Key players in Albany are seeking to break the impasse over wine retailing reform in New York State according to one retailer who was contacted.
Daniel Posner, managing partner at Grapes the Wine Company in White Plains, NY, tweeted about the new proposal. Reached for comment, he says that he received a call today from legislative negotiators floating these new proposals. Two calls to Albany were not returned.
According to Posner, the new proposal would offer existing retailers two “medallions,” requisite to maintain or obtain a license for wine retailing. The first medallion would be for their existing store. Shop owners could do what they wish with the second, including use it to obtain a license on a second store as the current ban on owning multiple licenses would be lifted. They could also sell it to another party, including a supermarket, to apply for a wine retail license.
This would effectively cap the number of new licenses to only double the amount of existing stores, currently 2,400 in the state. This medallion period would be a transition of three years before the market was further liberalized, phasing out the medallions.
“I think it’s hard for current shop owners to refuse this,” said Posner.
“The new proposal gives three years when a retailer could (a) open another store, (b) sell it to a supermarket and profit or (c) sit on it and wait,” he said. “They’re giving plenty of time for stores to react.”
I recently met Doug Crowell, owner of Buttermilk Channel, a restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, that has an all-American wine list and emphasizes local food sources. He told me about an immensely popular dish on the menu: fried chicken and waffles.
I wondered how he pulls off this unlikely combination so I asked him to describe the preparation. He said that the chicken is soaked overnight in buttermilk, then floured and fried. The waffle batter is spiked with cheddar. The cole slaw is traditional; the sauce blends balsamic vinegar and maple syrup.
Sweet, savory, fat–the grand slam of flavor! Apparently so, given the popularity of the dish. As to the wine pairing, which way would you go for this dish? Or do all those flavors make it…impossible?!? Raise the degree of difficulty, if you so desire, by going with an American wine in honor of the spirit of their list.
Eric Asimov has a long piece in today’s NYT about small wine shops. He highlights a number of local, independent shops mostly around New York City. If you are familiar with our map of NYC wine shops, then you knew about virtually every store in his story already! I’d also highlight Le Vigne, which is a good, new shop that didn’t get mentioned. I’ve also recently discovered UVA Wines in Brooklyn, which has an excellent selection of wines from the Loire and Burgundy. Thirst Merchants in Fort Greene also merits a shout-out since they have a lot of the hard-to-find wines from the portfolio of importer Kermit Lynch. Hit the comments with faves in your area.
I love a good, small wine shop. When people ask me to recommend a wine, I often tell them that the best practical advice I can give them is to find a great, small shop near them. Read more…
We all want to order wine like a pro at a restaurant. But apparently ordering wine off a wine list is an extremely pressure-filled situation for many people, ranking right up there with fear of public speaking and fear of grizzly bears. So with a new, recurring feature on this site, we aim to help you order wine like with aplomb and find an excellent deal.
Although regular wine markup in restaurants is 300 percent of the wholesale cost, many wine lists have hidden deals. There are any number of reasons why they exist: Perhaps the sommelier has a soft spot for an unheralded grape and slips it on the list with a low markup or maybe there is a closeout item and the restaurant passes on the savings.
Today’s such gem comes from Bar Boulud. To accompany the restaurant’s extensive charcuterie menu, wine director Michael Madrigale runs an innovative program that focuses largely on wines from the Rhone and Burgundy. One of the exciting things he does is feature a different large format bottle, often a rare mature wine, open it and pour it by the glass. (Follow on Twitter to see which wines are being poured.)
But one deal that he doesn’t telegraph is what he calls “the nugget.” On the wine list at any given moment is a wine that Madrigale puts on for the wholesale cost (that is to say, even below retail). He doesn’t highlight the item and it’s often an obscure, wine geek’s wine and his stock can be quickly depleted. Diners have to spot the wine on the list as being an outrageous value, and then order it and accept it. At that point Madrigale lets them know the value they have uncorked. “Usually, they are quite happy about their choice,” he says. Previous such wines have included Chapoutier’s ’04 Cornas “Les Arenes” for $55 and the Chateau Grillet 2004.
So order wine like an insider when next at Bar Boulud. The current nugget is…Eric Texier, 2000 Hermitage rouge for $69.
