. On the palate, the is soft and spicy, with flecks of cocoa-dusted coffee beans and balanced by elegant acidity and tannins.
Friday, February 21, 6-8p
It all started in 1841 with Auguste-Denis Lagoute. The first liqueur-maker of Dijon, in the heart of Burgundy, was keen to invent an innovative recipe. This led him to develop the first ever Crème de Cassis, with a smooth texture and powerful aromas. Rich, velvety texture with full-bodies blackcurrants that continue to open with hints of cherry and plum, becoming more luscious with exotic zest, fruit jam notes and a final wave of crème brûlée.
Saturday, February 22, 5-7p
Julien Baillard Chablis 2016
Domaine Julien Baillard is a new company with long roots in Chablis. It’s first vintage was released in 2013, however the Baillard/Servin family has been devoted to the vine, and can trace its winemaking pedigree back to the 16th century. This 100% Chardonnay is Chablisien winemaking at it’s most classic–pale golden yellow in color with a bright apple and pear blossom notes, accented with fine minerality, exceptional balance and the slightest hint of fresh butter. An ideal partner for seafood, oysters, charcuterie, and of course, poulet roti, this steel-fermented wine also sings on its own as the perfect aperitif.
La Calera Bonarda 2016
Named for the carriages that brought settlers across the pampas centuries ago to develop the vine in Mendoza, “La Calera” is a single-vineyard Bonarda from the Maipú subregion. Medium-bodied and very approachable, the wine offers notes of ripe plum and cherry compote, savory and sweet herbs, and powdered cocoa, balanced by freshness and a long, food friendly finish. Try it with braises, mature cheeses, tapas or light appetizers.
Castello Regine Sparkling Rose NV
Bright and fresh, this is a sparkling rose made from sustainably farmed Sangiovese and Montepuliciano using the Charmat Method (the second fermentation takes place in a large closed pressure tank). It’s excellent on its own as an aperitif, with light appetizers, or dessert.
Sunday, February 23, 5-7p
Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2018
Roman Niewodniczanski, owner of Van Volxem, is not a humble man with humble ambitions. His goal is to single-handedly restore the reputation of the Saar region as the most prestigious dry white wine producing region in Germany, if not the world. By combing through piles of historical documents and public records, he discovered that the Saar possessed a potential that had remained virtually untapped since the first half of the 20th century. Since starting the winery in 2000, Roman has slowly been proving this case. His wines are stunning, demonstrating both the true passion of the winemaker and the esteem of the vineyards. This entry-level wine has a lovely mouthfeel, with a buoyant, silky texture shot through with an arrow of acidity. Subtle peach and citrus notes hover just under the surface of fresh minerals and stones.
DIY: Drink It Yourself
If a certain Staten Island groundhog is to be believed, Spring will arrive early this year. Nevertheless, lazy winter weekends are the perfect opportunity to cozy up with all sorts of projects on your to-do (or wanna-do) list. Whether Marie Kondo-ing your cabinets or trying out new recipes, DIY projects are the perfect way to beat those midwinter, cabin fever blues. Now, we know that all that tinkering can work up a thirst. Never fear, here are some ideas (and a cocktail) to whet your whistle.
Pimento Dram Liqueur
Spicy, sweet, and intense, pimento dram is made from allspice (pimento berries) and rum. Centuries ago, British colonizers coined the term “allspice” because the crushed berry combines the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Originally to add spice to rum and tiki drinks, pimento dram can be used to add depth and complexity to nearly any cocktail.
1 750 ml bottle of light rum (we like Denizen 3-year Aged Rum)
16 oz brown sugar
8 oz water
Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, crush the allspice berries to a medium-fine grind. They should look similar to coffee grounds as used in a French press.
Pour the grinds into a saucepan, then add 1 cup of the rum.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
Remove the rum from the heat, and let cool only slightly.
Pour the mixture into a clean, empty 750-ml wine or liquor bottle.
Add the remaining rum to the mixture, then cover and allow to sit for about two weeks.
Filter the mixture through cheesecloth, then again through a coffee filter.
Combine the brown sugar and rum to make a simple syrup.
