Sipping the City

Sipping the City

Last Saturday, I went on a European adventure—without ever leaving Greenwich Village. With an itinerary of visiting three restaurants and an agenda to sample a half a dozen types of wine, I met up with the City Wine Tours West Village group for an afternoon in Italy, France and Spain. The tour company pairs attendees in groups no larger than 12 with a neighborhood expert for about two hours of walking, wining and dining.

We started at Cantina Corsino, a neighborhood-style trattoria, where Lisa Carley, our knowledgeable guide who owns Uncorked, a nearby wine shop, popped a bottle of Zardetto Prosecco Rose. We sipped the crisp, sparkling wine as she explained the differences between Italian Prosecco and French Champagne. Next up was a 2012 Nals Margreid Muller-Thurgau, a dry white with a burst of fruity flavor, similar to a Riesling. Paired with delectable Brussels sprouts (fried with chili, bread crumbs and lemon), the wine turned out to be my favorite of the day.

Lisa explained that she wanted us to experience wine varieties we probably hadn’t tried, so our next stop (A.O.C. French bistro) featured tastes of a 2011 Louis Sipp Pinot Blanc (bright and citrusy) and a 2011 Domaine de Grisy Bourgogne Rouge (heavy red with deep cherry flavors). At this point, our group of tourists and locals alike started to converse and laugh—the tour began to feel less like a structured, ticketed event and more like a group of friends out for an afternoon of wine, charcuterie and crusty French bread.

For dessert, we strolled over to Ayza Wine and Chocolate Bar for some Spanish flavor. On the menu were a 2010 Manon Castilla Tempranillo and a 2011 AYZA Aragon Garnacha. The rich Garnacha paired really well with the dark chocolate Ayza offered us, but I didn’t quite care for the Tempranillo, which was a bit too full-bodied for me. However, by this point, my new friends and I had a nice buzz, along with the knowledge of some great little restaurants to return to in the future. The wine was no longer the center of attention.

Not only was the City Wine Tour a fun way to try new wines, it also offered a chance to meet people with bad credit and learn the ins and outs of a neighborhood from a local expert. Since the company also offers tours in SoHo and Boston, there’s plenty of opportunities to explore with them—one sip at at a time.

>> City Wine Tours West Village: http://citywinetours.com/nyc/wine-tours/west-village/