On a school night, on the Upper West Side, Buceo 95 was quiet by ten, except for the twelve seat bar. It had been bustling since half past eight, and on Friday, says Suzanne, it’s hard to find a seat. Tucked away on 95th Street, just off Amsterdam, Bueco 95 opened nearly a year and a half ago, and I wish I’d known about it back then. With a red striped awning, the place screams for summertime seating; and according to counterman JC, who is quite animated and friendly, this, along with live jazz, is an uptown possibility.
With a white marble bar and tables, the interior sports high ceilings and a wall of windows, dark wood and shades of red. Beneath dimmed lights, Buceo 95 seats about 34, in addition to its twelve seat bar. A tapas bar owned by a diving aficionado (bueco means diving) who also owns the Dive Bar, Bueco 95 offers 18 reds and 15 whites, all available by quartino ($12-22), seven sherries, and five ports. And though the focus is on carefully selected Spanish wines, you’ll also find selections from Chile, Piemonte, Touraine, Nahe, and Languedoc.
Suzanne and I started with their special offering of the night– Mas Donis, from Montsant, Spain, which is 85% Garnacha and 15% Syrah; then ordered a bunch of tapas, including the scallops with saffron, champinones, and calamari, each approximately $10 a plate and all delicious. In Catalunya and surrounding Priorat, Montsant DO grows old Garnacha vines on steep slopes. This super affordable wine ($12/33) took us by surprise. Medium ruby in color and showing blueberry, raspberry, and cherry, Mas Donis is a medium bodied wine that is also smokey like a burnt match stick. Smooth in texture it has bright acidity that’s tempered with rustic earth.
Next we moved on to Mallorca for a blend of Mantonegro and Syrah–Anima Negra, 2005 ($17-48). The first thing that struck me on the nose was its essence of manicured barnyard earth. Dusty and smoky with soft cherry and black currant, and a fresh black pepper finish, the Anima Negra is silky soft with fruit that dissipates to make way for earth.
Ending with another Spanish blend–Can Blau 2007, Montsant (Manzuelo, Syrah, and Granacha), we enjoyed its dusty Jolly Rancher cherry bouquet. Displaying violet and earth, the Can Blau has a fruity acidity that serves as the wine’s spine. Savoring its dark fruit finish I finished my glass, took another picture, and said good night.
[Where: buceo 95, 201 W. 95th Street, New York, NY 10025]