Summer here yet? Maybe if we all join together and drink some rosé tonight tomorrow morning it will be 75F and the snow will be a bed of white daffodils! Any chance?
What do you when schools are cancelled, you’re snowed in, the freezer is depleted and you are so bored that selling the kids on E-Bay doesn’t even do it? Wine. It’s pretty much a given. It’s not as if you are going to see the boss tomorrow so what’s wrong with having a little tipple every now and again – here are a few suggestions:
- Try counting the snow flakes, set a target, like 50, and treat yourself to a good slug of red wine. Start again, and see how many times you can count to 50 before they all look like one huge flake, and fifty is too far away, five sounded better.
- Drink a bottle of wine and sticking a candle in the spout and relearn how to make Ruffino drip candle holders.
- Learn to cook a-la Julie Childs/Jacque Pepin style – a cup of wine for the boeuf bourguignon and a bottle of wine for me, and one for Jacque…maybe.
- Invite some friends over, have a bottle of wine and play spin the bottle – make sure the kids are outside.
- Make a very large pot of mulled-wine – use at least four bottles of red, just for the hell of it. It smells pretty good too.
- Drink a bottle of wine. Go outside, make a snowman and use the empty bottle for his nose.
- Close all the curtains in the house; turn off all non-essential lights and tell the kids it’s still nighttime so go back to bed. Then sit in front of the TV and have a long relaxing glass of wine.
- Brave the snow and the freezing weather and take a walk to Wine at Five (my favorite suggestion so far).
- Spend time with loved ones – Billecart Salmon, Shebang, Norton Ridge…
- Sit behind a desk, slug a good mouthful of good wine and pretend to be David letterman reading out the top 10 things to do with a bottle of wine on a snow day.
Once that’s done, try selling the kids on E-Bay again, there may be a taker!
On our side, we have a few good things coming up. Check out the Bring out Your Jam Dinner on January 31st – don’t be shy, don’t feel overwhelmed, this is going to be a great night to enjoy great wine with people who want to do the same. I did have one question – couples…you do need to bring 2 bottles – the rule is 1 bottle per seat.
Also coming up there is an Italian Dinner over at the Manursing Club on January 28th. If you are a member or are friends with a member give the club a call and make your reservation – it’s going to be a fabulous menu and we helped to pair the wines so I know the wines are going to be great too. Call the Manursing Club on (914) 967-6400.
On March 9 we are planning a French Dinner with guest wine-maker Cecile Dusserre. Many of our long-suffering customers know that my favorite regions in the Rhone Valley are Vacqueyras and Gigondas, and hidden amongst the vineyards that are scattered through this tormented geographic terroir are those that belong to one of the most beautiful French wine-makers in all of France. Indeed, Cecile’s entry-level 2009 Cotes du Rhone was my choice for ‘wine of the year’ in 2010. I love her wines, I love her passion for making these wines and I love her joie de vie that fills a room full of somber suited wannabe wine critics. So stay tuned for March 9.
Also in early March we hope to host a Northern Italian dinner with guest wine-maker Ines Alessandra of the famed Castelfeder Vineyard in Alto Adige, Italy. Her Pinot Grigio and her Pinot Noir have been main-stays on the shelves at Wine at Five, and with the possible exception of Livio Felluga I don’t think that I have tasted a better Pinot Grigio from this northern Sudtirol region. And Ines, like Cecile is one of the most beautiful Italian wine-makers in all of Italy!
Also coming up will be the Wine at Five 5th Annual Wine and Food Festival. People started asking us in November if we had set a date yet – not yet, but we are working on it and we are gathering all the school holiday and church function dates so that we don’t over-lap.
Next week I’m off to New York for the Vino-Italia series of tastings. Three days at the Waldorf drinking nothing but Italian wine – maybe I should have put that on the list above!
On January 31st we will hold the inaugural dinner for wine enthusiasts who want to share a bottle of their wine with like-minded enthusiasts all willing to bring one of their great wines to the dinner. This dinner is not a sales promotion – we have negotiated with the owners of Morgan’s Restaurant to charge us a flat fee, inclusive of everything, with no corkage charge, and a five course set dinner. The chef will create the five courses so that they will individually pair with the theme for this first dinner – wines from Bordeaux vintages 1980-1989.
