When the mustachioed, tatted, pierced, and semi-Mohawked bartender at the Ten Bells wine bar on the Lower Eastside approached me yesterday as I sat at the bar during happy hour yesterday, I asked him about a by-the-carafe wine from a Provence estate called Domaine de la Patience.
“Do you mean the white or the rosé?” he asked me sullenly.
“I was wondering about the rosé but what’s the white like?” I said. “Is it by-the-carafe as well?”
“Do you like oaky, buttery Chardonnay?” he queried.
Nonplussed by his deadpan line of questioning, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.
“You’re kidding, right?” I said as I began to realize that it wasn’t a joke. “Is it really ‘oaky and buttery’?”
“It is,” he answered, tersely by this point.
“May I please just have a glass of the Prosecco?” I solicited, hoping solely to appease him.
Domaine de la Patience, it turns out, is an estate imported to the U.S. by Jenny and François Selections, one of my favorite purveyors of organic and biodynamic wines from Europe.
I still haven’t tasted the wine but knowing the importer, I can’t imagine that it’s “oaky and buttery” or even remotely “Napa Chard” in style.
Has it come to this? The Manhattan restaurant and wine landscape continues to evolve rapidly. But did everyone’s favorite natural wine bar on the Lower Eastside have to sink to this level?
Maybe, as my friend Ed McCarthy (a favorite wine writer and one of the greatest tasters I’ve ever known), wrote on the Twitter: “He thought you were an oaky, buttery kind of guy, you know, the average clueless American.”
And in much better news…
Yesterday, before I headed to the Ten Bells for a business meeting, I popped into the East Broadway Mall in Chinatown to taste the above flight of super groovy Italian beers with Chris Leo and his partner Laura Marchetti.
They’ve recently launched a new importing business called the Maritime Republic.
Super cool folks, super cool beers. Check it out…