Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.
Bar Raval | Chloe Frechette, Senior Editor
On a recent Sunday night, after finding myself stranded in Toronto with no compensation from the airline that ditched me, I decided to strike out on the town in search of consolation. Just about anywhere that wasn’t the airport Sheraton would’ve lifted my spirits, but as luck would have it I landed at Bar Raval, where I was greeted with a menu of conservas and pintxos accompanied by a tight list of creative aperitvo-style cocktails (Campari Daiquiri, anyone?). It was enough to woo me in any circumstance, but after a six-hour delay followed by a cancellation, I could think of no better antidote.
Massican Gaspare Bianco Friuli Colli Orientali 2017 | Leslie Pariseau, Features Editor
I like the Gaspare so much, I’ve drunk it twice in the past month, once at Lilia in Brooklyn and on a recent afternoon at Crown Shy in Manhattan. A champion of California-grown Italian varieties, Dan Petroski’s vision has landed Massican within the canon of the New California. The Gaspare, his first Italian release, was made with Serena Palazzolo and Christian Patat of Ronco del Gnemiz in Friuli, and is a blend of friulano, ribolla gialla and chardonnay. Fittingly, it’s a sort of more robust mirroring of Massican’s signature bottling, Annia, named for Petroski’s mother.
Oyster River Winegrowers Morphos Pét Nat 2016 | Allison Hamlin, Partnerships Manager
The best and worst thing about working for PUNCH is that whenever feel like I’ve discovered something new, it almost always turns out that we’ve published something about it on the site years before. Case in point: After spotting a bottle of Oyster River’s Morphos on the list at Misery Loves Company in Winooski, VT, a little research turned up that Jon Bonné had long beaten me to the punch in his 2016 guide to American pét-nat. While late to the party, I’m happy to second his very good advice. A blend of indigenous hybrid grapes cayuga white and seyval blanc, the 2016 bottling of Morphos was yeasty, funky and surprisingly fresh.
The School of Guiberteau | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
Over the last half-decade, Romain Guiberteau has become a cult star in the Loire Valley for his dry, austere expressions of chenin blanc from Saumur. Himself a student of Nady Foucault of Clos Rougeard, another cult star known more for his work with cabernet franc, Guiberteau has since become a steward—directly and indirectly—of a new generation of chenin blanc stars. Brendan Stater-West, an American from Oregon who moved to France to work for Guiberteau, is quickly becoming a star in his own right. His “Les Chapaudaises,” sourced from a single hectare of land near the famed Brézé, makes its influence clear, but drinks like a slightly creamier, more inviting take than your typical new-release Guiberteau. There’s a reason why “Stater-West” is already a household name among the chenin hunters.
Natural Wine for the People by Alice Feiring | Kaitlin Bray, Director of Audience Development
Commuting requires entertainment, and I’ve been distracting myself with Alice Feiring’s new book, Natural Wine for the People. Her approach to explaining what natural wine is, how to love it, where to find it and producers to look out for is approachable, informative and actually fun to read. Download it on your phone so you can have it on hand the next time your in a wine shop or navigating a wine list.
Lyaness | Robert Simonson, Contributing Editor
I don’t have much appetite for corporate-branded dining, but I made an exception with the recent Mastercard-backed Manhattan pop-up “Priceless,” because it offered a rare Stateside opportunity to sample cocktails from London’s vaunted Lyan team, headed by Ryan Chetiyawardana. The improbable Lyaness Martini has the usual gin and vermouth, but also an ever-so-light touch of “infinite banana Curaçao,” a complex banana syrup that, if you didn’t know it was in there, you might guess was a bit of bianco vermouth. Also making a positive impression was an affectionate tribute to New York’s own homegrown Cosmopolitan, made with the typical citrus-flavored vodka, cranberry juice and lime juice, but also grapefruit Curaçao and creamy Lyaness creation called milk wine. The pop-up will return in October and is worth a visit. And if you don’t own a Mastercard, don’t worry. They take cash, too.
The Wine List at Crown Shy | Jon Bonné, Senior Contributing Editor
On paper, everything about the restaurant Crown Shy should be the sort of unobtanium that New York 2019 does tragically well: a massive ground-floor space in a pristinely revived Art Deco masterpiece, a former NoMad chef (James Kent) and a partner from Del Posto (Jeff Katz). But somehow the restaurant manages to be astonishingly down-to-earth. And that extends to Luke Boland’s wine program.
You’d expect, given his pedigree (The Grill, The Pool, Del Posto), that Crown Shy’s wine list would be a brilliantly engineered money-extraction device, and you’d be wrong. Boland has assembled one of the most drinkable lists in the city. Yes, there’s plenty for the bros in the ZIP code with expense accounts to burn. But those see-me wines play second fiddle to the fun stuff like $35 cremant from Thierry Richoux, the best producer in Irancy, next to Chablis. On Wall Street? So crazy it just might work.