A fantastic wine shop in Brooklyn and a first kiss with a great Lugana

best wine store brooklynNew Yorkers are pretty grumpy these days and it’s not hard to understand why: for four weeks, they’ve been schlepping through snow, bitter cold, and the grimy slush that follows snowfall in the city that never slips on the black ice.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon “working the market” (as they say in the trade) with my client from Chianti Classico, La Porta di Vertine.

It had already begun to snow (again) around 3 p.m. when winemaker Giacomo Mastretta, my old friend Kevin Russell (who sells the wine), and I emerged from the mythical G train in Williamsburg.

But my spirits were bolstered when we stepped out of the weather and into the lovely Vine Wine shop on Lorimer (above).

Talitha WhidbeeThat’s owner Talitha Whidbee (center) with a couple of her team members. Her shop is as bright and smart as she is and nearly every wine has a handwritten label with thoughtfully composed notes on the wine.

I was really impressed by the breadth of the selection in her tidy store, which is about to celebrate ten years in business.

But I was even more impressed by her savvy use of social media to create awareness and visibility for her brand.

Her blog is updated regularly and her Instagram is a true phenomenon among Brooklynite wine lovers.

Nearly every day, a staff member (whoever opens the shop, I was told) scribbles parodic news bites on a chalkboard outside the store and then posts it. It’s a brilliant way to host and exploit content. Chapeau bas, Talitha!

best oysters new jerseyAfter meeting and tasting with Talitha and her team, our rush-hour “no talking on the train allowed” schlepp out to Morristown, New Jersey was rewarded by a delicious spread of oysters, courtesy of New York restaurateur Chris Cannon, who’s opened a wonderful new Italianate restaurant there called Jockey Hollow.

Chris is a passionate Italocentric enophile. And I loved the pairing he served us: the Ottella Lugana Le Creete (below).

le creete lugana otellaIts intense aromatic character was unusual for Lugana and its flavors were equally rich and focused. Great wine and a great discovery for me.

snapper carpaccio recipeThat’s the snapper carpaccio that Chef Kevin Sippel served as an antipasto to a delicious meal set against the ornate Vail mansion that Chris has transformed into an elegant fine dining experience.

I’m about to head out for another day of media appointments and market work with Giacomo and that’s all I have time for today.

It’s currently 37° outside and there’s a 50 percent chance of rain. Snow and a high of 28° are predicted for tomorrow.

But hey, someone has got to keep the world safe for Italian wine… Thanks for tagging along for the schlepp.

2 thoughts on “A fantastic wine shop in Brooklyn and a first kiss with a great Lugana

  1. Hi–Is there a web site where I can search for agritourismos (sp?) in the Northern Italian wine regions?

    Thank you.

    Benjamin Falk Napa, CA

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