Another Wine Deal for Monday!

Another great wine deal for a wine filled Monday night in NYC!

The Fatty Crab on the Upper West Side is offering half off select bottles of wine on Monday nights with dinner!

Fatty Crab
2170 Broadway
212.496.2722 

Add this to our Monday Funday List starting with “Wine Down Monday’s @ STK” {here}

Nice Matin.. Where It All Started…

Apologies on the lack of posts but work has been SUPER busy, however, of course a good thing and nothing a glass of French Bordeaux can’t fix!  However, I took a quick breather today to get my ‘wine news’ fix and stumbled upon a totally relevant topic that correlates to where it all started, my first job!

Not only is this article an amazing write up on Nice Matin’s evolution in it’s most sensational and thorough wine cellar in all of the Upper West Side, this also was the landmark where I received my first job offering right out of college!  I believe at the time I was sipping on a vodka soda with a lime, and with hands shaking with nervousness, met with my now CEO of my company and was formally offered a job to be his assistant.  Of course, I probably guzzled more of those afterwards in excitement but little did I know I would transition from the custom cocktail drinker to a savvy wine drinker that wants to swirl, smell and sip before getting a full glass!  Maybe that’s what NYC does to you, makes you more picky – which it’s ok to be!

Now this restaurant is making a new name for itself by way of it’s always contemporary and inspiring wine list!

My how mature I have become.. once a vodka soda girl, now a wine junky that can’t get enough!  Just kidding, but I still LOVE IT!

Enjoy and Salud!

From NY Time’s – THE POUR

At Nice Matin, a Wine List That Hits All the Marks

By 

AS exciting as it feels to pick up a wine list already well known for its great bottles, it’s even more electrifying to have few expectations and to be knocked back in goggle-eyed surprise.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Aviram Turgeman, Nice Matin’s beverage director, in the restaurant’s wine cellar. Nice Matin bought the cellar of Chanterelle after that restaurant shut down.

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
Two bottles more than 40 years old.

I suppose it was adrenaline that surged when I recently set eyes on the list at Nice Matin, a Provençal restaurant on the Upper West Side. There I was, expecting a standard-issue list. Instead, I was handed a leather-bound book, almost 60 pages’ worth with 2,000 selections, packed not only with trophy bottles like 19th-century first-growth Bordeaux, well-aged grand cru Burgundies and tête de cuvée Champagnes, but also wonderful selections in the neighborhood-friendly $50 and under range.

Here was a list to satisfy anybody, whether you want California fruit bombs or old-school Napa cabernets, grower Champagnes or a good selection of half bottles, reds from Lebanon or (who knew?) a 38-year-old cabernet franc from Brazil.

It’s been a most unlikely journey for Nice Matin. When it opened in 2003, William Grimes gave it two stars in The New York Times, noting “an evenhanded international list of 140 wines that could use more from the South of France.” Since then, the restaurant has settled into comfortable middle age, serving a loyal clientele from the neighborhood as well as travelers staying at the Lucerne Hotel, which shares the building. But the wine list has gone stratospheric.

What other way to explain such treasures as a 2008 Pouilly-Fumé Silex from Didier Dagueneau for $120, about the price you might pay retail? Or a 1983 Cos d’Estournel, a top St.-Estèphe almost 30 years old, for $225? Perhaps, like me, you are a fan of good aged Graves, as we persist in calling white Bordeaux from Pessac-Léognan? You won’t find a better deal than a Domaine de Chevalier 2000 for $170, unless you continue down the list and spot the 2001 Laville Haut-Brion for $220.

Nice Matin won’t rival a wine destination like Veritas for vertical depth of great wines and old vintages, but in what casual neighborhood restaurant will you find La Mission Haut Brion 1970, a very good vintage, for $330, a 1998 Brunello di Montalcino from Soldera for $350 or a 1961 Barolo from Giacomo Conterno, a truly great wine, for $500?

Of course, if you want good value and money is no object, I would be tempted by the 1944 Lafite-Rothschild, harvested just months after D-Day, for $1,600, or the legendary 1865 Latour, from the year Lincoln died and before phylloxera devastated the vines of Europe. What’s $14,000 compared with history?

Outside of the fantasy realm, I, like most people, would gravitate to great affordable bottles, and this is where Nice Matin really comes through. A fresh, lively 2009 Valpolicella from Vaona, one of my favorite producers, is just $36, while a chalky, unusual white 2008 Coenobium, made by nuns at the Monastero Suore Cistercensi in Lazio, is $42. How often do you find a 10-year-old Burgundy for $77, like a 2001 premier cru Savigny-lès-Beaune, from Chandon de Briailles?

And, having taken Mr. Grimes’s point to heart, Nice Matin now fulfills its Provençal promise with perhaps the best list of Bandols and Provençal wines in New York. I would try the excellent, structured ’09 Pradeaux rosé for $52, or, with a selection of 14 vintages, a Bandol red from Château Vannières, like the 2002 for $80.

Great lists don’t just happen overnight. Not long after it opened, Nice Matin made a concerted decision to improve its wine offerings, beginning in 2004 when it bought 25 mixed cases of Bordeaux, Burgundy and German riesling that had once belonged to President John F. Kennedy.

