Wine Enthusiasts Celebrate
The Editors of Wine Enthusiast magazine spend a year eating and drinking their way around the country, discovering dining spots that demonstrate the fact that there is an important link between fine dining and good wine. They are not ranking the wines, they are not evaluating and comparing prices and determining if the cuisine reaches the level of gourmet, they are strictly on the lookout for restaurants that offer a good selection of food, wine, service and atmosphere – and make the opportunity available to the public.
On a recent very hot/sultry New York evening, the Lafayette Restaurant was closed for a Wine Enthusiast magazine private party, celebrating what the editors have determined to be the 100 Best Wine Restaurants 2019.
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Hundreds of Wine Enthusiast readers, advertisers, reporters, chefs, restaurant owners/managers, purveyors of wines/food, and others who like a good party, were jammed, cheek-to-jowl, in the very hot/humid and cramped space of the Lafayette Restaurant, to sample the wines and cuisine of the award-winning restaurants.
Unfortunately, the space did not have air conditioning that could stand up to the number of people attending the event, so it was impossible to actually get beyond tasting one Prosecco and one wine from Australia. Before the hordes arrived, I was able to capture a few photos of the bountiful buffet tables. It is a good thing that I clicked through my iPhone camera quickly…if I had taken an extra second or two – the food would have been snatched away by people who must have starved themselves all month in anticipation of the party.
Lafayette: A First-Time Recipient of the Top 100 honor
The Lafayette French restaurant is located in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood (a short walk away from the NYU campus). Although the dining spot is open from breakfast through dinner and offers a bakery with artisanal breads, croissants and coffees, and has received good reviews, it was impossible to take-away anything other than the party planners did not test the adequacy of the air conditioning and the pathways for getting from one wine/food station to the next. (Where are good systems engineers when you need them?)
Award winners included: Cote Korean Steakhouse (New York, NY), The Usual (New York, NY), Gotham Bar & Grill (New York, NY), and Niche Niche (New York, NY), Coa (San Juan, PR), Seven Glaciers) Girdwood, AK), Ario (Marco Island, FL), Caet Seafood Oysterette (Jackson, MS), The Bachelor Farmer (Minneapolis, MN), and Adega (San Jose, CA).
Guests the opportunity to taste 11 wines; however, I was able to reach only 2:
- 1. Danzante NV Prosecco Treviso . 100 Percent Prosecco-Glera. (Average price: $16.00) Ownership: Marchese de Frescobaldi.
Translucent with hints of sunlight, this extra-dry Prosecco delivers fine and persistent perlage with a fresh and fruity bouquet. I am sure that when it is perfectly chilled it is an excellent aperitif and pairs will with poached salmon and cold shrimp. Unfortunately, at the party, the wine was left on the countertop (see photo) and quickly acquired the heat of the room, leaving the Prosecco to fend for itself. It made me very sad.
- 2. Rapaura Springs. Sauvignon Blanc. Appellation: Marlborough; New Zealand (Average price: $13.00)
I really liked this wine…a lot! Here it is, days later, and I am still thinking about it. I continue to enjoy the pink grapefruit aroma, and the energetic herbs and citrus notes. Layers of surprising, refreshing and aggressive grapefruit and other tropical fruit notes make this wine not only delicious – but intriguing. Crisp acidity leads to a long and enjoyable finish.
Awards: Decanter World Wine Awards – Silver (2017), International Wine Challenge- Silver (2017), Air New Zealand Wine Award – Bronze (2016), International Wine Challenge – Bronze (2016) and Decanter World Wine Awards -Silver (2016). In 2015 the wine took top honor – recognized at the London International Wine & Spirits Competition as the Best Sauvignon Producer and NZ Winemaker of the Year.
Pair with Goats’ Cheese and Feta, Caesar Salad or grilled fish.
The Vast Array of Dining Options
What Will Happen in 2020
Looking forward to seeing what the Wine Enthusiast editors discover during the coming year. Perhaps the party should be extended – becoming a weekend event and celebration.
© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.