Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Off the Beaten Path

This week has been all about venturing away from the tried and true and discovering the new: new classes, new people, new subway routes, new investigations into the wine world in cyberspace, new wine shops and most recently a new grape varietal.
Let me back up and explain where some of this newness came from. As a new blogger I decided it would be worth my while to look at other wine blogs. Typing "wine blog" into Google, I came across a website called Dr.Vino. It looked like a reputable site (Winner of the 2007 Wine Blogging Award) and I was particularly attracted to it because it gave maps of NYC wine shops and wine bars.

On the day that I happened upon this site, the blog entry was giving a reminder about "Wine Blogging Wednesday" I read on and discovered that Dr. Vino had given fellow wine bloggers an assignment: "pick a wine made from a grape variety that comes from a place it might call home. Taste it and write up a tasting note." Well, with my student hat securely in place I decided that I was going to do this assignment and it would be my first attempt at putting this blog into the wine blogging community (eek!).

Yesterday, with four hours of time in between classes and no "real" assignments on the horizon I decided to find a new wine shop to buy my indigenous bottle. I went to Dr. Vino's site and looked at his map of NYC Wine Shops. You have to scroll up on the map toward the top to what some Lower-Manhattan dwellers may consider outer-space to find the Columbia Campus area. There, a few blocks away from campus, I discovered Harlem Vintage. A few minutes later, after walking through a park and across several blvds I found myself in a lovely, warm and well organized shop. I was the only customer there and took my time looking through their selection. One unique feature of this shop is that they identified wines made by women and people of color with multi-colored stars.

After several passes through each section (organized by grape varietal) I found a potential candidate. It was an unassuming bottle with a sketch of a mustached, apron wearing man in mid-swing, closing a barrel of wine. The wines name? Craftsman. The grape? Kiralyleanyka (Kee-rye-lay-ohn-kha). The price? 9.99 New wine, new grape, very familiar price - things were looking good. I brought the bottle to the counter and asked the women if they had tried this wine. One told me that she had and thought it was a nice aromatic wine and a good value. I was sold. I bought the bottle and put it in my bag next to my new textbook (which was not nearly as good a value). It came to my evening class with me and then went straight into the fridge when I got home.

Tasting Notes:
2006 Craftsman Kiralyleanyka (Hungary). A very pale yellow color. It had a wonderful perfumed fragrance and gave the slightest prickly sensation on the tip of the tongue (from spice or effervescence, I couldn't tell). It was light and finished quickly, though it started to leave a sour lemon aftertaste a few sips in. I tasted green apples, lemons and another sweeter fruit like peaches. This wine reminded me of the fresh crispness of a Vinho Verde crossed with a dry and aromatic Riesling (others say it is like Viognier and Chenin Blanc - but I wanted to provide a new interpretation).
Fletcher commented that it was a good food wine; strong enough to cut through the garlic vinegarette and boiled (read:stinky) egg that I had put on my salad tonight. He recommends having it with fish (I think it's a bit too sweet for fish) and cheese. I would put it with cheese or spicy Asian noodles.


Dr. Vino said...

Glad you liked the wine, Lauren--and the map! Cheers,


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