Situated in what could be a strip-mall, Vintage Irving is a wine bar with a suburban chain feel. With high ceilings and newly constructed brick walls, generic blinds on the windows, and common tall tables and stools, Vintage Irving could be anywhere on the map. However, if one were to dismiss the sense of ambiance, and focused solely on the menu, she wouldn’t have a terrible time. Offering a small but rotating selection of wines by the glass, thirty-two additional bottles, and a hearty list of brews, ales, and stouts, the menu here (along with the generous tastings offered, if asked) is what could make a stop here worth your time.
When I arrived, Ellen was drinking a glass of Nigl Gruner Veltliner, Kremser Freiheit, 2007 (Kremstal, Austria) ($15/gl.– $52/btl). Floral and full of fruit and honey, the Gruner Veltliner displays minerality, mango, and green apple, and so I ordered a glass. Upon arrival, the wine was so cold it nearly shattered my teeth, so it sat on the table for some time, warming, before I could bear it at my lips.
Caitlin sampled the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, (Marlboro, New Zealand), which is vibrant with stone fruit, herbs, and citrus; delicious, but too much summer in a glass, when it’s dark at 5 o’clock.
Next on the list–Casa de la Ermita “Crianza”, 2004 ($12/$42). Displaying blackberry, cherry, and wet earth, this Crianza is a spicy warm wine with bright acidity and pleasant tannins, made from a blend that includes Tempranillo and Monastrell (Mourvedre), from Jumilla, Spain.
That said, I think that Vintage Irving (aside from the small plates) is an ale house dressed in the skin of a grape. Their selection of six tap beers (though three were out) and 34 bottles of craft brews include a pairing guide that categorizes beers by flavors: nutty, fruity, roasted, and crisp. Perhaps this is the solution (Chimay, Blue Point, Rogue Dead Guy, Flying Dog Gonzo, and Dogfish Head)…sometimes beer and wine just don’t mix.
[Where: Vintage Irving, 118th E. 15th, New York, NY 10003]