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Appellation New York

In Before “In” Was In

In Before “In” Was In

In Before “In” Was In

Appellation wine and spirits — an unconventional wine shop. By unconventional we mean that we focus on producers who depart from convention and make organic, biodynamic, or natural wines.
In Before “In” Was In

Wonderful wines come from all over the world, but disappointingly few regions spring to mind for most consumers looking for versatility: for a bottle for tonight’s dinner, a gift for a favorite friend, or life’s many other wine occasions. After France, Italy, Spain, and California, we are often hard pressed to come up with another region that might offer just what they’re looking for. One country to keep in mind is Austria. Particularly for most Americans, who tend to prefer dry wines, Austria offers a range of excellent dry white, red, and sparkling wines along with some incredibly delicious spirits, especially the extraordinary eau de vie.

Over four-thousand years of winemaking, dating all the way back to the wandering Romans, Austria’s vintners have only fitfully focused on quality over quantity. That changed in the 1980s, after their wine industry was decimated by a scandal that ensued when a few producers tarted up mediocre, mass-produced wines with the active ingredient in antifreeze—and got caught. Talk about a wake-up call! As a winemaking nation, Austria made a complete about face, focusing on the pursuit and production of high quality wines. The industry instituted various regulatory efforts and fractured into many smaller producers concentrating on dry wines, organic practices, and the demanding tastes of domestic consumers who were ably served by an even more avid (and definitely dogged) wine press. As a result, Austria now has the largest percentage of certified organic vineyard property—producing both grapes and non-vineyard crops—in the European Union.

Weingut Nikolaihof, located in the tiny, stunningly beautiful Wachau, where the Danube cuts a narrow gorge through rugged hills of terraced vineyards, may be the oldest wine estate in Austria. The site of ancient monasteries, it was once a center of political power as well. In fact, the present cellar was constructed in a Roman crypt. But age isn’t everything—Nikolaihof can also boast that they converted to biodynamic practices before anyone else, starting in the 1960s simply (and fortuitously) because chemical treatments and soil additives were too expensive. Fittingly, the estate was the first in the world to earn Demeter certification. In lieu of chemicals, they apply organic substances—dilutes of stinging nettles, manure, valerian drops, and valerian tea to the gneiss, schist, and granite-based vineyard soils. The grapes are then pressed by a huge 18th century wooden press that was rescued from life as a museum object and put back to use. With this combination of organic farming, traditional production, and storied past, the Saahs family produces some of Austria’s purest, most exceptional, and most sought-after wines. In fact, their 2006 Vom Stein Riesling Federspiel was the first wine to receive an award for its “healthfulness” from the German Society for Environmental and Human Toxology.

2006 Nikolaihof Wachau Riesling Federspiel ‘Vom Stein’ $42.99 (Biodynamic) 

-Nancy

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Vermouth Revival!

Rediscover this misunderstood apéritif and mixer with Atsby’s Adam Ford & Uncouth Vermouth’s Bianca Miraglia, two NYC pioneers at the forefront of America’s vermouth revival. The evening will feature a panel discussion moderated by Edible Manhattan’s spirits sleuth Amy Zavatto and cocktails crafted by master mixologist Pam Wiznitzer. 

Tickets include a copy of Adam’s book, Vermouth: The Revival of the Spirit that Created America’s Cocktail Culture, along with some of the finest vermouths and vermouth-based cocktails you’ve ever encountered. 

Half of the seats are already sold, so act fast!

Tuesday, October 27th, 6:30 – 8:30pm
New Wine & Spirits!

’14 Lo-Fi Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc ‘Coquelicot Vineyard’ $26.99 
’07 San Fereolo Langhe Barbera ‘Austri’ $28.99
’11 Domaine du Meix-Foulout Mercurey 1er Cru $28.99
’12 Kruger-Rumpf Rheinhessen Riesling Spätlese ‘Binger Scharlachberg’ $19.99
’12 Dalamára Naoussa Xinomavro ‘Paliokalias’ $30.99 (Organic)
’14 Aaron Burr Cidery Wurtsboro ‘Homestead Locational Ciders, East Branch’ $26.99 (Sustainable, 500ml)
’14 Aaron Burr Cidery Wurtsboro ‘Elderberry Apple’ $26.99
’14 Envínate Vino de Mesa (Canary Islands) Albio Criollo blend ‘Táganan Blanco’ $27.99
’82 Château Suduiraut Sauternes $113.99
NV Manoir du Kinkiz Brittany Apple Cider ‘Fousenant’ $16.99
Tastings This Week!

Thursday, October 8th – 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Joto Sake’s Midori Nakazawa will be joining us with a selection of three stunning sakes. Stop in and sample a Honjozo, a Yamahai Junmai, and a light, ethereal Junmai Ginjo. 

Friday, October 9th – 5:30pm – 8:30pm
John Bedell of T Edwards fame will be joining us with a smattering of offerings, all from micro-distilleries. Stop in for a glass of South Carolina Bourbon, wild agave Mezcal, and a Kansas Rye.

Saturday, October 10th – 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Just in time for falling leaves, crisp breezes, and sweaters. Tad Drouet will be in store with three spectacular autumnal offerings. Stop in and sample a 20 year old Portuguese white, a new-guard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and a Montsant Blanco.

Along with delightful wines, Alsatian heavy-hitter Willm also produces a stunning selection of eau de vie. Lisa Steinbaum will join us with a gorgeous Mirabelle plum brandy. Stop in and sample it neat or in a cocktail. 

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