Named for the 19th century, world wanderer and writer, Pierre Loti, this New York locale (at 17th Street and Irving Place) offers a rotating selection of wines. Last night, Cathy and I were fortunate enough to experience a menu that offered just what we needed to study for our IWC exam–tasting flights that included four 2-oz. pours for $18–and a healthy selection of Old and New World wines.
Lit like a bordello, Pierre Loti sits a few steps below the street, and could easily be mistook for something old world and underground. With red walls behind the bar, red curtains, and red cushioned banquets, this cozy dim-lit bar offers a world-wide sampling of red and white wines. On this particular night, there were thirteen whites available by the glass ($10-$16), and fifteen reds, all categorized by country, and representating each regions’ premium wines–Australian Shiraz, Argentine Malbac, Bourgogne Blanc from Burgundy, and Carmenere from Chile. And while the descriptions of each were sometimes vague, there’s enough here to choose from, that even the most novice of drinkers won’t be left selecting in the dark.
As we sat at the center table with our eight 2-oz. pours, note cards, maps, and study books, I feared that our waiter would grow to hate us for taking up space and not ordering food, nor full glasses of wine. Instead, as the night wore on (for four hours!) he indulged us, engaged us in conversations about the wines, offered us a sample of something they chose not to sell then explained why, asked our opinions, and served us a complementary cup of mulled wine!
In all that time, what did we drink? A little bit of everything. The Les Champs Clos, Sancerre, 2005, ($16 gl./$62 btl.) was a smash hit with the both of us. From the Loire Valley, this miracle in a glass, made from Sauvignon Blanc, possessed notes of green apple, pear, and green beans with a mineral finish. Its tart acidity is bright and clean on the palate, like an ocean dive on a sweltering night.
Again from Burgundy, the Cave des Hautes-Cotes Beaune, Bourgogne Haute-Cotes de Nuits, 2005, made from pinot noir, has aromas of cherry and almond; its low tannin palate reminiscent of Amaretto, and quite pleasant.
Easy on the palate, the Diseno Malbac, Mendoza, 2006, possessed big-fat-fruit; loads of cherry but not jam, due to the fine balance of its earthy spice.
Leaving with a warm belly full of mulled wine was the perfect way to end our study session as we entered the November night.
[Where: Pierre Loti, 53 Irving Place, New York, NY 10079]