I often write about wine shops in New York City (Crush Wine Co, Big Nose Full Body, and the new Astor — coming soon!). And I even have an interactive map of shops including my favorite places in the city. So I thought I would venture outside the city to see if I could find a “wine shop that feels the love” for this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday.
When we walked into the small Fountainhead Wines in Bedford Hills, NY, about 35 miles north of midtown Manhattan last Saturday, we were the only people. Mike, one of the shop’s owners bounded in behind us and greeted us. [friendly: check!] He had four samples to pour for us–in glasses, not plastic [check!]–all Monastrells (aka Mourvedre) from Spain. [off the beaten path grape: check!]
He gave thorough descriptions of each of the flavor profiles the wines and discussed the overoaking of crianza wines that plagues many Spanish wines. [knowledgeable: check!]
As more people started to drift in, I browsed the shop’s selection of about 300 wines and began pondering the absence of Australian wines. I asked Mike why there were only six Australian wines in the shop and he replied, “Oh I didn’t know there were that many.” The shop is very deep in French wines, followed by California, and a dollop of vino latino (Spain, Chile and Argentina). He said that they used to have more Australian wines a few years ago but that they grew tired of them.
As to the question of shelf-talkers, those annoying little flaps of paper that many wine retailers who don’t feel the love paste everywhere with simple reprints from magazines or–eegad–simply numerical ratings, there was not one in the shop. If you want info on a wine, ask Mike. [BIG check!]
The four entrepreneurs who own the shop have managed to navigate New York’s bizarre laws by owning a wine bar and a restaurant in Norwalk, CT. This gets them some purchasing power, which, sadly is not always passed on to the consumer. [a minus] But the purchasing power has been able to get them some custom cuvees from California and France.
One note of caution for those shoppers with allergies: the shop has an odeur du chat, not pipi du chat mind you, just straight up chat. She must be their mascot or somesuch since their thin-crust pizza place in Norwalk is called FatCat.
Overall, this shop gets a thumbs up. It’s good to know that the love can easily be found in New York–even out of the city!
Fountainhead Wines and Distillations, 19 Depot Plaza, Bedford Hills, NY 10507. 914-244-8973
PS I did try the Casa Castillo Monastrell 2003 $11 (find this wine) and thought it was a yummy bargain, with vibrant dark fruits and a hint of spice.
PPS OK OK We did purchase a white from Quincy too, the Adele Rouze 2004 (find this wine) which was a beautiful expression of Sauvignon–crisp acidity but with a certain suppleness, almost creaminess too.
PPSS Thanks to bloggers around the world for participating in this event! Drop me a line aboout your WBW posting and I will include it in my roundup of blogger-approved shops in a few days.