Lenn Thompson, Executive Editor: Schloss Gobelsburg 2013 Gobelsburger Gruner Veltliner, Kamptal
I’ll write more about this soon, but I’ve been lucky enough over the past month or so to become the wine buyer for a soon-to-open restaurant here on Long Island. It’s going to be a gastropub with a focus on beer, so the wine list isn’t front and center, but the chef and owners have tasked me with creating a fairly small wine list that will appeal to a wide audience but also push them out of their comfort zones a bit too.

And of course my target is for the list to be at least half local wine, which we’ve been able to accomplish, I think.

Gruner veltliner isn’t pushing any boundaries if you read this site. It’s been hot with sommeliers and other taste-makers for years. It’s actually probably less cool now than it was just a few years ago. And I rarely drink them, honestly. Most of the cheap ones that I can find at my local shops are boring and I’d much rather drink riesling or gewurz.

Not this one though, a wine that I was first introduced to when friend-of-NYCR Mark Grimaldi was working as a rep for Skurnik, who distributes it. He’s poured it for me a few times (past vintages) and when I was able to get my hands on the current vintage, I knew we had to put it on the list. It’s affordable, but also more complex and lengthy than most entry-level gruner. Plus it has that savory white pepper edge and juicy, nervy acidity that I know will sing with chef’s menu.

Fact is, I’ll probably drink more beer than wine at this place — but I’m also going to make sure that there is plenty of wine that I’ll dig.

Katie Pizzuto, Art Director: Riunite Lambrusco NV
I was invited this past weekend to write about the Big Apple BBQ festival, which was host to several pit masters from across the United States. And though they had a few beers on tap for all the amazing barbecue that was served, nothing paired nearly as well as the long-maligned Riunite lambrusco.

Served chilled, it was a far better match for the smoke, the spice and the gluttony than a bloating beer that was either too hoppy or too lacking in personality to complement anything well or poorly. For those that can manage to check their pretentiousness at the I.D. tent, Riunite created a match made in hog heaven.

Todd Trzaskos, Contributing Editor: Catena 2008 Malbec Mendoza
A cellar rearrangement has surfaced some bottles that were tucked away for safe keeping, but might have been at risk of neglect that would lead to the passing of prime. There should have been no fear, this pedigree has the stuff of aging. Deep plum, fennel, rich and reduced red berries, with a long fruit tannin finish that shines like an encapsulation of high altitude sun.

Has real density yet remains fluid and light giving up a gentle warmth that continues to bloom into fruit. 

Catena is benchmark Argentinian Malbec, plain and simple. They had a major hand in putting it on the world map, and they continue to represent with delicious authority, even at their handshake tier wine.

Paired to a local, grass fed, dry herb rubbed, top round steak off the grill, green salad with guacamole…on a day that felt like the front gate of summer. Beautiful glass. I’ve a 2007 that I’ll hold a little longer, but this was a reminder to keep seeking and stocking new vintages. You can line a fine cellar for years with these.