After visiting the opening of “Do Not Abandon Me,” the Louise Bourgeois/Tracey Emin exhibit at the Carolina Nitsch Project Room, I was in the mood to celebrate liberty, color, and change, and so Caitlin and I headed northeast to El Quinto Pino on West 24th Street. And while I regret not arriving hungry–the tapas menu is enticing and apparently the sea urchin panini is divine–I was delighted to find that their list of six wines was enough to pleasure our thirst.
Intimate in width and depth, El Quinto Pino has high tin ceilings met by Spanish tile behind a half-moon ten-seat bar. Just an arm stretch away, leaving little room for standing, a counter lined with stools borders the opposite side of the room. There are antiqued mirrors and menus written in chalk, dim lighting, and a column scribed with a cocktail list.
In addition to sangria, cocktails, and two beers on tap, El Quinto Pino offers Jerez (sherry), and a small selection of wines by the bottle or glass. In a city where “wine bar” can indicate anything, from selections of Yellow Tail to a 300 bottle list, El Quinto Pino achieves the seemingly impossible–a carefully constructed short wine list.
Skipping the two Cava wines on the board, I began with a glass of Botani Moscatel Seco 2008. And while the wine arrived cold enough to hurt my teeth, in a short while it was drinkable and surprisingly delicious. (Don’t let it linger too long in the glass though, as just with time, temperature is of the essence.) Minerally and floral on the nose with aromas of crunchy honeydew fruit, Botani shows fine acidity, and notes of lime pith, musk, and biscuit, that round the edges of the finish.
Caitlin opted for the Vega Sindoa Navarra Rosé 2009, a brilliant dose of fuchsia colored garnacha in the glass. Here, the red fruit is damp on the nose, but in the mouth it explodes before grounding notes of minerality and herb step in for the finish.
After tasting the Ladera Sagrada Castelo do Papa Gordello Valdeorras 2009, we both ordered a glass. Generally not one to smell in color, I couldn’t help but describe the nose as yellow–chalky minerality, and cheese rind, with an underlying citrus note. Silky and slightly powdery in texture, the wine shows peach pit bitterness with a hint of melon that lingers.
Open until 12 during the week and one on weekends, El Quinto Pino is a tapas/wine bar invites one back.
[Where: El Quinto Pino, 401 West 24th Street, New York, NY 10011]