Archive for the ‘New York’ category

The Best Greek Wine List in New York? In the U.S.? The world?

October 20, 2010

In our humble opinion, there is no better Greek wine list in the U.S. than the one curated by this man, Kamal Kouiri, at one of New York City’s premier Greek restaurants, Molyvos in Midtown.

We’ve been to a lot of Greek restaurants this year: never before have we seen a Greek wine list with such breadth, balance, and passion.

At 25 pages, replete with verticals for the red and white wines of Greece, Kouiri’s list is a veritable encyclopedia of Greek wines.

Where many sommeliers use their lists merely to catalog their wines, the thirty-something Kouiri uses his for his patrons’ education as well. Here’s a paragraph lifted from his “intro to Greek wine”:

Wine has been an important part of Greek culture for over 4,000 years as the numerous archeological discoveries throughout Greece indicate. The ancient Greeks knew the nutritional value of wine well, as it became an inseparable part of their daily regimen. They loved to organize intellectual gatherings called symposia where they would eat and talk about philosophical subjects while drinking wine. Our ancestors also realized the important influence of the local ecosystem on the characteristics of wine. In recent years, the Greek wine industry has undergone tremendous improvements with serious investments in modern wine making technology. The new generation of native winemakers is being trained in the best wine schools around the world. What makes Greek wine so unique are the more than 300 indigenous grape varieties grown there, some of which have been cultivated since ancient times. Many of the world’s best wine critics agree that the distinct flavors come from these native grape varieties. Many well-known international grape varieties are also used in Greek wine making. This extensive variety of grapes together with the moderate Greek climate, plentiful sunshine, low average rainfall and soils of moderate fertility combine to provide an excellent environment for the production of high quality wines. The beauty about this land is that it provides distinctive geological cites, like Makedonia, Thraki, Thessaly, Epirus and Peloponnese in the main land, Kephalonia & Corfu in the Ionian sea, Santorini, Crete, Paros, Samos, Rhodes and Limnos in the Aegean Sea.

You can download a PDF version of the list by visiting the restaurant’s website here. Be sure to peruse the glossary at the end.

Molyvos
871 7th Ave # 4
New York, NY 10019-3923
(212) 582-7500

Highly recommended.

The two “divas” of Greek wine: Assyrtiko and Xinomavro

June 9, 2010

Above: Some of the world’s top wine professionals gathered for the New Wines of Greece grand tasting and seminar at the end of May in New York City.

We recently came across a great post on the New Wines of Greece grand tasting and seminar in New York (May, 2010) by wine blogger and wine professional Christine Berenger, author of Fava Beans and Chianti.

Christine gives readers a great overview of the seminars we attended and a solid backgrounder on Greece, its wines, and its grape varieties. But our favorite part of her post was devoted to the two “divas” of Greek wine, Assyrtiko and Xinomavro:

With over 350 indigenous varieties that are not genetically linked to any other varietals in the world, the wines of Greece are truly unique. While Greek wines are distinct and not directly comparable, this forum gave people a side-by-side comparison with other more popular international varietals, so if someone liked some of the characteristics of “X popular varietal,” then they might also enjoy a glass of “Y Greek varietal.” The tasting was lead by Doug Frost, one of three people in the world who is both MS and MW. He is true lover of Greek wines. I tried quite a few of these Greek wines, but the ones I thoroughly enjoyed (and plan on buying for myself) were made from the following two varietals — Assyrtiko and Xinomavro. Doug described these two varietals as “the divas,” which I concur as being a good descriptor. Here’s the secret decoder ring. If you enjoy the austerity, acidity and minerality of a Chablis or Riesling, you might fancy an Assyritko. If you like the dustiness and earthiness of Barbaresco (Nebbiolo) or Brunello (Sangiovese), you might want to try Xinomavro.

Click here to read the rest of Christine’s excellent post.

Greek wine in New York: Taverna Kyclades, Astoria, Queens

May 24, 2010

Above: Grilled calamari at Taverna Kyclades, Astoria, Queens, wilted Swiss chard, and a “peasant” (village) salad served with toasty, crusty bread, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. The food is fresh and delicious, the prices more than reasonable, and the long wait for a table is worth it.

Even Eric Asimov, wine writer for The New York Times, had to wait 45 minutes to get a table at the popular Taverny Kyclades in Astoria, Queens. “And I couldn’t have been happier with our wine,” he wrote of the Boutari Santorini, made from 100% Assyrtiko grapes grown on the island of Santorini. “Light, minerally and inexpensive. It went beautifully with the seafood, and was the sort of light white that is absolutely refreshing but still offers something to think about.”

There was an hour and a half wait for a table of four when we visited yesterday evening but well worth the anticipation, especially considering the reasonably priced food and the super friendly waitstaff.

From its sidewalk outdoor dining to the bustling dining room where Greek and English are spoken, this family-friendly restaurant is THE place to be on a beautiful spring evening in the heart of one of the most vibrant Greek communities in the U.S.

Entrées and even the small “peasant” salad were enough for 2 persons, making our tab even more reasonably priced. Boutari Moschofilero and Santorini are served by the bottle.


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