Since then, Nice Matin has bought the cellar of Chanterelle after that restaurant shut down, and part of Country’s after it closed. Meanwhile, the beverage director, Aviram Turgeman, with his associate, Gabriel Richter, prowls through a network of collectors and winery owners, seeking mature older vintages to add to the list.

“I really want people to come and enjoy grand cru Burgundies and first-growth Bordeaux and not break the wallet,” Mr. Turgeman said. “I also want to highlight wines in the $30 and $40 range, because we are a neighborhood restaurant.”

Acquisitions require capital, and Nice Matin, more than many neighborhood restaurants, has resources. Along with other spots, including Café d’Alsace on the Upper East Side, L’Express in the Flatiron district and Marseille in Hell’s Kitchen, Nice Matin is part of theTour de France restaurant group, whose owner, Simon Oren, resolutely supports Mr. Turgeman’s efforts.

“I love wine, I believe in wine, I really, really admire wine,” Mr. Oren said. While he features wine at all his restaurants (and beer at Café d’Alsace), Nice Matin is the group’s vinous flagship.

Lest anyone think Nice Matin is concerned only with trophy bottles, one regular, Carl Schecter, a portfolio manager at a hedge fund who lives nearby, recalled eating at the bar recently. With his three courses, Mr. Turgeman paired a Greek white from Mount Olympus (“Delicious!” Mr. Schecter said), a riesling from Alsace and a Greek red.

“It’s like a wine school, if you want it to be,” Mr. Schecter said.

The annals are replete with stories of great wine lists picked clean after word gets out. But Mr. Oren is confident the Nice Matin list will endure.

“We have good inventory, and we know quite a few people with cellars who are happy to sell to us,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll be able to maintain the list for at least five years.”

The Tangled Vine… THE WINE RUNDOWN


A truly overlooked treasure on the Upper West Side hidden between a row of other more dominating italian restaurants and wine bars, this gem could be considered yet another wine bar that the average passerby probably ponders, “I walk by this place 1000 times and always have wanted to go”.  If you find yourself in this train of thought, then I must say, GO!

Don’t be fooled by it’s small and quaint appearance categorizing it as another ‘traditional wine bar’ as this place offers something special.  First off it could easily live in the West Village as both the food, wine and atmosphere is in par with Vyne, Turks and Frogs (although Turkish, a Tangled Vine could be a nice Italian complement) and a few others but overall it would blend in nicely.  When you walk in although looks coy feels like a party!  Loud, great music, and knowledgable bartenders add to the overall spirit of the wine bar and make this place a great after work happy hour spot, early dinner turned into late evening of after dinner drinks and laughs and a casual 2nd date spot.  Also definitely going on my list for wine bars i’d rather sit at the bar with wine and bites vs. at a table.

Enjoying ourselves at the bar, we went straight to the wine list which I would categorize as an “easy read” since it serves as a great “guide” to the wines they offer per glass and bottle.  It is organized by grape variety which makes it easy to quickly flip to what you are in the mood for – red, rose and/or white.  After each glass listed, it has a brief description with non-intimidating wine words that tells you exactly what to expect. It almost forms a story of the wine for you to make the wine decision that much easier and enjoyable.  Something that I have yet to see throughout my NYC wine bar ‘journey’ is their offering of ‘Wine Trios’ that offer “variety of different wine trios, grouped for comparison between grapes, regions, or winemaking styles. Each glass is a 2oz serving, for a total of 6oz of wine in each flight. All of the trios come with optional food pairings in tasting-sized portions, a traditional service found in European cafés.”  This presented a great way for people to explore wines and spirits in an organized style. Another fun element to their list are their “rules” that they present to you when you first open the wine list to get you and your party EXCITED and ready to DRINK!

RULES WE LIVE (AND DRINK) BY

• Every wine on this list is here for a reason. Either it‘s got great taste, historical vineyards or honest winemaking to its name. Ideally all three.

• We are a European wine bar focusing on the old world and old vines, primarily from the historical wine producing regions of the Mediterranean.

• We concentrate on small grower-producers or vintners who practice organic, biodynamic and sustainable viticulture, resulting in natural, un-manipulated, and above all, DELICIOUS wines.

• Don‘t just drink what you know; drink what you don‘t.

• Wine without food is always a pleasure, but wine with great food is a sheer delight. Now eat something, you look hungry.

After getting acquainted it was time to pick our glasses of choice! We went for a French white wine that was crisp with hints of peach and apricot with lots of acidity a bit of tannin and a nice after taste of citrus. A nicely balanced wine.  It was a very easy drinking wine that you could bring to an outdoor picnic and drink for hours..  Actually, remember how addicting and easy to eat Fruit Roll-ups were?  A certain someone I was with described the taste as “An old-school apricot fruit roll-up…” and loved every bit of it!  Guess who! The wine:  Anjou Blanc “Cuvee les Rangs de Long” Château Soucherie 2010

To end our night we ventured to the after dinner drinks and since I’ve been very into spanish wines, ordered two Oloroso Sherry’s for us to try which we accompanied with the Pan con Chocolate; Belgian chocolate, Maldon salt, Arbequina olive oil.  Both the drink and dessert fused nicely together as it was the perfect sweet and salty treat!  It was very tasty and afterwards we both felt relaxed and were put into a magical trance for the rest of the night!

Overall, a highly recommended wine bar for a casual night of food, wine, music, and relaxation.  Check out their website for their Monday deals and Happy Hour details!  Enjoy!

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