It’s a terrific chance to dust off some older wines you have in storage and bring them out to dinner. With eight fellow diners you have the opportunity to taste eight different wines from this decade of great vintages. Since guests are vetted on their ability to bring a wine associated with this theme there will be no duplicates. That’s 8 different Bordeaux ranging in age from 30-21 years old! Wow – when have you ever done that before.
This dinner is really an opportunity to taste various great wines with people who are totally into wine. No offense to my friends but I have few that would appreciate an evening like this, which is why I have so much old vintage wine in my cellar! Dinners like this have been circulating around NYC for some time and their popularity has increased immeasurably – so much so that some of the ‘hot’ tables are reserved within minutes of the tweet going out. This is our first, and we’ll learn from it – I would like to make the evening even more interesting by adding a competitive edge to it – during the night you will get a chance to rate each wine (each wine will be poured from decanter and will technically be ‘blind’); the guest that brings the highest rated wine will receive a gift certificate from Wine at Five valued at the cost of the dinner – $85.00.
So check out your diaries, and check out your cellars. If you have the evening free, if you have a Bordeaux 1980-1989, if you want to meet fellow oenophiles, and if you have some spare dosh, call us now to reserve your seat. There are only 7 seats per dinner.
Call: 914-921 5950 or e-mail email@example.com
As of Saturday Monday morning we have 18 5 cases remaining of the Chateau Fonroque 2005 Bordeaux – $432 per case – normal wholesale price, $560, typical retail price $840. If you want it call or e-mail today. Stock will be delivered on Tuesday – possibly Wednesday if the Unions take Martin Luther King Day off!
Opening Times – Martin Luther King Day
We will be open from Noon – 6:00pm on Monday17th.
Bring out your Jam; Wine at Cost; New Wines
Snow glorious snow…we got our fair share of it yesterday. It took over three hours to plow my way out by which time I figured I wouldn’t be much use to anyone down in Rye so I hunkered down with some juice. IMHO this Shebang jug wine from Morgan Peterson is killer. With its little loop eye-ring on the neck you can attach the bottle to your belt and swig away as you plow – never gets lost, always within arm’s reach, and its weight lets you know when you are in need of a refill. Brilliant stuff.
Last week I mentioned that I would be moving the e-mail blog over to the website in a gradual and orderly fashion. A lot of readers didn’t like that! Seems that the e-mail jolts their memory, which vibrates their taste buds which in-turn vibrates their wallets and they end up buying wine they wanted. However, I still would like to get greater use from the web-site so whilst I won’t stop the e-mails I will send the Weekly Re’Win’der out with bullet point information that when clicked on will beam you over to the relevant section on this web-site.
So, for example, I promised to offer an ‘at-cost’ wine each month in order to redirect traffic. The wine in question is being offered at a 52% discount – that’s even larger than usual because the Distributor is dumping some of his 2005 Bordeaux. This month’s wine at cost offering is the Chateaux Fonroque 2005. Rated 90+ by Robert Parker, the Wine Advocate stated: “Alain Moueix, who farms this vineyard biodynamically, has lowered yields considerably and tamed the rustic tannins and muscular style that had been trademarks for many decades. The medium to full-bodied 2005, a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, offers beautiful notes of kirsch liqueur, loamy soil, spice box, licorice, and roasted herbs, substantial but sweet tannin, good acidity, and a long finish. It should evolve for two decades.”
Of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage in general Robert Parker wrote: “Retasting all the 2005s a few months before they are bottled confirmed just about everything the pundits had declared last year. It is an extraordinary vintage and one that is different from anything I have tasted in the last twenty-eight years. As a general rule, the wines are very concentrated, extremely high in tannin, and backward, but the fresh acids combined with the massive concentration and higher than normal alcohols make for a distinctive vintage that will probably be one of the longest-lived I have ever tasted…In short, this vintage has no shortage of legendary wine. Although the wines came out at absurdly high prices (especially the first growths), no one seems to be complaining except those who did not buy them. Sadly, most of the stock that was offered has been completely sold through the marketplace. The big châteaux with 10,000+ case productions are holding back some wines, but there is little available through the trade, and replacement costs are already 50-100% higher than the opening prices, which I find both incredulous and shocking. In any event, this is a fabulous vintage, and no one who purchased these wines will regret having done so as prices will continue to set new records for young Bordeaux. However, patience will be a virtue for nearly every wine in this perfect vintage for the world’s greatest wines of longevity and elegance.” If proof were needed then Parker’s comments about pricing should make you run to your laptop to order this wine.
