I *Heart* New York


(Above: The bloody mary list is ten deep during brunch at Prune, and each bloody is served with a beer chaser. Mine was made with aquavit rather than vodka, and served with fennel and white anchovies.)

A short post to explain my absence of late. Tasting duties for Wine & Spirits took me to New York this past week where I waded my way through a sea of Tuscan wines for our upcoming April 2008 issue. I won’t talk about those wines here (and now for a shameless plug to subscribe to W&S), but there were some really excellent wines that are worth checking out.

Also, I’m now digging on massaretta, a red grape variety indigenous to the region around the Apuani Alps in northwestern Tuscany just inland from Liguria–in other words, vermentino country. Massaretta evidently takes its name from the local town Massa, although beyond that the grape is sort of a DOC orphan, and pretty much relegated to IGT status. I don’t really know much more about it (yet), so if you feel like weighing in, please do.

Besides tasting, a visit to New York is always an excuse to eat! Some notable stops this trip included:

:: dinner (killer sweetbreads) and brunch (coddled egg) at one of my favorite haunts, Prune (sorry, no sleep overs)

:: an insane bowl of noodles and fatty pork at Ramen Setagaya (good write up here at Chowhound)

:: saffron pappardelle with an earthy mushroom ragù at Falai

:: gelato at Il Laboratorio del Gelato

:: weisswurst and spätzle at the Austrian Cafe Katja (NY Times review here). I also had an unusual-and good-cocktail called the Wood Nymph which they make from pine cone schnapps and triple sec, and then dust the glass with sugar and dried pine needles harvested from Central Park

:: a tapas feast at Tia Pol

:: bagels at Zabar’s

:: and a really good, fat hero from some all night deli in Williamsburg at 4.30 in the morning (which amazingly nuked my hangover for the next day–hooray!)

    All in all, a great trip. Plenty of long walks and a visit to the new New Museum too, to round things out. By which I mean to burn off one meal in anticipation of another. Of course, an invitation to the Barolo porn fest Eric Asimov wrote about in the NY Times would have been great (list of wines and tasting notes here), but I can’t complain.

    Oh, my friend and colleague, Peter Liem and I both had our blogs mentioned on Tyler Coleman’s Dr. Vino the other day. Thanks, Tyler! For those of you with an interest in learning more about the world we call wine, I suggest spending some time at Dr. Vino. Here you can learn about everything from wine’s carbon footprint to the wine lover’s guide to the presidential primaries.