What to Drink on New Year’s Eve? Make it Rare
We’re not usually huge wine snobs here at ES, but New Year’s Eve is that one night when you can’t show up to the party with a jug of Carlo Rossi and expect everyone to cheer. And sometimes even Champagne in a can isn’t enough to impress. So we’ve asked a genuine vino expert to share some tips on how to kick your NYE wine selection up just a little bit.
I recently stumbled across MCF Rare Wine, Ltd., a bespoke wine shop in Manhattan’s West Village offering a carefully chosen collection of wines and an unapologetic attitude that emphasizes old-fashioned customer service and honesty. You won’t find a bottle of Sutter Home or Yellow Tail here, nor the obligatory hard liquor mini-bottles for your next flight. What you will witness is owner Matt Franco researching the next great find, unpacking a delivery, printing shelf labels, sweeping the front stoop—and if you’re really lucky—offering his soft-spoken but decidedly opinionated take on any of the eighty or so wines that adorn the tiny shop. Matt offers ES-ers an inside track for that perfect New Year’s bottle that will ensure 2011 is a year to remember:
ES: Last year everyone recognized my cheap bottle of Prosecco, in spite of the foil bag and curly ribbon. Their reaction—“Oh, I’ve had that before (sigh).” Thoughts for a special bubbly that won’t break the bank?
MCF: Domaine Taille aux Loups Montlouis Petillant ‘Triple Zero’ NV $25
Winemaker Jacky Blot does some amazing stuff in the Loire Valley in France and this is one of his most interesting creations. Made from fully ripe Chenin Blanc grapes, the ‘Triple Zero’ refers to the fact that there is no sugar added at any of the three traditional times during production. Crisp, aromatic and expressive, this is more interesting than Prosecco and more wallet-friendly than Champagne.
ES: Sometimes I like to cause a stir when I show up at a party, but I’m feeling my age. Is there a wine that can get the party started on my behalf?
MCF: Terres Dorees Cote-de-Brouilly 2009 $20
The accolades that the wines of Beaujolais have been receiving for the 2009 vintage are unprecedented and have been causing a bit of a stir among longtime devotees who are suddenly finding it difficult to acquire their most treasured gems due to huge new demand. Normally, these delicate and expressive wines have flown under the radar of the mainstream press who favor more substantial and muscular reds. In 2009, however, these are a whole new expression of Gamay. This Cote-de-Brouilly from Terres Dorees is as engaging and enjoyable wine as I’ve had in a long time. It’s aromatic, expressive and tremendously complex, with vibrant red fruit flavors that continue long after you put the glass down.
ES: What if Cupid bestows his love-tainted arrow upon me a couple of months early and I decide to stay in with someone special?
MCF: Calabretta Etna Rosso 2001 $29
This is one of those wines that is just too cool (and delicious) to share with the public. But I’m going to do it anyway. Etna represents perhaps the soul of Sicilian wines and never have I had one that expressed the soul of Etna the way this does. Made in a stubbornly (and refreshingly) old-school style, this wine drinks in many ways like a funky, traditional Barolo, yet articulates the qualities of the Nerello Mascalese grape perfectly.
ES: There’s a small possibility that I may come into a windfall of cash before New Year’s Eve. Hey, somebody needs to win the Mega Millions. If so, what is an option?
MCF: Roger Coulon Brut Grande Reserve NV 1.5L $125
As a gift-bearing partygoer, nothing means business more than a magnum of Champagne. So why not have it be a magnum that true Champagne-geeks would flock too, as well? An even blend of all three Champagne grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier), this is delicate, expressive and fantastically rich.
MCF Rare Wine, Ltd. ships wherever it’s legal and Matt is available for on-site or phone consultation.
237 West 13th Street, New York, NY