When The New York Times Magazine asked if I'd help out with their food issue, they proposed I write up my idea for the next hot wine region. In addition, would I curate a list of wines under $10?
I knew that the Canaries was a shoe-in for the 'next' region. That was a cinch. But, the wine list? At $10 more than half the list would be packed with supermarket brands, not good for the Times or for me.
So I bargained. 'Give me another two dollars and it's a deal."
As curator, I was charged with surveying wine people the world over for suggestions. Then the last bit was making them dovetaile with generic food and wine pairings. Each food group needed a white and red option.
Then came the red pen.
Due to art department requirements (the realities a writer has to deal with, often pieces are as visually driven as they are content driven) my list had to be cut back to a mere 20. In other words, this had to be a clipable piece and 20 is easier than 25.
Cuts are painful, especially as getting into the Times is a pretty reward for all of the hassel. I bugged people. I was a nudge. There was a lot of going back and forth. Plenty of consultation. No we have too many reds or whites. Yes, we need s sparkling. We need domestic wines! That final request was the bear. Finally I had Christy come up with a Pinot that she loved, $10! I was ecstatic. Then I did the fact checking, the wine was over $20. Heart in hand, I voluntarilly removed the wine. Shame. But California failed us. On the other hand, two lovely wines were unearthed from the Finger Lakes and Oregon. But it wasn't easy.
The list had to be balanced and it had to deliver wines at all weights and purposes.
Trust me: It was difficult to get wines under $12. So, thanks to you to all who spent time working with me. I so appreciate your help, and hope you understand.
Here below are the missing links.
Christy Bergman Owner, The Secret Wine Shop (San Francisco, CA.)
Red: Foursight Wines, Pinot Noir Zero New Oak Charles Vineyard 2008. (California)
“I love it.” Cost: $11 (actually the wine was on closeout, and even then over $20, usually near $40)
Josep Roca Co-owner, wine director El Celler de Can Roca (Girona, Spain)
Las Rocas Garnacha 2008
“Explosive and mineral.”
Matt Reiser Wine Director, Upstairs on the Square (Cambridge, MA)
White: Stefano Massone Gavi Vigneto Masera 2010 (Italy)
“Poor man's burgundy.”
Cost : $11.99
Joe Manekin Iberian and Latin American Wine Buyer
K&L Wine Merchants (San Francisco, CA)
White: Luis Pato Maria Gomes Beiras, 2011 (Portugal)
“Juicy and pretty.”
Joe Alter Co-owner Bottle Shop (Chicago, IL)
Red: Chateau d'Oupia Minervois, 2009 (France )
“Centenarian carignan cheaper by volume than a venti latte.”
Ian Becker Wine Director Arlequin Wine Merchant
Rosé Moulin de Gassac 'Guilhem' Rose Languedoc ( 2010, France)
"Offers all of the pleasure of Southern French Rose -- at a great price."
Star Black, Wine Director, Clyde Common
White: Tintero Grangia Vino Bianco Secco, 2010 (Piemonte)
"Soapstone and white blossom. Excellent on a hot summer day lying on a picnic blanket."