Food Republic’s Richard Martin and Chris Shott are two Brooklyn dads who like to drink good wine. Occasionally, they compare notes on what they’re drinking and post them here for proper sommeliers to ridicule. Follow them on Delectable: @richardmartin1, @chrisshott.
RM: OK, where should we start? How about, have you bought your Thanksgiving wine yet?
CS: I have not! But I have been furiously taste-testing. And I’m rapidly approaching the final decision. Also: My friend who is an Italian wine merchant is technically in charge of the evening’s supply. So I’m really off the hook.
RM: No, no Italian allowed.
CS: Still! You gotta show up with something, am I right?
RM: Yes, and let’s talk about that. I have seen all these wine experts suggesting one bottle of wine for every two guests, sometimes every three guests, which to me is too low. My rule is one bottle per person, plus a few extra bottles in reserve.
CS: The three-guest rule seems almost Puritan. More is always better. Are you hosting dinner at your place? Or are you hauling all that stuff somewhere else?
RM: I’ll be at my house upstate, and we will definitely be drinking Gamay. Speaking of, what do you think of what we’re drinking? Jean-François Mérieau is one of the most respected young winemakers in the Loire…well, Touraine, to be exact.
CS: I can see why. It is luscious! That’s what I look for in a good red: lusciousness.
RM: Yeah, the thing about Gamay is it has less tannins. So in the wrong hands it can drink like fruit juice. But done right, I find it pretty fucking sublime.
CS: Do you ever venture outside France with your Gamay guzzling?
RM: I haven’t much, and I probably won’t, to be honest.
CS: The other night, I tried one from Serbia. Serbia!
RM: Yeah, i see that on your delectable. WTF? How was it?
CS: It was…not awful. There is a new wine shop in my neighborhood that has introduced me to some wines from outside my usual comfort zones. With mixed results. I tried a sparkler from New Mexico, for instance. Which was horrendous.
RM: What’s the wine shop?
CS: A place called Good Wine.
RM: Why don’t wine shops ever have good names?
CS: Typically, I’m skeptical about any place with “good” in the title. This place advertises itself as “a food lover’s wine shop.”
RM: I used to live near Big Nose, Full Body, which was at least trying.
CS: This place is closer to me than Red, White & Bubbly, and the folks there have turned me on to some great stuff, beyond that sparkler, obviously.
RM: That’s cool, but you can’t sell food at wine shops in NYC, so that food-wine thing is a joke. I was buying a Morgon the other day at this little wine store near me on Henry Street, and the clerk was on the phone, saying that they had secret charcuterie behind the counter. I was all psyched, like I was in on something, but after he hung up, he said he was just clowning with the owner, because they do get asked if they carry sausage and cheese a lot.
CS: There used to be this great wine shop in Washington, D.C., with an excellent meat counter: AM Wine Shoppe, which had the best sandwiches in Adams Morgan.
RM: Liquor laws are so arcane…. If they make the laws any worse I’m moving to France. I usually could survive on Bordeaux, Burgundy and Loire wines alone. Anyway, let’s talk turkey…wine.
RM: Ha, yes. We’ve been drinking a lot.
CS: Nightly. For sure.
RM: Mostly Gamay, Burgundy, Pinot Noir…Serbian stuff. What was the worst/most disappointing?
CS: I had a few bad Pinot Noirs recently: one from California’s Central Coast, one from New York’s Finger Lakes. But the biggest disappointment: one from Oregon’s Willamette Valley! I have enjoyed plenty of Pinots from that region, and it’s usually fail-safe. This one was tragically disappointing. But I suppose I should have known from the label.
RM: Name names, dammit!
CS: I’ll give you a hint: It’s the one that references a hip-hop song from the early ’90s.
RM: Me Myself & Wine? Oof.
CS: Good guess. Another hint. “You down with….?”
RM: Oh, c’mon, we can’t count them in this conversation. O.P.P.: Other People’s Pinot.
CS: That’s the one. The Other People can keep it.
RM: You shouldn’t have been buying that.
CS: Tragic mistake. What can I say? I like to try new things. Maybe I should take your advice and stick to France.
RM: Yeah, I tried some American wine as some of this challenge, to try and find my ideal Thanksgiving wine. Last night, I had a Stoller Family Estate reserve Pinot Noir — I think it was 2013 — and it was perfectly drinkable, but it wasn’t till I paired it with salmon that any character came out.
