Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Check out the Best NYC Wine Bars with Outdoor Space

Memorial Day, the starting bell of summer, is around the corner.
So we at Swirl thought we would bring you the Best New York City Wine Bars with Outdoor Space as a follow up to our Best NYC RoofTop Bars.

Sip under the moonlight or in the middle of day under the sun with your aviators on - we won't judge. So, before heading out to the Hamptons, Fire Island, the Catskills or your staycation, check out our fave spots below

- while we don't give them points for creative naming, SwirlSavvy does love their sidewalk seating. The location is the perfect daytime spot for people watching. Head into the dark wooded interior for communal tables that still manage to create a "big date" atmosphere. Skip the apps and look straight to wines by the bottle. The list covers France, Italy and Spain with a really interesting selection of some less familiar producers and regions. The helpful and ever patient staff knows their stuff so don't be afraid to ask for their favorites in your price range. You can easily snag a quality bottle under $40. 65 Second Ave., at 4th St., Manhattan, 212-777-1608

Stonehome Wine Bar
- an impressive and affordable "by-the-glass" list ensures you can dabble in their wide selection if you're lucky to snag a spot at the bar, or better yet, the garden patio. And with over 200 bottles on the main list with a bent toward Italy and France, you can keep coming back, time after time. A solid spot for a date or an intimate group - or in our most recent case, a trio of tipsy and therefore loud, sippers who so thoroughly enjoyed the wine flights we stayed for dinner. 87 Lafayette Ave., between S. Elliot Place and S. Portland Ave., Fort Greene, 718.624.9443

Petrarca Cucina E Vino - a more refined setting for when the occasion requires you to behave, at least until you've tasted through the first bottle. Their mostly Italian list covers lesser known regions waiting to be explored such as Sardinia. Hint, if you like Grenache, try a Cannonau, Grenache's Italian equivalent.
34 White St., at Church St., Manhattan, 212-625-2800

Pure Food & Wine - while not
technically a wine bar (ok, or not at all), Pure Food & Wine has the best garden in Manhattan. To top it off, you can actually get a table here on a gorgeous day - without a wait. And the last time I visited, Giselle was a few tables over, sans Tom Brady. If raw food isn't your thing, this restaurant is likely to convert you. If not, just skip the edibles and while away a few hours at the outside bar. The list caters more toward American wines and always has a great Willamette Valley Pinot Noir or Walla Walla, Washington Syrah on hand. 54 Irving Pl., near 17th St., Manhattan, 212-477-1010

Wine & Roses

This is the place for wine-loving Upper West Siders and the people who love them. If you can get past the hammed up photos on the website, this is a great spot, but be forewarned, it fills up quickly. Having received
Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence in 2007 and 2008, Wine & Roses has a laudable 40 wines by the glass and nearly 200 wines by the bottle with a well-rounded cheese list. 286 Columbus Ave., btn 73rd and 74th Sts., 212.579.9463


Rakhi said...

Pure Food and Wine really does have an amazing garden! It's like you aren't even in NYC anymore!

Sapna said...

I remember seeing Gisele there! That was one of my fav celeb sightings and one of my favorite wine locations!!

How to Pick a Summer Wine: The Gentler, Lighter Side of Wine

Summer’s soaring temps beg you to step away from heavy Cabernets and check out the gentler, lighter side of wine. When choosing the perfect summer wine for your outdoor engagement party or wedding, think light, crisp, refreshing--and because people tend to drink more in the heat--lower in alcohol. Nothing more prettily suggests summer than a dry (i.e. not sweet) rose. Avoid the simple, syrupy versions and try French roses from the Mourvèdre grape or roses made using the Saignee method for more complexity. Pick wines from countries where you imagine the locals sipping leisurely at sidewalk cafés while basking in the sun, like Spain. A Spanish fave is Albarino from the Rias Baixas region. Made to drink young, Albarino is a crisp, white wine with intense fruit, lively acidity and generally a lower level of alcohol. It pairs perfectly with summer foods from seafood to grilled vegetables. But you don’t need to swear off red wine for summer. Look for light bodied wines like Pinot Noir from Oregon or a Valpolicella from Italy, both capable of standing up to barbequed foods. And don’t be afraid to put a slight chill on your red wine. It is summer after all!

Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain, “Exceptional with Everything” Oh Really?

There's nothing we love more than a challenge. It's in our makeup. We're two women, thirties. One Indian. One Filipina. The first, founder and CEO of a business in the arguably male-dominated wine world. The second, building experience to be a future proprietess of a wine store. Add to this: In New York City. So when presented with the opportunity to play wine and food critic for a night—to pair Rías Baixas Albariño wines, proclaimed to be "exceptional with everything" with Mercat’s offerings —it is impossible and simply against every ounce of who we are, to refuse.

Mercat means “market” in Catalan, the language of the northern Spanish region where owner, Jaime Reixach, is from and where the restaurant’s menu draws its inspiration. The albariños we’ll be drinking also originate from the northern region, and so we’re already anticipating more perfect wine pairings than tragic mismatches.

It’s a beautiful warm Thursday night—and we are tasting two Albariño wines: Alba Rosa from Martinez Serrantes and Pazo San Mauro, both 2006 vintages. We take our time with each wine—assessing them alone and then side by side. At the end, we agree that both are delightful: the Alba Rosa is sparkling with surprising depth while the Pazo San Mauro would bring life to our springtime picnic. Further, we imagine that if each wine were to be personified, they might just be these two ladies, described as such:

Alba Rosa Martinez Serantes Albariño | Scarlett Johansson: "Sparkling with surprising depth"

Alba Rosa Martinez Serantes Albariño | Scarlett Johansson: "Sparkling with surprising depth"
This golden blonde hued wine gives an almost effervescent quality that shoots racy brightness into your mouth. It has the usual grassiness and citrus qualities one expects from this wine. The reason why this wine fits Scarlett most is because it has the quality of lightness but comes with surprising depth of character and fullness in body. The comparison would be perfect were the wine to show great legs, but its light-bodied, lower alcohol nature doesn’t allow it.

Pazo San Mauro Albariño | Cameron Diaz: “Livens up your springtime picnic”

Pazo San Mauro Albariño | Cameron Diaz: “Livens up your springtime picnic”
Cameron would be a fun addition to any springtime outing. Her lightheartedness would make everyone smile and this wine does the same. The light yellow straw color gives way to granny smith apples, peaches, melon, and citrus scents that jump at your nose, smelling like springtime in a glass. This wine begs to be explored further. The crisp and pleasantly tart apple is balanced with pear and makes it the perfect brunch wine.
Now, we move on to the heart of our challenge: Exceptional with everything? Oh really? How do these two beauties handle themselves in company? After the three and a half hours of glorious sipping, chewing, and chatting, among ourselves and the restaurant staff, here are our findings:

No surprise, our lovely wines get along splendidly with their classic and traditional partners: we have raves for the nicely seasoned patatas bravas—not too spicy, not too garlicky—and the padrones/blistered shishito peppers, the char and oil offset by the tartness of the wines. One of us goes wild for the Canelons de Verdura/eggplant wrapped spring vegetables, manchego, and cranberry reduction. And then Chef Lowder sends over Trencat d’Ous/mushroom with salsa verde topped with a fried egg, which again, goes splendidly with our wines. Even the suckling pig/Cochinillo, which we think will surely clash, in fact becomes the surprise of the evening. Like the beauty and the beast, our wines and the pig make an unlikely but harmonious pair.

We ask ourselves for the last time: Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain: Exceptional with Everything?

If not for being the gluttonous bottomless pits that we are, we would certainly have answered YES with an exclamation point. But since we order those two desserts—Torrades Sta. Teresa/fried bread with lemon yogurt and Pa Amb Oli Xocolata/bread, olive oil, and chocolate, our answer must be: Almost. These two desserts with our two Albariños — are disastrous.

Rías Baixas Albariño from Spain: Exceptional with almost Everything.

--Anu Karwa and Marie Estrada

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