Escape from New York: Hudson, NY

Hudson River Lighthouse

It was just another one of those weekends when Ian and I had nothing on the books, but our need to leave the city was overwhelming. Adventure, or something like it, was calling.

Hudson, NY is by no means an exotic getaway, but it promised some respite from the urban grind. Just two hours via Amtrak from Penn Station, we both knew nothing about it except the direction we needed to head: North. Oh, and rumblings that Hudson and the surrounding region are the “new Brooklyn,” whatever that means.

Matthiasson Rose Label

We traded a sky that threatened rain for the verdant expanse of the Hudson River Valley.  The train ride up was pleasant enough, made all the more pleasant with gentle pop of a Matthiasson rosé, as crisp as the sky we traveled under. Between sips of wine and glances of the sweeping views, we were lulled into many micro catnaps, arriving at our destination just in time for lunch, rested AF.

Ferry lifesaver
The red train station greeted us as we began a short walk to Warren Street, the main drag. The area is marked with hundreds of historic homes, pretty-faced Federals and Victorians lining the quaint thoroughfare. A bevy of galleries, antique shops and small businesses are tucked into ground floor commercial spaces, offering up wares to the city folks who trek out of the way for deals and art that, in the city, would cost a month’s wages.

Ever watch Gilmore Girls? Yeah, Hudson is basically Stars Hollow. Young families strolled the streets, nursing melting ice cream cones from the scoop shop, Lick. Folks ducked into storefronts, greeted by proprietors at the door. Strangers smiled at strangers. It was all some kind of charming.

While we were only in town for a quick overnight, it was enough to whet our palate for more. Having taken a few trips upstate now, we’re increasingly feeling its pull. Here’s to more trips like it.
Sign: Lost Innocence, $6.98

Photo Essay: Tasting Southold Farm + Cellar | North Fork, Long Island

wine6

Sundays have become my day of adventure, apparently.

Bored with brunch and general city going-ons, Ian and I have taken to exploring the greater New York-area and its environs, in-depth. Sometimes, it’s as close as the Upper West Side, or Brooklyn. Other times, it’s gallivanting off to rural Pennsylvania for a lumberjack festival. This week, though, we took to Long Island to spend time with friends in the North Fork.

Naturally, there was plenty of wine. Read More

Rainy Autumn Playlist: Color | Drain

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

By the time I got off the L in Bushwick this evening, the sky—which had threatened rain all day—released its wet freight.

Underground a mere minutes before I butted heads with meteorology, I had already decided to take the long route home, if only to be outside for a short while. I even wanted to go on a run, imagine that. Instead, I was stuck with a drizzly 12 minute door-to-subway-door jaunt. Sigh.

Then again, if the worst thing in the world during a light autumn rain is having to take off one’s glasses, well, there’s not really much to complain about.

Plus, over the course of my drizzle-stroll, I was able to decide three things: Read More

Profilin’: Mary McAuley of The Ripe Life Wines

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetReal talk about blogging: it’s difficult to come up with original AND compelling content on a weekly basis. I’m not a list person, at least online. As I work on this site more, and as I am inspired by some ace Web producers out there (no mere bloggers, these), I realize how much I want to shake up “blogging” as much as I want to shake up my routine. 

In that spirit, I’ve decided I will be pursuing more profile-style posts with fascinating people doing cool shit out there, here in Internet-land and beyond. I’m tired of sitting around, watching passionate people go unnoticed for their work. I’m curious and ripe with questions, but I have the luxury and luck to know So. Many. Cool. People. Let’s try to get them on here, mkay? 

Now that that’s out of the way… 

I first met Mary McAuley a few months ago at Ed’s Lobster in SoHo. There was, natch, lobster and clams and tators, but more importantly, there were bottles of Mary’s wine. Ya see, Mary is a wine-trepreneur: Back in 2013, the Jersey native, former NYC somm/culinary student and all-around badass started her own company, Ripe Life Wines, and released her first vintage of Clambake Chardonnay.

I know what you’re thinking: ABC (“I drink anything but Chardonnay”). But hear me out!

Mary’s first release, sourced from Cali’s Santa Lucia Highlands, was a wallop of a sip. Fresh, minerally, hearty squeezes of lemon: her juice is not that ’90s stereotype of oaky, popcorn-buttery Chard. It is finessed, with tons of fresh acidity that makes it dangerously easy to guzzle. Her 2013 release is from Mendocino and is just as fresh, if a little fuller.

I’ve hung out with Mary a few times now, and lemme tell you, girl knows her way around wine and food. In fact, the Clambake label is a nod to her East Coast roots: It’s meant to pair well with all iterations of clambakes up and down the eastern seaboard.