1900 Broadway (between 63rd & 64th) New York, NY 10023
Have you ever been in a New York wine store and thought there was something missing? Maybe gourmet cheese? Gift bags? Cigars? No, no–an ATM!
Well, if you’ve ever thought that then you will like Governor Paterson’s latest proposal to allow wine sales in food stores. He tried it last year but the measure was poorly thought out since it just focused on the grocery stores selling wine and not what would happen to current wine and spirits stores. Ultimately, it met resistance, and was dropped.
But it has been re-animated this budgetary year and this time the governor is trying to mollify the opposition by allowing wine stores to also sell Read more…
SIPPED: upgrading label info?
No disgorgement date, no review: Antonio Galloni, who reviews Champagnes for The Wine Advocate, announced in issue 186 that if nonvintage Champagne doesn’t come with a disgorgement date, then it will not be reviewed. (Discussion ensued over at wineberserkers whether there was a loophole in the statement.) With this information, consumers can have a better handle on the freshness of such wines.
SPIT: bling champagne
The economic downturn has started a bull market in columns about the bear market in Champagne! Alice Feiring got a jump on the competition with her WSJ. magazine piece from September (“Bubbles takes a bath”), a WSJ Europe reporter followed up with another piece this month (“All That Fizzes Is Gold“), and the wine columnists at the NYT and the more spendy Slate.com join the fray with recommendations, with nonvintage bargains under $40 and overall bargains under $100 respectively.
Ray Isle of F&W escapes the holiday madness of midtown at the Garden Wine Bar at the Four Seasons hotel. There he finds solitude and some more-intriguing-than-usual hotel bar selections. [Tasting Room]
SPIT: business as usual
Eric Asimov serves up a meaty post on the shuffling of the Bordeaux wine trade. [The Pour]
Driven by sales of red Bordeaux, which country saw a fifteen-fold increase in imports from France during 2002 – 2008? Okay, it’s China. But you’ll need to click through for the importer stock pick in the story! [WSJ]
Recently, someone asked me, “so just how big is Burgundy, say, compared to Manhattan?” Excellent question! Herewith, some of the world’s wine regions and their whole or fractional Manhattan equivalents:
Manhattan is the smallest of the five boroughs of New York City at 14,478 acres (22.6 sq. mi.; all sources appear after the jump.)
* Romanee-Conti (DRC) vineyard: 4.4 acres, about half of Bryant Park
* Burgundy: 70,470 acres or about five Manhattans
* Champagne: 86,500 acres or about six Manhattans
* Bordeaux: 300,000 acres or about 21 Manhattans
* Barossa (Australia): 13,256 acres planted or about Manhattan minus Inwood
* Napa (California): 44,000 acres planted, or about three Manhattans
* Mendoza (Argentina): 360,972 acres or about 25 Manhattans
* Maipo (Chile): 30,000 acres or about two Manhattans (or, the Bronx)
* Languedoc-Rousillon (France): 528,000 acres or about 37 Manhattans
The holiday wine class is now only a week away! Grab one of the remaining seats and join us on 12/10 in NYC to taste through seven great wines for gifting and drinking! Here are ten reasons to entice you to sign up:
* The just-fired coach of the New Jersey Nets will make a guest appearance to give a brief talk on winning.
* Being able to know which end of the bottle to open the only prior wine knowledge needed!
* Tareq and Michaele Salahi will crash the event.
* Find some excellent wines to give as gifts to your friends and co-workers.
* Get a gilt-edged, collectors’ edition of Dr. Vino’s holiday wine survival guide!
* Discover undervalued gems to pour at your holiday party!
* Meet fellow wine enthusiasts!
* Vigneron Brad Pitt will stop by and discuss what he has learned about wine grape growing in Provence. And goatee growing.
* Find out which wine is the perfect match for roaring fires and chestnuts!
* Learn essential wine miscellany that you can use to impress people over eggnog at holiday parties!
All right, some of these may be true and some may be totally made up. Stop by and find out the truth for yourself!
Buy tickets in advance here
Thursday, Dec 10, 6:30 – 8:00 PM, on E. 29th Street