The first thing one notices upon entering Craftbar, the sister restaurant of Craft, is the row of floor to ceiling wine coolers that line the walkway above the bar. And though the space itself is pretty uninspiring (depending solely upon high ceilings like most restaurant/bars in the Flatiron district, and not much else), the menu of carefully selected wines was enough inspire another trip.
The list of wines available by the bottle is pretty extensive, and includes such categories as “spicier reds” and “fragrant whites.” And though Craftbar is not the place for a cheap date (most pours, though generous, run $12 to $15 a glass), it is a bar worth visiting to check out its selection of interesting wines.
And though interesting doesn’t always mean divine, the bartenders pour a taste for one to sample before filling the glass, which means never being stuck with an unfavorable glass of wine.
Last night, the bartender was particularily kind, offering samples when my friend Farrel and I had questions about a particular vintage, and withholding attitude when we failed to order a glass. (Where have you ever encountered that?!?) Sensing our curiosity, he then opened the last bottle of a wine that Craftbar used to carry (a white so loaded and thick, for a moment, it seemed reminiscent of grain), so that we could taste.
Finally–what did we drink?
My favorite was the Riesling, Gobelsburger, Schloss Gobelsburg, 2007, from Kamptal, a region in Austria famous for its Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Managed by the monks of Zwetti Monastery until 1995, Schloss Gobelsburg is one of the oldest wineries in Austria. This pale straw colored vintage packed a particularly powerful bouquet that kicked and screamed a floral gust of pear and melon fruits. The steely mineral content was slightly effervescent, and though it had to sit for a few minutes to open up, this solidly structured riesling was pure delight!
The Grüner Veltliner, 2004, Lamm, Hirsch, also from Kamptal–a pale wine–was full of minerality on both the nose and mouth. With a touch of lime and spice, the fruit flavors lingered and finished strong.
Lastly, we traveled further west for the Chenin Blanc, Anjou, Cuvée Prestige, Domain Ogereau, 2004, from the Loire Valley–a golden colored wine that was heavy on the honey with what tasted at the time like a high alcohol content.
Our three hours at the bar passed like the flash storm that rained down hard outside.
[Where: 900 Broadway, New York, NY 10003]