Wine Wisdom: Natural Wine Picks


To producers and wine geeks, natural wine defies precise definition: it can indicate an absence of additives and pesticides; a gentle handling of grapes and soil; or even the ancient methods of the biodynamic approach. But consumers only need to know this: many natural wines exhibit rich and unique character, as well as a strong sense of terroir. If you’re on the hunt for a memorable bottle, there’s a good chance that a naturally produced wine will fit the bill.

To get some recommendations for affordable natural pours, we turned to Jenny Lefcourt of Jenny & François Selections, which specializes in naturally made European wines.

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Domaine Binner Saveurs 2009 (biodynamic/$18)
"This floral and fruity white is light and versatile. Enjoy it with seafood, grilled chicken, and even mildly spicy Asian dishes."

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Beard on Wine: The Belinda Chang Sessions

Belinda Chang One of the members of the rebooted Monkey Bar's team, sommelier Belinda Chang is hosting the inaugural classes in our new wine-focused programming, Beard on Wine, which kicks off on Friday, September 23. Chang's first lesson will cover the differences between Old World and New World wines, and six outstanding bottles will be popped open for tasting. Space is limited, so click here to make a reservation.

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Wine Pick: Pascal Pibaleau La Perlette Sparkling Grolleau NV

Pascal Pibaleau La Perlette Sparkling Grolleau NVIf you aren't familiar with the ancient "rural method" for making sparkling wine, this fizzy, ruby-toned rosé is a marvelous introduction. Its single fermentation was stopped in the tank and then restarted in the actual bottle you're buying, which can lead to some unpredictably funky flavors. Biodynamically produced in the Loire Valley, this wine bears an uncanny resemblance to cherry cola. Drink with roasted fruit or blue cheese.

Drink with:

Maple–Cherry Semifreddo [JBF]

Cherry Clafouti [JBF]... Read more >

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Wine Pick: Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie Corbières Rouge 2008

Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie Corbières Rouge Produced in Languedoc-Roussillon, this blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah is one of the most characterful wines we’ve encountered recently. We were wowed by its intensely briny aroma, as though the roots of the vines tangled with those of the olive trees that also grow on the property. And when we tipped back our glasses for a taste, we immediately wondered which grilled and roasted meat dishes we would pair with its powerfully earthy and savory flavors. This is a very memorable wine at a great value. ($14.99) Drink with: Crispy Lamb Ribs with Sherry–Honey Glaze and Minted Yogurt Sauce [JBF] Grilled Rack of Lamb with Honey–

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Wine Pick: Vidigal Vinho Verde 2010

Vidigal Vinho Verde

Our latest obsession: a light, crisp Vinho Verde from the Minho region of Portugal. With a touch of effervescence and a low alcohol content, this budget-friendly, pale-green wine is summer in a glass. Bring a bottle or two to a friend’s pool party or simply sip before dinner; this eminently refreshing Vinho Verde is perfect for drinking with spicy food, seafood dishes, or on its own. ($8.99)

Drink it with:

Manila Clam and Chorizo Crostini

Chilled Sorrel Soup with Jonah Crab Salad and Jerusalem Artichokes

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On the Wine Trails

On the Wine Trails

With summer in full swing and the harvest around the bend, it's a great time to plan a leisurely (and responsible) drive through wine country. We called up some of the 2011 JBF Award–nominated oenophiles to find out which wine destinations make for a great weekend escape.


“Among off-the-beaten-path wine trails, I like the Fauquier Wine Trail in northern Virginia. Boxwood Winery is a favorite of mine on that trail, particularly its Topiary Red, which I got to try last year after our chef visited.” —Wine director Andy Chabot, Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN (nominated for Outstanding Wine Service)

“The Long Island AVA includes the infamous Hamptons and successfully produces cool-climate reds and whites. We enjoy the crisp whites and Bordeaux-

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