By Francois Steichen
Today, the Greenwich Free Press and Frenchy’s Wine Road are excited to announce that we are launching a weekly round-up of happenings at the 24 wine, spirit, and beer specialty retailers that make up the Appellation d’Origine Controlee in French, “AOC Greenwich.” At the risk of contributing to car exhaust, I hope this column will encourage readers to check out more than just their local standby retailer.
Go to it! Listings are in alphabetical order. A few stores were in the midst of seasonal changes, and preferred to be included in later columns. A number of stores did not respond to my request for information, or did not get back to me before deadline, but I hope they will be able to do so in future editions. One store did not want to be included.
Balducci’s – 1050 East Putnam Avenue, Riverside.
Manager Tom O’Brien is a big fan of unusual selections, such as the English sparkler, Ambriel Brut, or the “Italian Champagne,” Franciacorta (his is made by Ca’ del Bosco). Tom is also high on “Club Trésors” Champagnes – Champagnes that are made from the first pressing of grapes by individual growers, not big Champagne houses. His favorites are Pierre Gimmonet and A. Margaine. Last but not least, Tom commends the Prädikat sweet Riesling from Schloss Vollrads, one of the classic producers in the Rheingau region of Germany, at $22.
Cork, Cap & Cellar – 102 Bruce Park Avenue, Greenwich.
Robert Petz has his eye on Valentine’s Day, like most of our store owners, with a red and white from Antiche Terre Amoré Assoluto (the red got 92 points from big-time Wine Critic James Suckling). The Red is $16; the white is $15. CC&C also has about 10 bottles left of the barrel of American Whiskey it bought directly from Barrell Craft Spirits distillery. At $99 for an 18 year old whiskey, that’s a nice value.
Glenville Wine & Spirits – 15 Glenville Street, Glenville.
Go now to get in on the pre-buy of 2019 red and white Burgundies at Glenville! It has been called the finest vintage in Burgundy since 1865! Also, Manager Paul Laveris and Owner Greg Carlon just received a number of Barolos from top producers at great value: Fratelli Alessandria, Cantina del Pino & Silvano Bolmida, but they’re already almost gone. And magnums! Cakebread Cab, Barolos from Brovia and Carema, Silver Oak, and Pinson Chablis.
Horseneck Wine & Spirits – 25 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich.
Horseneck is owned by Greg Rubin, who also owns Vanderbilt Wine Merchants, a wine retailer ten minutes’ walk from the Barclays Center that sells only Natural wines. “Naturally” enough, Horseneck is currently featuring Susucaru Rosato, the blend phenomenon from Sicily; Château Le Puy Bordeaux Supérieur from the great importer, Rosenthal Wine Merchants; De Fermo Winery red, made in the town of Loreto Aprutino in Abruzzo; & Gaspard Pinot Noir, from Touraine, the Loire, France.
Old Greenwich Wine Merchants – 195 Sound Beach Ave., O.G.
OGWM is featuring a couple of nice Spanish wines: Sierra Cantabria Rioja Seleccion, at $12, and El Chaparral Garnacha, from the famous Navarre producer Vega Sindoa, at $17. They are also featuring a big, luscious red called Unshackled, from the maker of The Prisoner, $30. And for beer lovers, OGWM is ever loyal to Connecticut with the hazy and tropical Do-Si-Do from No Worries Brewery in Hamden, $4 per can.
The Study – 1071 North Street, Banksville.
The Study has a great trio in its romance-themed wine of the month selection for February: André Matthieu Châteauneuf-du-Pape, La Ficelle St.-Pourçain Pinot Noir/Gamay blend, and a complement split of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve: $50! They have small selection of Connecticut beer, but the selections are refreshingly atypical: Sono, Fat Orange Cat, Abomination & Marlowe. The Study has also curated a fine collection of Tequilas, their latest being the Dinastia Real Master Premium Extra-Añejo in a bottle with a skeleton holding lillies, and the Chula Paranda Extra-Añejo in the azulejo-style bottle.
Wine Wise – 122 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich.
Owner Steven Millhouse offers customers a brand new wine, the Altos de la Ballena winery’s flagship Reserva blend (85% Tannat & 15% Viognier), at $21. The “Ballena” in the name is the peninsula – said to look like a whale – on which the winery sits. Steve is also a big fan of Marguet Shaman Grand Cru Extra Brut Zero Dosage Champagne, at $56, and an orange wine from Friuli, in northern Italy, called Aransat. Aransat is Friulian dialect for orange; the producer is Borgo Savaian. $19 per bottle.
François Steichen founded and owns Frenchy’s Wine Road, a Connecticut company that writes copy and content for the wine, spirits and cider industries.
He is a resident of Old Greenwich with 15 years’ experience in the Wine Industry. François started at Harry’s Wines in Fairfield; worked at Acker, Merrall and Condit, in New York, the oldest wine store in America; and has managed stores in Greenwich.
François holds the WSET Diploma, the gold standard in wine education. At 10 years of age, François took his first – chaperoned – sip of a sparkling wine. Since that moment, the magic of fermentation and spontaneously-produced bubbles has never truly relinquished its hold on his curiosity.