Subject to inventory we will sell the Chateau Fonroque 2005 St. Emilion for $36.00 per bottle. Purchases must be for a minimum of 1 case (12 bottles), credit card must be given at time of purchase (no holds) and purchase is non-refundable. Please call or e-mail your order.
Our first Bring Out Your Jam dinner event will be held on January 31. It’s a Monday night and what better way to start the week than by joining a group of like-minded imbibers and tasting each other’s wines. Think about the bragging rights at work for the rest of the week – yea nice Tom, but I drank a Mouton ’86 on Monday night! And you can do this every day for seven days! Nice one! I wouldn’t worry that it’s a Monday night – it’s never too early in the week to drink really good wine. The way this works is easy. If you have a bottle of Bordeaux from 1980-1989 lying in your cellar and you want to drink it in front of other like-minded wine geeks then make a reservation now and join us. Morgan’s Restaurant will be creating a five course dinner to pair with this theme; you must bring the wine to Wine at Five before the dinner so that we can decant and open it in time; during the dinner each guest will drink each of the seven wines on display and at the end of the evening you will have the opportunity to rank each wine. The guest who brings the highest ranked wine will receive a gift certificate from Wine at Five for $85 – the cost of the dinner! There are only seven seats available – please reserve your seat as soon as possible – you must tell us the wine that you will bring, pay the reservation fee and be able to bring the wine to the store before the dinner. So book now – January 31st, Morgan’s Restaurant, 7:30pm. Bordeaux 1980-1989
New Wines in the store this week – we bought some more cases of Road 31 Pinot Noir- this was the pinot that I discovered at the Pinot trade shows last fall in New York. I chose it from hundreds that I tasted and I still think that the distributor has priced it incorrectly. We brought in the last two cases of Michael Forest Russian River 2007 chardonnay, normally priced at $30 but since it was the last two cases remaining we were able to sell it at $25.00. It’s from the Starry Night winemakers and specifically from the prestigious Saralee Vineyard. This wine has a beautiful straw color and inviting aromas of Pippin apples, butterscotch , a hint of oak and subtle honeydew melon. The entry is round and full, leading to a rich mid palate giving way to a long clean finish. Its a terrific value at $25.00. The Shebang – our find of the year last December, (this is the beautiful jug wine) drove through the snow yesterday and delivered up 5 more cases of the luscious stuff. A pair of very good Ozy wines were tasted during the week and we pulled the trigger on Hare’s Chase Springer Blend and Hesketh Shiraz Cruel Intention- both offer up globs of ripe fruit but they are not overwhelming – not retrained because the Aussies don’t go in for restraint – except when they lose the Ashes to the Pommies!!, but still every bit the true Australian fruit forward classic style red wine. We did also find a really tasty chardonnay from Australia – Kilda.It’s from the De Bortoli vineyards in NSW, famous for making exceptional high quality wine less expensively than most – maybe because after 75 years of making wine they aren’t looking to make a quick buck.
A bunch of great new wines and a commitment to keep tasting and finding value and quality – what a way to start the New Year!
That song by Nina Simone always sends shivers down my spine – good ones – it just makes me feel like we can do anything ~ let’s hope in 2011 we can.
We are going to start the year here at Wine at Five with a bunch of fresh ideas. One that I have been toying with will begin very soon – here’s the gist of it:
Beginning in January 2011 Wine at Five will host a very special monthly event – Bring out Your Jam. The idea is simple and has been initiated by requests from many of our customers. How many really good bottles of wine do you have tucked away in your cellar? How often do you actually get to drink them? Do you honestly have enough friends with whom you would want to open that precious 1983 Amarone with, and would they really appreciate it? Those were some of the questions posed to us by clients. And it’s true – many of us don’t bring out the glorious wines because we don’t think we have anyone to share them with. Beginning January we want to create an evening event where you can delve into the murky corners of your cellar and Bring out Your Jam. Each month I will send out an e-mail invitation to dinner at Morgan’s Restaurant in Rye. Only 7 places will be available. Along with the e-vite will be the rules for that dinner. So, for example, in January the dinner may center on Bordeaux, 1st to 5th growths from 1980-1989. Anyone can attend but it will be on a first come first served basis and along with the RSVP you must indicate which of the prescribed wines you will bring to the dinner – full details – name of the wine, vintage and a photo of the actual bottle. Assuming you have the wine, you will be signed up and an invitation will be sent directly to you. The cost for each dinner, inclusive of tax and service will be $85.00 per person. The cost must be paid to Wine at Five by credit card or cash and there can be no refunds for cancellations.
