Following a blissful class with Eddie at Jivamukti, Caitlin and I walked and talked east to 6th Street, between B and C. Grape & Grain. Open for five years, with four next door at Against the Grain, where craft beers are served, Grape & Grain was new to us both and we were utterly delighted. The wine list not long, but engaging. The bartender, our gracious host, offered tastes before he poured, and within a few hours, at 8 or 9 or 10, he was one-manning a room near-full of guests, whose voices were muted by the silver-tin ceilings and red brick walls.
Soft yellow, and chandelier lights. The Pretenders. The Clash. A few oldies and Prince. A cozy place by the window with flowers and candlelight. There are 11 whites on the menu, and 12 reds. By the quarto or bottle. And unlike the many “wine bars” that cater to a singular taste, Grape and Grain offers a thoughtful list of wines from a variety of regions–with a range that will satisfy most any palate.
On the back side of the menu is a list of small plates, sandwiches, and pizza–all just as affordable as the wine. And as we watched the crowd ebb and flow we kept wondering–still tickled from our asanas–how it was possible that we’d never been to nor heard of Grape and Grain.
What did we drink?
I started with Jean Vullien Vin de Savoie 2009 (10/27), which offers hot rock minerality and green apple acidity that rises and hovers above a baseline of thin salinity. It was the perfect post-yoga wine, its searing acidity so uplifting and cleansing. As it warmed to the surrounding temps, a floral, pickled ginger essence arrived, a little late.
Next, I sampled Vestini Campagnano Kajanero 2005 from Campania, a blend of Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia. And though I dug it’s perfumed floral, incense notes, it struck me as more of a dead of winter wine by the fire, and not fall, and so I moved on.
We both ended with quartos of Château Beauchêne Côtes du Rhone 2007 (13/36)–which is quite beef bouillon-savory, with chalky minerality on a pillow of cherry. Here too, the acidity soars, but it’s accompanied by a powdery texture, with a bit of black pepper that appears mid-palate. The finish is a perfect marriage of acidity and bitter stone fruit pith. Yum. We will be back.
[Where: Grape and Grain, 620 E. 6th Street, New York, NY 10009]