Trial and Terroir: Enjoying Wine Beyond Your Kitchen

Tara Hankinson, MBA Class of 2015


With the temperature firmly in the 60s and sunset after 7:30PM, days are feeling longer and I am feeling opportunistic. So few of us have chosen to afford outdoor space or spacious living rooms, which means we need a third place (that’s not Starbucks) for enjoying the weather and meeting with friends. A good wine bar can satisfy these needs. A great wine bar can convince you to pay 3x retail price for a bottle of interesting wine. To compile my suggestions, I considered locations that prioritize value to the customer and a relaxed ambiance, ideal for escaping from elevators of undergrads and reading room tables of torture.

Greenwich Village Cure: Kir Royale at The Room

A Kir is a glass of white wine with a touch of crème de cassis, a liquer made from blackcurrants. The blackcurrant flavor tastes like sour blackberries, with a tanginess that makes the wine cocktail both refreshing and savory. The Kir Royale is a variation utilizing sparkling wine, usually champagne or prosecco, which lifts the crème de cassis and creates something all too drinkable. Think of this cocktail as grown-up punch. The Room has a kitschy aesthetic, decorated with art and draped in black, which makes me feel like I could be in any intimate bar on the east coast, instead of one surrounded by tourists and taxis. The Room would be a great early date spot and has an extensive list of boutique beers and a fantastic unoaked Chardonnay by the glass. (Wine $9-13, 144 Sullivan Street near Houston)

Strolling through the East Village: Sancerre at The Immigrant

The East Village can be a challenging area to find a seat at a bar, much less a place without TVs or loud music. I found The Immigrant years ago when I was living in Union Square and it quickly became my OKCupid date spot. Now, it’s a cute bar with a fantastic $8 a glass happy hour from an ultra curate wine list. To reset your week, try a glass of the Sancerre. The region of Sancerre and its eponymous wines come from the Loire Valley near the center of the country. Red Sancerre is made from pinot noir grapes, while white Sancerre is from Sauvignon Blanc and accounts for about 80% the areas wine. White Sancerre is perfect for spring. The region’s expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape is citrusy, tart, and laced with a mineral flintiness that gives the wine an extra edge. (Wine $8-$12, 341 East 9th Street near 1st Avenue)

Williamsburg Trek: Go Orange at St. Anselm

I have a Brooklyn bias, being a three-year resident of Greenpoint, but the reality is that Williamsburg is closer to school than Chinatown. Within 15 minutes (including a short L-train ride), you can explore a whole new frontier of micropubs and boutique restaurants. One of my favorites is St. Anselm, which is billed as a steakhouse but executes vegetables, dessert, and their wine list perfectly. They serve biodynamic and small batch wines on tap including Channing Daughters Ramato, an orange wine, in sizes from a glass to a 1,000 mL (1 1/3 bottles). The Ramato is made from pinot grigio grapes fermented in their skins, lending the wine the body of a rosé, but the nose of an ultra fragrant white wine. Tinged a salmon color, the wine feels so appropriate for spring drinking. (Wine $10-12, 355 Metropolitan Avenue near Havemeyer Street)

Indecisive? Plan a Quick Escape: Tasting Flight at Amelie

Just blocks from school, French restaurant and wine bar Amelie has a fantastic happy hour deal of 3 tastes of wine for $10. The pours are heavier than expected (a few ounces of each). With options ranging from Cava and Chardonnay to Grenache and Tempranillo, the tasting flight can be tailored to your mood. And at $10, it’s cheaper than one half rate “martini” from the usual Sternie haunts. If you’re splurging after the tasting flight buzz, try the Cahors Gouleyant Georges Vigouroux, a French malbec with red cherry and currant flavors and an undertone of spice. (Wine $6-16, 22 West 8th Street near 6th Avenue)

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