Though it was a bit past noon yesterday when we wandered into Craftbar, it was in some deeper sense still early. To brace ourselves against the day we first gave the Alsatian 2002 Paul Zinck Prestige Riesling a spin. A bit flabby unfortunately with none of the requisite verve. A 2003 Anton Bauer Gruner Veltliner from Donauland also lacked the swarthy, determined gate we had in mind to carry us through lunch and the Albana/Sauvignon Blanc blend from Srabismo di Venere in Emilia-Romagna, while interesting seemed a little sloop-shouldered and vaguely sweet. Finally a well structured, flinty Bordeaux arrived with just the punch we wanted: the 2003 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend from Chateau La Caussade in Sainte Croix du Mont. Craftbar had on the list for $7 a glass. Wish we knew where to find this as the bottle can’t be more than $10 in a shop. Its steely muscular profile with toast, minerals and yeast was the perfect kickstart; a couple few of these put us in in good stead for lunch. For lunch: roasted sea bass on the bone with crisped and smoky skin in a pond of pequillo peppers, tripe and roasted cippolinis for one. For the other, a braised and roasted bunny. Phenomenally good, both.
We shared a couple cheeses for dessert: the Basque Abbaye de Bellocq, which hadn’t quite enough funk on it, and a stunning Lingot (also goat) du Quercy. A glass of Henri Darnat’s 2001 Clos du Domaine Meursault Burgundy from the Cote de Beaune paired well - nothing in common with the Bordeaux of course, this was a deep, soft, elegant, complex pineapple-and-pollen whirlpool. Fortified, we poured ourselves into theater seats for a screening of Sideways – an utterly charming flick – and then walked over to the wine bar Enoteca at I Trulli.
We’d loved the 1997 Tegolaia from Travignoli once sold here, but I Trulli has since moved on to pouring the 1999. When asked how the two compared, the sommelier poured us the 1999 Brunello from Castelli Martinozzi instead. Lovely fellow by the way: tasteful, knowledgeable and not at all the pretentious sort one so often finds at wine bars. Used to be the sommelier at Babbo for three years. Well this Brunello – good god, what a supercool wine. We at CQ could consume it case upon case and well may. Here though we did stick to just the one glass, as when it was gone our new found sommelier next recommended another: the simpler if also gorgeous Aglianico del Vulture Riserva, 1998 from Tenuta del Portale. Aglianico has so much unassuming character and none-too-fruity fruit; this seems an Italian's Italian and one well paired with I Trulli's house-cured prosciutto, coppa and soppressata. It was though getting on and for a night cap after our arduous day we had the lovely if leagues softer Puglian Rupicolo di Rivera, 2002. Velvety, dark, unctuous: this is another it'd well pay to keep on hand. This week, the sommelier said, he'll have new fall flights lined up.We'll be back.
*cribbed wine chick graphic by Alexandra Reszczynski