Last night several of my friends and I went to dinner at SD26 in New York for my "official" birthday dinner. I had picked this place because it not only came highly recommended but because they also had a handheld wine list with supposedly almost 1,000 labels on it.
They definitely came through on the food and the service (the human service, that is - the air conditioning situation could have used a little help). However, I was disappointed by the wine list. For starters, I went through almost every varietal and I do not see how they could have close to 1,000 labels on the list. Secondly, their price points tended to the expensive and very expensive and they didn't offer enough in the value or mid price ranges. Moreover, for an Italian restaurant to only have one Prosecco option?!? Seriously. And though this is an Italian restaurant, they could have done a lot more with their French and American offerings - especially if they're offering 1,000 labels.
Despite the list letdown, I worked with the sommelier to put together a nice selection for the table and as far as I could tell, every wine delivered. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the names of the Prosecco, Rose, Primitivo or Moscato D'Asti. However, we had another red, Colle Picchioni, that I made note of because it is an Italian wine made in the Bordeaux style (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah). It had a nose and palate of earth and black fruit, but it had a light body and went down very easy at our 75+ degree table! Our bottle was a 2007, not the 2002 label pictured above, but if you can find any year of this, I recommend it.
After dinner, a few of us made our way to 11 Madison Park restaurant around the corner for one final bottle of wine. The moment I opened their wine list, a part of me wished I had chosen them for my birthday dinner. I'm pretty sure their sommelier was tapping into my subconscious when she designed the list. Moreover, when she came by to help me decide between two Chenin Blancs (my wine of the moment), she listened to me and then directed me to a great choice that wasn't on the list but was within my price range. That is the definition of a good sommelier. We had the Joguet Clos de la Plante 2007. It was excellent - light golden color with notes of honey and pear. For those who find whites too citrus-y or chalky or minerally, step away from the Sauvignon Blanc and step up to Chenin Blanc and Muscadet from the Eastern Region of the Loire.
Thanks to Wendy G., Kelly, Laura, Joshua, Liz, Nick and the Girls of the 'Boken, for coming out and celebrating with me. It was a memorable night - sweat and all.
Until the next sniff, sip or quaff,