There will be an added sense of excitement – at every dinner I will receive the wines beforehand and will decant them prior to eating. During the dinner you will drink each of them ‘blind’. At the end of the dinner each guest will be given a scorecard and you will be asked to rate the wines you have just drunk. The guest who has the highest score will receive a Gift Certificate from Wine at Five for $65.00 – rules are in place for a tied first place.
I hope that these monthly dinners will entice you to Bring out Your Jam – some of your best wines that rarely see the light of day but now can be share by other wine enthusiasts. I shall post details of the first dinner very shortly, and I am always open to ‘theme’ suggestions.
That’s the first New Day Idea. The second is I want to begin to move away from e-mail notices and begin updating the web site directly. I know that in reality many of you actually enjoy receiving the Weekly Re’Wine’der e-mail, but in practicality it will be much more efficient to turn to the web site to see what’s happening. And so to entice readers to visit the site more frequently, we will initiate a Web Price Surprise every month. The web has radically changed the way retailers shop – price competition over the past Christmas season was so ferocious that I for one will probably start ‘shorting’ retail stocks over the next few weeks, once we begin to see preliminary profit margin reports – which I suspect will be insignificant based on the margins that stores were willing to sell ‘on-line’. But we don’t ‘sell’ wine over the internet – many of the wines we source are made in such limited quantities that there is no need to ‘dump’ them on the web. Similarly I don’t see the attraction of selling anonymously over an electronic platform where the entire spirit of the wine is left spiritless. And fortunately we are in a position where we don’t need to artificially create cash flow to survive – thus allowing us to spend more time sourcing great wine for our loyal customers. However, I would like to see a move toward the web-site and therefore in order to entice customers and readers to visit the site more often, we will post a web-site special. We will take a known wine brand, not one that we necessarily sell in store, and post it on the web-site at actual cost. No mark-up, no profit, nada. It will be there for as long as inventory lasts – you won’t know when it will be posted, you won’t know how long it will be up for – so you’ll have to visit often!
In the meantime I would like to let you in on one of my finds already this year. From the importers who brought us Broc Cellars, we tasted earlier this week two wines from Abeja Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington. The pedigree of this vineyard is unquestionable; you have the founding wine-maker of Canoe Ridge, John Abbot, teamed with a 35 year business-guru, Ken Harrison, famed for his meticulous detail and exceptional foresight, as well as a rumored love of Cabernet and fine wine! Both men are driven by a mutual vision – to drink something worth drinking. Their production is tiny, their vineyards are swept by hand, and their grapes are picked over three times before they drop into a fermentation tank. These are not wines that pretend to be wine. These are wines that share cellar space proudly alongside Mouton Rothschild and Petrus. They were astonishingly good, and I was thrilled to have tried them. So I bought a case of each – their Cabernet 2006 and their Chardonnay 2009. I was told that if I was a good boy I might be able to buy one or two more cases in the near future. I remember, right at the beginning of this retail adventure of mine, I said to myself that I would not be fashioned by other’s opinions, critics ratings and wine prices. The wine had to be good – it had to stand out as something beautiful and different – whether it cost $10 or $100, whether Parker or the Wine Enthusiast scored it 100 or 56, if I liked it and if I wasn’t embarrassed by it then I would sell it. Abeja is a wine that you are going to hear a lot about over the coming years. It is going to get rated 95+ and it is going to get priced at $100+ but for now I don’t think it has a rating and both wines combined are only a few dollars over $100. The chardonnay, which I ranked as one of the best chardonnays I have drunk from the west coast in a long time is $48 and the Cabernet is $54.00. One case of each presently available.
Monday10.00am – 7:00pm
Tuesday10.00am – 8:00pm
Wednesday10.00am – 8:00pm
Thursday10.00am – 8:00pm
Friday10.00am – 8:00pm
Saturday10.00am – 7:00pm