Add the syrup to the bottle, stir to combine, then seal and let the mixture sit for 30 days.
Best known for its use in tropical or tiki-style cocktails, falernum is a liqueur flavored with ginger, lime, almond and baking spices. No one knows how it was invented, but the mixture dates back to 19th century Barbados.
6 oz Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum
9 limes, zested
40 whole cloves
1.5 oz ginger, peeled and grated
2 T almonds, toasted, blanched and slivered
14 oz. rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
¼ tsp almond extract
4.5 oz fresh lime juice
Combine the rum, lime zest, cloves, ginger, and almonds in a jar and seal tightly. Allow the mixture to infuse at room temperature for 24 hours.
Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the solids.
Add the rich simple syrup, almond extract, and lime juice, then shake well to combine.
Use immediately or store in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for up to 1 month.
1 oz Denizen 3-year Aged Rum
1 oz Mezcal (we suggest Del Maguey Vida or Banhez Joven)
¾ oz falernum
1⁄2 oz lime juice
¼ oz pimento dram
Lime peel, for garnish
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake well, and strain the mixture into a chilled coupe or other serving glass.
Cheers to a DIY job well done!
Who Doesn’t Love a Cheesy Romance?
Romeo and Juliet, Bert and Ernie, wine and cheese — true love cannot be denied. Some pairings are just meant to be. This Valentine’s Day, whether you’re spending time with a special someone, painting the town red with the squad, or fabulously flying solo, we’ve got some ideas for wine and cheese pairings that anyone can fall in love with. Check ‘em out:
Cheese: Manchego (Sheep) & Vermont Creamery Cremont (Cow, Goat)
Red: Chateau Cambon Beaujolais 2018
White: O.P.P. Pinot Gris 2018
Why It Works: Buttery, sweet, and nutty Manchego meshes just as seamlessly seamlessly with the ripe red and black fruit flavors of this biodynamic Beaujolais from one of the region’s finest producers as it does with this pear, apple, and almond notes of the Pinot Gris.
Cheese: Drunken Goat (Goat) & L’Amuse Gouda (Cow)
Red: De Forville Barbera d’Asti “Cascina Buc” 2017
White: Aubuisieres Vouvray Cuvée de Silex 2018
Why It Works: Wine and cheese pairings are often about contrast, and the mild sweetness of the Drunken Goat contrasts with the savory flavor and the supple tannins of the Barbera d’Asti while the Gouda’s notes of burnt caramel and nuttiness snap and crackle against the red and black fruit. The Vouvray’s crisp acidity and mineral core adds lift to the creamy Drunken Goat cheese, while the tart and ripe orchard fruit adds zip to the Gouda.
Cheese: Plymouth Black Truffle Cheese (Cow)
Red: Mas Menut Priorat 2016
Sparkling: Baron Albert Champagne NV
Why It Works: The Plymouth Black Truffle cheese is luscious and mellow, yet earthy and powerful — it’s a flavor that just cries out for something bold or bubbly. The Priorat is bold, full of wild strawberries and rich soil, and the classic Champagne is vibrant and textured, the perfect match for this richly flavored cheeses.
Looking to make these cheesy dreams a romantic reality? Visit our cheese counter for a custom cheese board, or check out our easy guide and build your own with local delivery!
Love the One You Sip: Weekend Tastings at Wine & Spirits
Love is in the air―and the glass―this weekend at Wine & Spirits. We’ve got a lineup of tastings to swoon over.
Thursday 2/13, 5-7p
Thirsty Thursday’s for amateurs. Join us for Martini Night, featuring Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin and Dry Vermouth
Friday, 2/14: 6-8p
Who doesn’t love a cheesy romance? You’ll fall in love with tonight’s tasting: Drunken Goat & L’Amuse Gouda with De Forville Barbera d’Asti “Cascina Buc” 2017 and Aubuisieres Vouvray Cuvée de Silex 2018
Saturday, 2/15: 5-7p
Be Gin-tle with Our Hearts! Longtime staff fave Ford’s Gin will be in the house mixing up romance, London Dry style.
Sunday, 2/15: 5-7p
Dido Montsant 2017
Amor! This Spanish red is as bold as it is romantic, a testament to the power and strength of true love.
