Written by Melissa Wise
One of the many great things about this town is the plethora of BYOB dining options. However, with that comes a challenge. How do you pick the right wine for the right meal? Do you just say, "I'll get my old faithful Pinot Grigio and it WILL pair with what I feel in the mood for?" or do you think it through like you would if you were ordering off of a wine list?
In my past life, I worked as the Event Director for a restaurant group and focused on a fine dining Michelin-starred restaurant with an acclaimed wine list. I became good friends with one of the sommeliers there who happens to be a Hoboken resident too (and super talented Private Chef!). She and I came up with the concept to have Wine Wednesdays. Each week, she will select wines from a local liquor store, educate us all on them, and pair them with a particular restaurant's menu items. Great idea, right? This way, you have your date night, girl's night, dinner with your mom, whatever....all planned out and made simple for you!
We all are so busy with work, kids, the house, life....let someone make SOMETHING easy for us!
The bonus is that the restaurants will offer a deal, so when you go pick up Deanna's recommendations for the wines, go to the selected restaurant that week, and mention Little Hoboken to your server, you get a perk!
This week, Deanna headed over to Sparrow Wine on Washington Street and chose three fantastic selections.
2010 Oddero, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy $39.99
This wine hits all of the marks of a great Barolo. You will enjoy the aromas of dried cherries and rose petals on the nose and find a spicy pluminess along with tar, dust, and worn leather on the palate. The 2010 is not showing as muscular as other vintages, thus aging in your cellar is not necessary. It is at its peak in drinkability. This bottle embodies the purity of the fruit and focuses on a more subtle power coming from its rich texture. A full-bodied wine, all of its nuances are complimented by the present yet velvety tannins which are beautifully integrated due to aging in larger format oak barrels.
Although this wine can be enjoyed virtually anywhere, this bottle deserves to be uncorked by one of the warm and professional members of the service team at Anthony David’s.
Start with a selection of their antipasto: Roasted Fennel, Olives, Taleggio, Cacio Pecorino, and Wild Boar Sausage.
Explore a few of their pasta dishes: Truffle Risotto, Veal Meatballs, and Wild Boar Ragu.
In the spirit of baseball season and all things Hoboken, hit a homerun with the House Lamb Sausage entrée.
2011 Produttori Del Barbaresco, Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy $32.99
The Produttori del Barbaresco is characterized by its ripe cherry, fresh strawberry, and elegant floral notes. Graceful and classy are the adjectives that beg to describe this bottle. It is bright, structured, and very approachable.
Sample a couple of appetizers: Burrata Salad and Charred Octopus.
Split a plate of the Linguine and Pancetta.
Share the Rohan Duck Breast as an entrée.
Fresh, fruity, floral, and frizzante, how’s that for alliteration? Let’s go crazy and add fun to describe this next one.
2014 Marerco, Pineto, Brachetto d’Acqui, Piedmont, Italy $21.99
This bottle is packed with aromas of black cherries, black raspberries, violets, and orchids. It is rich with layers of flavor, off dry, and slightly sparkling. What’s better? This wine is low in alcohol (just over 5%), so perfect for a date night during the week, or a ladies night out.
If you needed an excuse to order the Warm Donuts, here it is. Any of the chocolate or berry desserts would be an outstanding and very classic combination.
Speaking of the amazing warm donuts, they have generously offered a complimentary order for your table when you mention Little Hoboken's article to your server upon sitting from today through next Tuesday (April 12)!
Since we'll be hearing from Deanna each week, I thought it best to get to know her a little better.
How did you come to be interested in pursuing a career in wine?
My interest in wine started when I was about 6 years old. My grandpa, uncle, and dad would buy grapes and make wine in Berkley Heights. They actually won a few "golden corks" one year when they entered it in an Italian-American wine competition. I can't remember if it even tasted good, but it was something that got the family together and laughing. From stomping on the grapes as children, to raiding the cellar and overindulging with my cousins during our college years; we continue to keep the tradition alive with the 2015 vintage we are currently bottling.
I started seriously pursuing a career in wine when I was in culinary school. We had a wine tasting class and I was hooked. I enrolled in the sommelier program as soon as I graduated, passed my intro and certified exams through the Court of Masters, and have been working at restaurants in NYC ever since.
What services do you provide as a wine consultant?
I am available to do at home tastings, wine cellar consulting, or pairings for a dinner party. Inquiries can be made by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are some of your favorite wines?
That's like asking a mother, "Which is your favorite child?" I am truly all over the board. I can find something to appreciate with any grape. I love Champagne and sparkling wine, I love higher acid white wines like Rieslings or Gruner Veltliners, and Italian reds across the board.
Where do you love going out for wine in Hoboken?
Bin 14 is the obvious choice. The selection there is awesome and the staff is so helpful. A guilty pleasure is Wednesday Night Trivia at Mikie Squaded where they do half-priced bottles. Truthfully, I don't go out for wine all that often. We have so many awesome retail shops in town and even more BYOB restaurants.
Where is your dream vacation for food and wine?
I would have to pick the Champagne region of France. I think there is no wine more versatile and special than Champagne. I want to shake the hands of the makers of a wine that is acceptable to drink with breakfast.
I recently came back from Italy where I backpacked along the coast of Liguria and a bit of Tuscany. I drank a ton of local wine and it was delicious! I even went to Parma one day for a plate of charcuterie and Lambrusco; one of the best food days of my life. That was a dream vacation come true.
What do you love about Hoboken?
I think the better question would be, "what don't I love?" That can be answered easily; finding parking.
I love the sense of community here. I love that I have family members less than a 5 minute walk away. I love going to Aspen Market and allowing myself an extra 5 minutes to catch up with the cheese man, Yousef. I love how when the ladies at Empire say "Have a good day, Sweetie" you know they mean it. I love that in a city with dozens of bars I can say "let's meet at THE bar" and my friend will already be at Louise and Jerry's chatting with the bartender, Brian. I also love when Hoboken starts to feel a little bit too small, there's a bigger playground right next door.
Deanna moved to Hoboken in 2013 to pursue a career in food and wine. She has worked at 5 star and Michelin starred properties in New York City as a sommelier. Moonlighting as a private chef in town, she is excited to bring her passion for wine to the Mile Square City.