Read More

Wine Discovery: Louis-Antoine Luyt

Wines of Chile Wine Bar War

So I get to do some pretty cool shit, like this last week: Wines of Chile hosted a Wine Bar War featuring four sommeliers from around NYC. Basically, it was a battle of pop-ups, but in this case, the medium wasn’t food but wine.

“Alright,” you may be saying to yourself. “I can dig that.” Damn straight: there was a ton of talent in that room.

Working with Hector Vergara, South America’s only Master Sommelier, each of the somms took to their corners and built out their wine bar concept that would best evoke Chile’s diversity. Did I mention they started at 9 am? By the time dusk fell, the event (hosted at Villain in Williamsburg) drew a fun weekday crowd of wine lovers, industry pros, writer-types (like me!) and the like. The prize was a trip to Chile for the winning team of somms (score!).

As you’d expect, the wine flowed quite easily.

While a few bottles piqued my interest, only one bottle really stood out at Earth’s End, the pop-up created by Momofuku Ssam Bar’s Anna-Lisa Campos. The bottle: Louis-Antoine Luyt Carignan. Long story short, winemaker Louis-Antoine is a native-Frenchman who traveled to Chile in his youth, found wine, studied it back in France and took that training back to Chile to produce something incredibly unique in a country run by many large producers. A believer in terroir and the natural wine-making philosophy, he set out in 2009 to create the wines he loved. Fast-forward a few years and he’s now rockin’ three lines of vino you don’t often see coming from Chile.

Louis-Antoine Luyt Carignan natural Chile wine

His newest venture, an eponymous Carignan, attracted me first with its colorful label, but the glass was an all-out seduction offensive.

First sniff, swirl and sip: The 70-year-old vines threw off aromas akin to a big bowl of summer berry fruit with an underlying, tell-tale earthy funk. The palate was all ripe red juiciness, with more of that horse-y funk coming in like the goddamn flavor cavalry. To say I was “into it” would be an understatement. If this is how LAL makes all his wine, sign me up. Lest I forget, this wine rocks a $22 price tag. Delicious AND affordable? GTFO.

I didn’t stick around to see who won (papa’s got a bedtime, yo) but for real: This “wine bar war” thing needs to catch on. Can I get a witness?

For the full scoop on the Wine Bar War, like the kick-ass somms who brought their A-game that night, check out Wines of Chile’s site. 

Wine Craving: Red Tail Ridge’s Sparkling Teroldego

sparkling red wine, Red Tail Ridge, Finger Lakes, New York wine

Listen up: if you’re not currently drinking wine from the Finger Lakes, you’re missing out. And if you’re not drinking Red Tail Ridge, well, I feel sorry for you, your kids and your future grandkids.

Red Tail Ridge first came on my radar a few months back, when I doing research for an endangered grapes story I wrote. Winemaker Nancy Irelan was a peach via email (and sadly, some of her sage wisdom was left on the cutting room floor). When I finally got to try her Dry Riesling, I was hooked. Crystal-focused, light and dry, the wine is everything I love in a Riesling.

Fast-forward a few months (and bottles), when a few weeks ago, I got to meet Nancy IRL and sipped the fruits of her labor, paired with delicious bites from talented young-gun chef Kwame Onwuachi. While chef Kwame served up knock-out food (taste explosion!), I kept returning to the glass for more of Nancy’s wine. Specifically, her Teroldego.

Surprise, surprise: I love obscure grapes. Wine discovery is huge for me, and while I’ve had Teroldego before, Red Tail’s is entirely singular. Firstly, the grape usually goes into still wines. To make a sparkling is a lovely stroke of whimsy. Not unlike Lambrusco, it’s a delightful froth of bubbles on the palate, which is kicky with ripe black cherry flavors and a peppery, dry finish. Hints of savory earth notes made it a perfect match for Chef Kwame’s hamachi with yuzu.

Frankly, I’d eat it with bacon. Then again, what wouldn’t I pair with the stuff?

 

Red Tail Ridge 2011 Sparkling Teroldego, $39.95

Chilly White Wine for Chilly Temps

Baby, it’s cold outside! When the mercury starts to dip, we are naturally more inclined to heartier, warming reds. You know: chewy Malbecs, bone-warming Cabs, spicy Tempranillos. But what if you prefer white wine?
Vino blanco gets a bad rap during winter months. “It’s for spring,” you say? Bah! Sipping chilled white (especially from a traditionally cooler-climate country like Germany, or Alsace in France) on a cold day might seem counter-intuitive, but many whites are perfectly in sync with the richer, stick-to-your-ribs fare prepared this time of year. Whether you’re pairing it with a hearty stew or just want to snuggle up to a movie on a Tuesday, here are some winter whites that may just stave off SAD.