One Foot In Wine Country

One Foot In Wine Country

Earlier this week, I took a tour of City Winery—a fully functional winery, restaurant and music venue in SoHo. Although nestled smack-dab in the middle of downtown Manhattan, hugging the corner of Vandam and Varick streets, once inside, the substantial space exudes a rustic vibe—drawing inspiration from Italian and Old Spanish wineries. I first saw the sprawling music venue, packed with long communal and circular tables, as well as wood pillars with branches wrapped around them. When I visited, bands were rehearsing on stage—a stage that has seen the likes of Prince, Patti Smith and David Crosby. City Winery also hosts comedians on a regular basis.

In the Barrel Room, the establishment’s intimate dining space, patrons are treated to views of The Winery—a room teeming with French oak barrels and steel fermenting tanks. Twenty-plus wines are available on tap, which are delivered straight from the barrel to the glass. I enjoyed flights of crisp whites, including SoHo Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Reserve Chardonnay—offering a crisp, tart escape on a particularly muggy day; as well as full-bodied reds (think Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tres Amigos). On the food front, City Winery boasts an extensive menu of tasting dishes and entrées. I sampled the Butchers Table Meatballs, with crusty bread and  Manchego, which were mouthwatering with a slightly tangy, sweet taste; and Braised Duck Tacos, with braised Hudson Valley duck, gaucamatillo salsa and cabbage salad, which proved to be full-flavored without the overwhelming saltiness I normally associate with duck. The pizza is even wine-infused, with wine yeast used to make the dough. Hearty fare is served at tables with wine cork tabletops—adding a quirky touch to the dining venue. The ultimate oenophile can personalize their City Winery experience with the restaurant’s Barrel Program. This serves as the perfect opportunity to make a bottle of your own wine—from selecting the grapes, to crushing, barreling, corking, bottling and labeling. For more on City Winery’s DIY winemaking, click here.

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