Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gotham's Wine Gossip - Hello Kitty Wine, Christian Audigier & More

Greetings savvy sippers - read on for gossip on Hello Kitty wine and Christian Audigier designed wine bottles.

While it feels less like June and more like Indonesian
Monsoon season, signs of summer are all around: Jitney tickets for sale, free (rainy) concerts in Prospect Park, sightings of Hollywood starlets at the Delacorte theatre, and glasses of rose on every bistro table in Gotham. But even if the streets are full of puddles, the windows are steamed up from all of the delicious gossip!

With most of the world’s blue chip wine heading over to Asia, it’s no surprise that some cultural emblems are making their way west, and onto wine labels! And what better an ambassador of globalization than Italian Sangiovese stamped with the emblem of world famous “Hello Kitty!”

It’s true- Hello Kitty is no longer relegated to lunch pails and tiny backpacks and can instead be found on Asti Spumante from Lombardy producer Tenimenti Castelrotto. Now, I am as likely to stock my cellar with Hello Kitty bottles as I am to drink out of a beer mug, but I’m sure those teenagers will love it!

In fairness, you kind readers know me to be a friend of progress, and I never met a trend I didn’t like, so I will embrace alternative wine labels with gusto, as long as its gossip worthy. Christian Audigier certainly fits that bill. The French fashion designer (who famously paid Britney Spears to attend his birthday party!) turned trucker hats hip, so its no surprise his latest canvas is a bottle of French Grenache. Like his $300 tee-shirts, Audigier covers the bottles in an opaque tattoo design and sells them for the relative bargain of $100. Sipping one the other night, I drew attention from the bartender (which wasn’t such a bad thing, darlings) but couldn’t finish the glass. Unless I’m flooded with apparel, or a model, to match, I’m going to pass my time wishing the rain away with a bottle of gimmick-free Riesling and good ol’ Page Six.

Until the next, hopefully sunny, installment…


Anonymous said...

Yes! And Hello Kitty wines are now available in NYC. In fact there are two tastings on Sat 6/20. At SeaGrape (www.seagrapewines.com) in the West Village from 1:30-3:30 pm and Bowery & Vine (www.boweryandvine.com)in LES from 4-6 pm. You can also buy it at Vintage Grape (www.vintagegrape.net) and Columbus Wines (www.columbuswines.com). Meow!

owen said...

Hi Kitty,
I'm surprised that Christian Audigier didn't invite you to his party, (as we would have). Just to let you know that we stock the full range of Christian Audigier Wines and Champagne, all available to purchase online at www.levincool.co.uk

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

Visit http://www.riasbaixaswines.com for more info on Rías Baixas Albariños from Spain

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