Speaking with Somms

Posted by Pat Bradley on

This week I ended up spending some time at a couple of places that any self-respecting oenophile would find respectable enough. The first (dual) place was Vin Sur Vingt; as of this month, the West Village wine bar staple now has a second home in NoMad, on Broadway, just north of 26th Street. Monday night I joined owner, Sebastian Auvet for his weekly complimentary wine degustation. In celebration of the opening of the NoMad location, Monday evening's degustation consisted of a 50/50 chardonnay and pinot noir blended (grand cru) champagne. Every guest present received a (generously poured) taste of the wine as sommelier, Alex Paya gave a brief chat and description.


I returned to Vin Sur Vingt (the West Village location) two nights later for some more of the delectable Thiénot champagne I'd enjoyed upon the completion of Monday night's tasting. I was accompanied by my good friend, Katrine, so we decided upon a selection of five "les fromages" and tartine de Bayonne (Bayonne ham served on toast with basil butter and shallots confit). I seem to be on a good kick with boutique champagnes lately because the Thiénot champagne was absolutely delicious with subtle, dark fruits and a firm, juicy palate. Katrine and I agreed that Vin Sur Vingt not only had terrific wines, but also very good food (we were mad about the tartine)! Later, owner Sebastian Auvet accompanied Katrine and I over some wine while he talked about training his new (and old) staff at Vin Sur Vingt to foster a personal relationship with guests, and his hope of bringing back the 'sommelier styles of old' of selling wines with love, rather than focusing on numbers...

Thursday night I ended up at The Quarter on Hudson Street (which recently expanded to add a bar and a private dining room) for some wine and oysters with a fellow colleague. I'd recently discovered The Quarter earlier this year and am pleased to know possibly the only place in the West Village that serves champagne for less than $20 a glass ($16, Lanson black label, to be exact). While Henry and I enjoyed a dozen meaty $1 blue point oysters, we chatted about wine and such with sommelier/co-owner, Hakan Aktas. On our way to The Quarter, Henry had warned me that he wanted to have a good glass of wine (that's not really what he'd said, but I'll leave out the elaborations); I'd assured Henry that The Quarter not only has a sommelier, but one that I know is proud of the wines they carry. While Hakan, Henry and I spoke about soleras, barrels and aging... it became clear that Hakan could not only talk the talk, but that he could also walk the walk. Upon leaving, Henry had mentioned that he often enjoys being able to go to a bar and have an intelligent conversation (about wine) with the bartender; I'm glad that ours was accompanied by good food and good wine as well!
champange sommelier west village

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