Willkommen nach Spuyten Duyvil, the best beer bar ever.
The decor is genius. Confusing to some, but not to me… a vintage meat slicer here, a classroom diagram of a fetus there, chalkboards everywhere, and maybe a Jesus statue. Add a good list of Flemish beer, cottage-style wainscoting, a 50’s era hardware store, and glossy red paint, and you’ve got it.
Since we were hanging in the ruler of all beer bars, I do the natural thing—order wine. A bottle amongst friends was in order (compliments of my dear friend Matt). I was given the task of picking any wine on the menu. Nothing was ordinary or ho-hum—in fact it was a perfectly ordered, hugely diverse, but concise list that was begging to be ripped into. One wine jumped from the page: a Sangiovese. Washington State. Tamarack Cellars.
This was a wine I knew nothing about, but I am naturally inclined to American producers and drawn and eager, to say the least, to those producers of the Pacific northwest, namely Washington and Oregon. Add an Italian varietal into the mix—Sangiovese in this case—and I’m unpersuadable.
Just 176 cases were produced in 2007—seemingly too few to travel all the way to Brooklyn. I actually felt like I was a part of something fleeting, something that will soon no longer be when I drank this wine. The beauty of small production.
There was no note-taking this night. Actually, it was a miracle I got usable photos—but that’s what happens when lifelong friends reunite after far too long. The winemaker’s notes suffice—I vouch for the blueberries and floral notes.
Mouthwatering aromas of dazzling raspberry with hints of spring lilacs, lead to a concentration of orange zest brightness, juicy blueberry puree, and silky tannins for an extensive finish.
The arrival of hot conditions in late spring and early summer was offset by cooler temperatures closer to maturity which helped maintain high natural acidity levels that balanced flavors and allowed for extended hang times.
Much more from Tamarack Cellars and Washington State is to come. Soon is will be realized that the Walla Walla Valley is the new Napa Valley for the cool, slightly indy, kids—movies will be made, weddings will be booked, and the tourists will swarm like cicadas. Drink up while the buzz is still contained.
(about $25 retail, $55+ restaurant)