Where the cheap wine is the best: dinner at NoMad NYC

olga raffault

Above: Olga Raffault 2001 Chinon Les Picasses, one of my favorite wines and only $65 (yes!) at NoMad in NYC.

It was the night of two dinners.

“Order any wine you want,” said restaurateur Tony, my friend and client who was treating me to dinner.

We were at NoMad, a newish and very hot NYC restaurant that Tony’s chef Grant had recommended. We were eating our way through New York and Tony, who’s always overly generous with me when it comes to the wine selection, told me that “the sky’s the limit.”

roast chicken nomad

Above: The famous roast chicken at NoMad, as presented before service.

The wine list at NoMad is phenomenal and the European selections are stuff of dreams for me (we started with Alfred Gratien rosé by the glass).

I was tempted to take Tony up on his offer. I believe that both Bartolo Mascarello 1997 Barolo at $375 or Produttori del Barbaresco 1970 Barbaresco (classic) at $400 would have drunk brilliantly (and look, I wasn’t going to do Giacomo Conterno 1971 Barolo Monfortino at $3,200, however much I would LOVE to drink that wine).

But I also knew we were going to be tasting at least half of the menu and so I craved something extremely food friendly that wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the myriad flavors.

Twelve years in its evolution, the 2001 Chinon Les Picasses at $65 (!!!) was ideal (the 1989 at $125 would have been great, too, but I wanted to go with a younger wine that would have the versatility to stand up to the flavors that were heading in my palate’s direction).

chicken plated

Above: The the roast chicken mise-en-place.

Schmuck! I hear you say.

I know, I know… After all, I do a great job for Tony and we’ve become close friends. Back home in Texas, he’s opened more than one bottle of Quintarelli 1990 Bandito and 1990 Recioto for me (among other crazy labels).

But the 2001 Picasses was just right for the speed of the evening and the truly perfect pairing for the restaurant’s famous roast chicken.

tony vallone houston

Above: Tony (right) uses his phone to take pictures of dishes he likes. Between Doug (left), Tony, and me, we were tweeting up a storm.

We were joined that evening by my new bromance Doug Cook (my fellow Italophile and oenophile and super cool and brilliant dude).

“Bring anyone you like to dinner,” Tony had said, his largesse rivaled only by the amount of fun we were having the two evenings we spent dining our way through the city.

We ended up staying to close the place and I had a blast chatting with the sommeliers about their list (they proudly showed me emptied bottles of old B. Masarello and Soldera that had been brought in by a mutual friend and one of the top Italian collectors in the city and they treated us to 1996 Oddero Barolo by the glass).

The best news is that that bottle of Produttori del Barbaresco 1970 Barbaresco Pora at $450 will probably still be there when I return east in the fall.

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