In the Spotlight: André Hueston Mack & Mouton Noir
Black History Month may be the shortest of the year, but we’re committed to celebrating the achievements of African and African-Americans tastemakers and industry shakers all the time. In the spotlight this week, sommelier, winemaker, author, and restauranteur André Hueston Mack.
Born in Trenton, NJ, Mack left a successful career in investment banking to pursue his passion for the vine. In the early 2000s, he went to work at The Palm in San Antonio Texas, his education in wine beginning in earnest on the sales floor. From the start, he loved introducing guests to lesser known regions and vineyards, sharing in their joy at discovering new flavors and tastes.
At the age of 30, he became the first African American to win the title of Best Young Sommelier in America, and in short order joined the opening team at Thomas Keller’s legendary Per Sé, which was where he met his spouse, author Phoebe Damrosch. Mack’s wine lists there garnered national attention — he was featured in Wine Spectator, The New York Times, The Huffington Post,The Wall Street Journal, and Black Enterprise.
In 2007, Mack struck out on his own with Mouton Noir Wines, a project that incorporated his love of hip-hop, street culture, and the philosophy of “wine for all.” Unique and distinctive, Mack’s wines are sourced from some Of the best vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley region, each sip showcasing the individuality of their unique terroirs. Today, he produces 30,000 cases which can be found in the restaurants and retail stores in 11 countries and 45 states, including two in New York—including Vyneyard and his latest, & Sons Hamlet.
Mack is a passionate wine educator who has led seminars and panel discussions at several food and wine gatherings including The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, Colorado and the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival. He also curates wines for Club W, a wine club for a new generation of drinkers, to continue his mission of making wine more accessible.
Wanna learn more? Follow André Hueston Mack on Instagram @andrehmack, then join Wine & Spirits on February 12 for a special in-store tasting from 5pm to 7pm.
Lights, Camera, Corkscrew! Oscars Wine Pairings
Who says wine pairings are just for food? Indeed, snacks are just the beginning. From the opening credits on the bottle to the parting shot of a finishing sip, good wine tells a story and relates an experience that you, as the drinker, can connect to―just like a good movie. With Hollywood’s biggest night just a few days away, we’re pairing this year’s Best Picture Nominees with our own picks for bottles that capture the essence of these compelling tales. Join us in-store for preview tastings this weekend, or shop online for your Oscars party’s main feature. The nominees are:
Van Volxem Saar Riesling 2018 and “Jojo Rabbit”:
This crisp white from one of Germany’s most prestigious wine regions is buoyant and refreshing, with a singular balance and acidity that is the perfect partner to Taika Waititi’s cheeky, anti-hate satire about Hitler’s terrible rise to power through the eyes of a shy 10-year-old boy.
Chateau Panchille Bordeaux Superieur Rouge 2015 and “1917”:
Hints of blackberry, black cherry, forest floor, and smooth tannins anchor this lush red from Bordeaux, lands near the setting of Sam Mendes’ unforgettable tale about two British soldiers with an impossible mission–to carry a message from the trenches across hostile territory to stop a key British military unit from walking into a devastating trap.
Bebame El Dorado Red Blend 2015 and “Little Women”:
This stunning blend of Cabernet Franc and Gamay from California is refreshing, subtly spicy, and so easy to drink that it’s easy to miss the fine winemaking at work. Greta Gerwig’s update of the classic tale of young women, life, love, and literature is much the same. This pairing is not to be missed.
LAM Pinotage 2017 and “Parasite”:
This South African is plush, fresh, and nuanced, just like this sleeper hit from Korean horror maestro Bong Joon-Ho. Each sip offers aromas of cherries, plums, and blueberries with warm spice undertones, anchored by balance and acidity that will keep you on your toes just as much as the evolving relationship between the two families at the center of this amazing film.
Le Plan Sauvignon Blanc 2017 and “Ford v. Ferrari”:
We had no choice but to pair this bright and racy Sauvignon Blanc from Dutch race car driver-turned-winemaker Dirk Vermeersch with this gripping tale of car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles teaming up to build a unique, high-performance car for Ford that would defeat the dominant Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans.
