Pet-Nat. Why it’s trendy, and why I’m totally cool with that.

Pet-Nat, or “Petillant Naturel” as it is more formally known, has made a strong appearance in the wine scene in the past few years – and for good reason. This winemaking method, also known as “Methode Ancestrale”, results in a … Continue reading

Good Things Come in Small Bottles

German wine can be intimidating to anyone. Even if you speak fluent German, the label tells you almost nothing about what is inside the bottle, the names are near impossible to us non-speakers to pronounce, and they even use different … Continue reading

Winter Warmer


January can be a bummer, which makes it a great time to try something new. Since most of us choose to drink our share of big red wines in these colder months, now is a prime time to explore the Rhone Valley. On a cold walk home the other night, I stopped in to pick up a bottle, and found this: Domaine de Bonserine, Cote Rotie, La Sarrasine, Rhone, FR 2004. Wait, Cote Rotie for $19.99?! …let’s discuss… Rhone Map

Cote Rotie is found in the Northern Rhone Valley, where the steep slopes demand high labor costs (i.e. high prices), but create some great wines! The soils are granite-based, and erode quickly – in some cases, the producers must take the eroded soil and put it back onto the hillsides. In case this wasn’t enough to deter winemakers, the wind (the ‘Mistral’), is so strong, that the vines are planted with a teepee-esque support system around them, just so they are able to stay standing. Oh yes, and there’s the hail. Given the challenges here, the Northern wines make up only about 5% of the total production in the Rhone.

The Cote Rotie is the northern-most area, and translates directly as ‘Roasted Slope’. The grape of importance here is Syrah, which produces deep colored reds with full body, spicy notes (black pepper!), and with age show gamey aromas. This wine showed all of these characteristics, and with over 10 years on it, it was even showing chocolate and coffee aromas. The average online price for this wine was $54, so for $19.99, this was quite a deal!



Sidenote: Stumbled into the new Toby’s Estate in the West Village – such a welcoming place. How perfect was this? 






For Thanksgiving this year, S.S. and I headed up to the Berkshires to celebrate with family and friends. Given the impeding snowstorm, I stopped by Trader Joe’s wine to pick up a bottle for the train (it is vacation, right?). After spending my college years studying viticulture in the Finger Lakes, I am naturally a huge fan of Finger Lakes wines. The choice was Anthony Road Riesling Dry 2013.


…a few notes on wine for the road:

1. Screwcap (this is a no brainer)

2. Disposable cups. Be prepared. Note: people around you will probably be jealous, especially after facing Penn Station on the busiest travel day of the year.

3. The wine needs to be able to handle a little warmth, depending on how long your trip is. Go for a riesling, not a sauvignon blanc.


The Anthony Road was spot on for the occasion. While still showing the signature petrol aromas of classic old-world Rieslings, it was fresh and crisp, but the acid was well integrated and without food it was totally enjoyable. I think there may be a small amount of residual sugar as it was nicely balanced on the palate. For $13.99, I would definitely recommend!


The trains were miraculously on time, but the snow was too fast for the plows to keep up with, and the trip over the mountain from the train station took us almost 2 hours! …we were definitely thankful for the riesling.