CS: I had one of those, too: 2013.
RM: I also had a 2012 Raptor Ridge from Chehalem [Oregon] that was a bit more medium-bodied with that trademark pepper note. I liked that.
CS: That’s what I love about good Pinots: the peppery quality.
RM: But then a J Vineyard pinot from Cali’s Central Coast was like a fruit bomb. Robert Parker would love it, I’m sure, but not I. OK, so let’s diverge a bit. Tell me about your side mission, to take artsy photos for Delectable. Why?
CS: Yeah, I try to get a little bit more creative with my snapshots because, well, the simple label images get a little tedious. That’s probably the biggest thing holding Delectable back from being a great social app. Most wine labels, especially the esteemed stuff, are very straightforward and not very good-looking. Maybe there’s a graphic of some family crest or something in there, but it’s just words and numbers. Of course, the New World stuff is getting more creative with its label designs, and those are great on their own.
RM: Like O.P.P.!
CS: Yes, but even that one is just big, bold letters.
RM: Well, I’m down with your mission. I’ll try to liven up my Delectable entries.
CS: I appreciate the support! Delectable is a great tool for keeping track of what you drink, but I think it will be more fun when people start having more fun with the images.
RM: So I’m gonna tell you why I’m going with Gamay for Thanksgiving.
CS: Let’s hear it!
RM: I tried a few notable producers, and I’m really impressed, especially because I’ve only dabbled before. I started with an Yvon Métras Moulin-à-Vent amay, which was fruity but still had a bit of earthiness to it. I usually prefer the depth of Burgundy, but this was one of those Gamays that’s making me take note, and it led me to a bit of research. I consulted the new, revised second edition of Karen MacNeil’s The Wine Bible, where she wrote, “Beaujolais is fruit and joy; Burgundy is earth and solemnity.” I figure, for a family/friends holiday, it’s best to keep it festive
CS: Sounds about right to me. Maybe once the family has left, you can return to your solemn Burgundy.
RM: Another Gamay I tried, which made it into MacNeil’s book and Isabelle Legeron’s Natural Wine, is Julien Sunier’s Régnié, which lives up to the hype. It’s not as playful as the Métras, and from what I’ve read, the ’14 isn’t the most dynamic vintage, but I really enjoyed it.
CS: If it’s “natural,” then you know the millennials in the clan will love it.
RM: Oh man, you had to mention the M word.
CS: Can we get that into the headline somewhere?
RM: That’s the whole point of being wine dads — no millennials were consulted. Leave that to The Wall Street Journal.
CS: You totally just beat me to the WSJ joke.
RM: OK, so my glass is almost empty, and I have to pick up my son from daycare soon. What are you going to bring to Thanksgiving dinner? Anything from our experiment?
CS: I’m going to go a little Gamay-ish myself. But this one is from the New World: valdiguié , which used to be called Napa Gamay. This one is from Broc Cellars in California, plump fruit and eternally drinkable, the sort of bottle that runs dry way too soon. Also: cool fucking label.
RM: I’ll have to scan your Delectable account for it. I’m going with another Gamay, if I can find it, a Cote de Brouilly from Chateau Tivin. It’s exactly what I want in a Beaujolais. While the Beaujolais Nouveau we’re used to from the marketing campaign is juicy and thin, this is a wine that makes you believe in terroir, and I think it’ll be perfect for turkey — which I’m making, despite all the people talking about turkey alternatives this year.
CS: Keeping it classic. I like it!
RM: Damn, now that we’re done with this Thanksgiving experiment, what’re you gonna drink tonight?
CS: Rosé, maybe? I know it’s November, but for some reason the missus still craves it — probably a Pinot Noir rosé, though, so we’re not straying too far off topic. How bout you?
RM: Bootleg Chinese Bordeaux.
CS: Let’s hope it’s not FAKE.
RM: That’s the whole point. Honestly, though, I’m gonna keep riding the Gamay wave till I get sick of it.
CS: Also: great name for a rock band.
RM: Plus, I’m having squash tonight. And yeah, I’d name my band Bootleg Chinese Bordeaux.
CS: Let me know if you need a kazoo player.
RM: Will do.