Cascina del Torcc Barolo 2015 and “The Irishman”:
Let’s face it, no one makes movies with scope and graceful storytelling like Martin Scorcese. Similarly, there’s no place on the planet for finely structured, intoxicatingly beautiful reds like Barolo. This mind-blowingly inexpensive red is filled with wild black fruits, notes of tar, roses, violets, cedar, tobacco. It’s the perfect partner for Frank Sheeran’s reflections on his life as a hustler and mob hitman.
SO2 Cabernet Franc 2018 and “Joker”:
This is a stripped down, unsulphured, and unfiltered Loire Valley Cabernet Franc with intensity and verve that mirrors this Joaquin Phoenix flick about the Joker’s dark beginnings and a chain reaction of events that lead to the emergence of a supervillain.
Dido La Universal Montsant 2017 and “Marriage Story”:
This bold Spanish red from husband-and-wife winemakers Sara Perez and Rene Barbier is a testament to love in all of its beauty and savagery. It’s irrestible, just like Noah Baumbach’s blistering, passionate look at life after ever after.
Sobon Estate Amador County Zinfandel 2018 and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”:
This certified organic Zinfandel is chock-full with notes of cranberry, black cherry, mocha and spice. There’s a lot going on here, almost as much as what’s going on in Quentin Tarantino’s star-studded tale of aging TV star Rick Dalton, his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth, and yes, Sharon Tate, struggling to find their footing in a city as rapidly changing as it is ruthless.
Taught by the glass
Looking to beat the heat but still enjoy the flavors of summer? The Greene Grape team has been cooking up something new with our team of experts! Join Michele Thomas and Sam Kling at Annex this summer for a series of exclusive classes and tastings that are sure to quench your thirst for knowledge!
Michele Thomas, Assistant General Manager of Greene Grape Wine & Spirits, will be leading our our wine classes beginning with Mythbusting Rosé! Michele is a writer, & Certified Sommelier with deep roots in the world of food, wine, & education. As Executive Editor of the International Culinary Center (formerly The French Culinary Institute), she edited recipes & developed curriculum materials for the school’s cooking and wine courses in New York and California, as well as L’Ecole, the school’s Michelin Bib Gourmand-rated restaurant. Michele is the co-author of Culinary Careers for Dummies (Wiley), with Chef Annette Tomei & Tracey Vasil Biscontini, & the author of Sodium & Oxygen (Rosen) two middle grade science books for children. Her writing about food, wine, & culture has appeared in The New Yorker, Edible Brooklyn, Activist Philanthropist, BestofNJ.com, and Garnish, the mobile bartending academy for wine & spirits professionals in Africa. When not selling or writing about hooch, she can be found in Bed Stuy with Pickles & Mimzy, her tiny feline overlords, & documenting adventures in food & wine on Instagram & Twitter as @bedstuysomm.
Taught By The Glass—Summer Wine Classes
Have you ever wondered where rosé gets its hue? Do you ponder the origins of the Tiki craze? Maybe you’d just like to learn how to taste wine and cheese without all the pretentious airs. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or just feeling thirsty, our Summer Wine Classes have got you covered!
Join us at the Annex this summer for comprehensive 90 minute classes led by our experts from Wine & Spirits, Sam Kling and Michele Thomas. Take the Mythbusting Rosé class on August 16th to find out how rosé gets its rosy tint, as well as about local producers and what makes them worth supporting. Taste through five beverages, from delicate wines to fan-favorite ciders, learning how to savor them and pair them. Next, try our Tiki, Do You Love Me? class to learn the surprising history of Tiki cocktails, then sip on three different rums and three classic Tiki drinks as you learn how to taste them. You won’t leave empty-handed, either, because we’ll be sending you home with cocktail recipes to elevate your next get-together.
In September, you’ll want to come back for more with our New York State of Wine & Cheese class. We’ll teach you about New York wines and cheeses and the producers behind them, how to taste wine and cheese, how to pair them, and more. We’ll also provide plenty of snacks with every class so you can munch your way through your education.
Sign up today at www.greenegrape.com/events and get learning!