My neighborhood, Brooklyn Heights, is blessed with three very good wine and spirits shops. My "local", Montague Wines & Sprits, is but a few steps from the door of my apartment building. It's small, but stocks a well-chosen selection, and is managed amiably and knowledgeably by Big Jeff and not-so-big Michael. To the north, at the busy corner of Clark and Henry, is Michael-Towne, where I can sometimes find a former law firm colleague hosting a wine tasting, and can almost always find a chilled bottle of my wife's favorite white, Macon-Lugny "Les Charmes".
To the south, on Atlantic Avenue, is Heights Chateau (picture above from their website), the largest of the three. Here, Judy has been unfailingly helpful in finding good, inexpensive wines from various places, and Dominique guided me to some nice French artisinal reds that fit my budget.
On a recent visit to Heights Chateau, I got to chatting with a pleasant young woman at the checkout, during which I mentioned my admiration for Alice Feiring, and that I'd posted on my blog about her. She told me she also had a blog, and that she would e-mail me the URL. About an hour later I got the link to Elana's blog, So Many Wines...So Little Time. Her recent post on The Brandy Library sparked my interest, as I love good eaux de vie and single malt Scotches (the word "whiskey" derives from the Gaelic usquebach, which translates as "water of life", as does the Danish akavit, which derives from the Latin aqua vitae). Her series of posts about her visit to France, featuring Champagne and Burgundy, are informative and entertaining. Finally, hearty congratulations to Elana for completing the requirements for an advanced certificate in wine from the International Wine Center. I do like it that she resists the usual ways of writing about wine. As she puts it:
They teach you to describe [wine] with typical adjectives: fruit forward, oaky, tannic...but I still tend to tell our customers the following: so good it broke my heart, i want to put a straw in it and just drink, killer juice. Then there are my descriptions of some of my favorite spirits: made me break out into a jig, i love to wear it as perfume, or it's like a symphony (that can be used with wine as well). Sometimes you just have to go with that initial feeling.Update: Eric Asimov, in his "The Pour" column in today's New York Times, praises California vintners, like John Williams of Frog's Leap, who are producing old school, subtle, balanced wines, as opposed to Parkerillas. I suspect Elana and Alice will join me in cheering Eric's espousal of terroir.