Drinking in New York. Sigh.

February 9, 2009 at 7:51 pm (Our Favorite Things, Travel, What we're drinking) (, , , , )

by Jane Lopes, on New York City

It’s no secret. I love New York City. It is such a magical and surreal place. A place constantly buzzing and vibrating, literally teeming with energy and action. Things happen in New York that have no place in the repetoire of my normal, day to day life; when I leave I feel like it’s been a dream.

Perhaps this is because I drink A LOT when I’m there. Woops. There are just too many good places to imbibe: hundreds and hundreds of wine bars, restaurants, and cocktail lounges, all serving interesting and exciting beverages. Not to dismiss Chicago’s drinking scene, because there are quite a few extraordinary places in this city, but no city in the United States (and probably the world!) can compete with New York for volume and quality of drinking establishments.

Of course I hit a number of cocktail bars and restaurants, but the place I wanted to focus on in this post is a little wine bar in East Village called Terroir. Having the same owners and executive chef as full-fledged restaurants Hearth and Insieme, Terroir offers a number of small bites, but the real draw is the tome of a wine list. (Seriously, check out their web site. It’s a thing of beauty.) I appreciate Terroir’s approach to wine. It very much echoes our own sentiments at LUSH: Let’s push people’s boundary’s a bit. Never had a fino sherry? Here, try one. It’s delicious. Want a Sauvignon Blanc? How about a Verdelho from Australia. You’ll love it. We promise.

I went to Terroir with a few friends early on a Wednesday night, and it was already packed. When we sat down at the one, raised communal table running the length of Terroir, I was drawn to one particular selection on the menu. It had it’s own page in the menu — how could I not be!? This is what was said of it, on a page titled “The Riesling of Hell Rock”:

“In the world of wine, one of the greatest geological anomalies is the hill of Heiligenstein in the Kamptal region of Austria. Here weathered crystalline rock, volcanic rock and desert sands converge into a primeval cone pushing up through layers of sand, gravel and loam that cover the surrounding flat lands. It was called Hellenstein — Hell Rock — in the Middle Ages due to the scorching heat the vineyard workers slaved under. Its named later changed to Heiligenstein (Rock of Saints) to honor the work of people like Johannes Hirsch (who is really no saint!). Vineyard workers still attempt to tame this outcropping of Middle Earth, accompanied by geologists looking for a rationale and prostitutes looking for Elliot Spitzer.”

WOW. Right? Paul Grieco runs the wine program at this place, and the man is really a genius. Hilarious, eccentric, and a true lover of wine. How could I not order this wine?

The 2003 Johannes Hirsch Heiligenstein Riesling from Kamptal was every bit as good as its intro led me to believe. Floral, stony, smokey on the nose, I thought this wine was going to be bone dry and austere. Wrong! Plump with generous fruit and a backbone of steely acidity, this wine was complex, delicious and super easy to drink. I was with a red wine drinker, a beer drinker, and a Sauvignon Blanc drinker, and they all loved it.

Thanks, Terroir. And thank you, New York, for another fun (and booze) filled trip. I eagerly await the next one.

Thanks for reading!


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