It’s Friday, and we are in search of wine. Specifically, a perfect late summer wine, that accentuates September’s warm golden light and transports us to a field of vines on a hillside somewhere, right now, where clusters of grapes are drinking in that light, that breeze, and that dew, ripening to perfection.
Our hunt today brings us to Vine Wine, Talitha Whidbee’s little shop on the strangely tranquil corner of Lorimer and Skillman in Williamsburg.
So Talitha, what are you liking today?
A wine that I really love right now, for drinking at the end of summer, is a really cool little wine from the Val d’Aoste, a tiny D.O.C. way up in the shadow of Mont Blanc in Italy. The vineyards there are several thousand feet up – it’s one of the highest grape growing regions in the world.
The wine is called the Morgex et de la Salle – the Blanc de Morgex. It’s made from the Prié Blanc grape which is a very rare varietal that’s native to the area. It’s grown there and in Switzerland right across the border. It’s a mountain grape, and it’s grown very close to the ground in fields surrounded by stone walls that protect them from snow and wind, and that reflect the heat they absorb from the sun back onto the vines.
What I love about this wine is that it’s medium bodied with medium acidity, has a really nice floral nose, and little hint of stone fruit. It’s clean and crisp and super-refreshing. It’s a perfect mountain white. You could drink it on a rooftop on warm summer night, but it has enough texture and weight to carry it into fall. When it gets a little colder, it’ll still be delicious.
We carry it in two sizes – the regular sized bottles are perfect right now. The magnums are not quite ready. I think that if you put the magnums away for a few years, they’d develop a really nice kind of apricotty richness. I think it’ll age beautifully.
What do you know about the wine maker?
His name is Ermese Pavese. He started the winery in the late 90s. He makes three wines, and he only uses his own Prie Blanc grapes. His other two wines – one is a Blanc de Morgex aged in oak and the other is a sweeter wine made with grapes that are allowed to overripen on the vine until after the first frost – are each named after his kids. He has a really natural approach to winemaking – really minimal intervention.
Thoughts on pairings?
I think this would go really well with an oily grilled fish, or a really nice salad. It doesn’t have a ton of acidity, but it has enough that it would work really well with greens, tomato, corn…all those things that you want to be eating right now.
Tell us about the shop. When did you open?
We opened just over seven years ago in Long Island City, and moved to this location in April of last year. Everything in the store is small production. It doesn’t have to be biodynamic or natural or organic, but it’s all made by somebody. There’s a real chain of responsibility attached to it. And we try everything and only carry things we think is delicious. All the wine is good, for all different reasons. [laughter.]
And how did you come to open a wine shop?
I had worked in the restaurant and wine industry for years, and after I had my daughter, I realized that my main recreational activity had shifted from going out to bars to drink wine, to going out to wine shops to buy wine to drink at home. [laughter.] I was living in Long Island City at the time, and there wasn’t a wine store that carried the kind of wine I was looking for, so I opened one.
Vine Wine is located at 616 Lorimer Street, at the corner of Skillman, in Williamsburg.
Photography by Morgan Ione Yeager. All rights reserved.