Great wine is being made all over New York State—you can try them all at these New York City bars and restaurants.
I’ve lived in New York for over 11 years, and though I don’t harbor any particular allegiance to New York sports teams, there is one local group I’m rooting for, and it happens to be the state’s vastly underrated winemakers.
The Hudson Valley may not be Sonoma Valley, and Long Island may not evoke the sophistication of coastal European wine countries like Bordeaux, but these Empire State regions are capitalizing on some of the most minerally diverse terroir of any vineyard-heavy locale.
What does that mean exactly? While having a lot of mineral variety in the soil means that there’s no distinct brand of wine coming from New York State, what you can often expect is that New York wines will pair well with just about anything—and the producers aren’t afraid to experiment with different varietals, blends, and processes.
But, as I recently learned on a New York City wine bar tour with Paul Brady, the Brand Ambassador for the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, you don’t have to venture Upstate or brave the Long Island Rail Road to experience some of the most exciting new wines in the industry. Naturally, New York City has become a hub for the state’s eclectic mix of fermented grape juice.
Below, Brady shares the best bars in New York City that boast a rotating selection of wines from New York State with a variety of delicious and unique bites to enjoy them with. Score two for the home team.
“This is the wine bar spearheaded by Laura Maniec Fiorvanti, who was at one time the youngest female Master Sommelier in the world. In 2011 she opened Corkbuzz, which she calls a “wine studio,” and I think that’s a good way to frame it—Corkbuzz has always been about wine education. Blind tastings, classes, and thematic flights are all what one can experience on any given night. I’ve really come to rely on it as a place to eat and drink well, but also to engage with the staff and learn. Corkbuzz always has an ear to the pulse, and in general is out in front of it.”
Union Square, 13 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003
“Racines is a highly accoladed neo-French bistro run by Arnot Tronche and Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier. Lepeltier is a mentor of mine, and about as good as it gets in the business. Last year, she won the Best Sommelier In France competition and is also a partner in a New York wine brand called Chepika. It’s rare to have a French sommelier with such an intense dedication to New York wines.”
Tribeca, 94 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007
“Terroir is what I’d call a “postmodern wine bar,” in that it’s founder Paul Grieco—also highly accoladed—has always been known for presenting wines from every major and remote corner of the wine world. The vibe of the wine list and interior of the place is unlike any other wine destination I’ve ever been. (Full disclosure, I did also work there.) Paul has an extreme dedication to the Riesling grape—the flagship grape of the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York.”
Tribeca, 24 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013
“The Michelin starred NoMad’s wine program is overseen by Beverage Director Thomas Pastuszak, a Cornell grad with a devotion to New York wines. Go for some of the Rieslings with a few years of age on them. Also look for sparkling wines, pinot noir, and cabernet franc from the Finger Lakes.”
NoMad, 1170 Broadway, New York, NY 10001
“Staff sommeliers James Sligh and Vitalii Dascaliuc are relative geniuses on the subject of New York wines. Both have taught classes at Compagnie on the subject and plan to continue doing such at their Soho location.”
Soho, 249 Centre St, New York, NY 10013
“Gramercy Tavern has a long history of presenting wines from many of the major wine producing areas of New York state. Look for wines from Long Island, the Finger Lakes, and the Hudson Valley. And, you don’t need a reservation to sit to eat and drink in the Tavern (the main dining room accepts reservations), which is a favorite amongst the wine industry at large as a place to drink.”
Gramercy, 42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003
“The Marshal has an all-New York wine list overseen by chef/owner Charlie Marshal—one of the rare chefs who still does the wine buying. His commitment to local producers extends to farmers and liquor distilleries, too, making it one of the most sustainable restaurants in the city.”
Hell’s Kitchen, 628 10th Ave, New York, NY 10036
“One of the most beautiful barrooms in all of New York City, this fine dining and bar destination recently bulked up on it’s Long Island listings, with splashes of the Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes available as well.”
Financial District, 5 Beekman St, New York, NY 10038
“High atop Rockefeller Center, this may be a cheesy tourist destination, but don’t let that discourage you. Along with some of the best views in the city, you’ll get a gem of an all-New York wine list, overseen by Beverage Director Amy Devashin.”
Midtown/Theater District, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 65th Floor, New York, NY 10112
“Yes, this is Top Chef producer Tom Colicchio’s spot, but native Upstater Brooks Fraser is the Beverage Director, and she is devoted to her state’s wines. There is always an offering of New York wines by the glass and bottle to pair with Colicchio’s inventive bites.”
Flatiron, 43 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003