Last night, still a little fuzzy from Thursday’s vertical tasting of Gundlach Bundschu with Snooth, I met Caitlin at Sorella, an Italian wine bar on Allen Street, just south of Delancey. With a ceiling comprised of what looks like wine barrel slats, Sorella is a narrow spot with dim lights, a trickling crowd, and a mix that included The Raconteurs for music. Behind a dark wood, bottle rack facade stands a nine seat bar of walnut, a second tap bar with four stools, and a larger ten seat table in the back. In the rear sits the dining room, offering a carnivorous selection of eats, which we didn’t touch.
Dying for spring and saturated the night before with reds, I selected a rosé from the menu, Barbera Rosé “Piage” Cascina la Ghersa, 2007, from Piedmont, which at $8 a glass, was the deal of the night. A gorgeous dark pink, like many Tavel rosés, the Piage showed strawberry and raspberry and brilliant acidity; a big mouthful of fruit that though a bit too chilled, went down well on a cold March night.
The other rosé sat unfinished in its glass–Rosa Chiara La Scolca, 2007. Pale pink with strawberry, and a touch of banana, the Rosa Shiara, turned us both off with its tinny finish. (Note to producers: Tinny does not equate minerality.)
Sorella offers five sparkling wines ($11-14), two rosés ($8), nine whites ($9-13), including five from Piedmont, and twelve reds ($10-17) by the glass. On your way to the dining room you’ll find boxes of matches– in smoke-free New York, a long lost art. They also serve a selection of artisanal beers, which made me curious, including Beba Natale and Grado Plato Kukameria on tap ($12 & 14), and bottles of Italian brews, Birrificio del Ducato Verdi and Grado Plato Strada San Felice ($22 & 28).
Still in denial about the dropping temps outside, Caitlin and I ordered two whites, including Muller-Thurgau Kofererhof, 2007, Alto Adige ($13). Muller-Thurgau, a crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale (a table grape) that was developed in Germany in 1882, dominates and flourishes in northern Italy’s Alto Adige. The Kofererhof has an intense bouquet, ripe with grapefruit, cat’s pee, and minerality. Finishing bright with passionfruit, the flavors remain intact as the intensity fades, lingering on the palate long after the wine is gone.
Not so rewarding is Gavi Masera 2007 ($11). Made from the Cortese grape that grows in Gavi, a DOCG zone in Piedmont. With citrus and apple aromas, this Gavi possesses some minerality, but not enough to make it interesting or complex. Finishing flat, with notes of sweet spice (cinnamon) initially detected by Caitlin, the cinnamon added not flavor but a drying effect.
While Sorella isn’t necessarily a destination bar, it’s a pleasant reprieve from the chaos on the Lower East Side’s Allen Street.
[Where: Sorella, 95 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002]