Hat Tip to The Ten Bells & Uva

June 21, 2011

This weekend had me in NYC catching up with friends and checking in on old haunts. It’s invigorating getting reacquainted with a city you once lived in, especially one like Manhattan where things are constantly changing. And with all that change usually comes new treats. Well, new-to-me at least. Like, The Ten Bells Wine Bar in SoHo.

The Ten Bells

The Ten Bells

Great atmosphere – small, convivial, rustic, with polished touches – a white marble bar top and funky industrial lighting. It’s cash only, and the menu is strictly chalkboard. At first the wine list appears small, but it’s well chosen with a good selection by the glass and bottle that changes regularly along with the food. At 8pm on a humid Friday night it was rammed with people spilling out onto the sidewalk. We managed to cluster around a high counter toward the back and settle on the Domaine Pascal Pibaleau “La Perlette” – a lightly sparking Rosé from Touraine made from the elusive Grolleau.

La Perlette

La Perlette Sparking Rosé

Domaine Pascal Pibaleau is a biodynamic producer with a focus on natural, organic farming methods including manual harvesting. The alcoholic fermentation for La Perlette is stopped partway through and the wine sits on its lees until disgorgement. Neither sulfur nor dosage is added. A fantastic wine! Lively but delicate fruit, chalky minerality, a touch herbacious, lightly petilant with balanced acidity and a dry finish. Fun to drink and a dream with the spicy octopus, chorizo and duck rilette we devoured.

Uva

Uva

Uva Wine Bar on The Upper East Side was the following night. Another sticky, late evening so we grabbed an outdoor table on their busy sidewalk patio. Specializing in Tuscan fare, it has a hefty wine list with an impressive Italian section. Uniquely, each wine is listed with the varietal in bold, followed by the producer, which I discovered was really handing for navigating (E.g. PECORINO IL FEUDUCCIO ’09 MARCHE 33) Most wines appeared to be single-varietals rather than blends, perhaps by design.

Uva Sidewalk Seating

Uva Sidewalk Seating

We ultimately decided on a Ribolla Gialla from Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, La Tunella “Rjgialla”. Very aromatic – lots of pear and quince on the nose with a touch of spice. I was expecting more fresh fruit on the palate but “cooked” fruit was what came through with a slight bitter/nuttiness I often get (and like) in good Italian whites. Solid structure, well balanced and very dry. My dining companion found it a bit too dry and a touch “gasoline-y”, but I think they too were expecting something fruitier. It has an odd flavour profile, not at all unpleasant but not your typical summertime, easy-drinking white. Personally, I liked it but it’s perhaps not for everyone.

La Tunella Rjgialla

La Tunella Rjgialla

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