Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Naughty Weekend in NYC

Out of the Pride Parade panoply and into the fire. Following our adventures in Pride last weekend, Boo and I were looking to keep the groove flowing - and where else to give it the old college try than in the Big Apple!

I'm set to make my way to the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference that's being held next week in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Boo decided not to join me at the conference but I was able to talk him into a naughty weekend in Manhattan beforehand.

We arrived at our hotel late Friday night and were pleasantly surprised with the fact that we were staying a stone's throw from the Empire State Building. Not that Manhattan is ever without a view at hand, but catching one of the iconic shots from your front door and your room window is a bonus.

Desperately eeding a bite to eat, our concierge directed us to Lupolo, a new hot spot that just happened to be on the same block. He advised that there's normally up to a two hour wait to get a seat but we might luck out seeing as how it was already 10 p.m. and our hotel had an "arrangement" for priority seating for its guests when possible. Despite the hour, the restaurant was full. After a surprisingly brief wait, we took two seats at the bar.

The name - Lupolo - apparently means "hops" in Portuguese and this was a take on the beer-centric tavernas in Portugal called "cervejarias." In New York terms, we'd found an upscale brewpub. Thing is, we didn't know that at the time. We'd been told that the proprietor had a more elegant, Michelin-starred restaurant in town and this was all about Portuguese tapas. In retrospect, that probably explains the limited wine list.

No matter, we took the bartender at his word that he had a Rosé that paired perfectly with everything on the menu.

1967.  2014 Herdade Rocim Mariana Rosé (Vinho Regional Alentejano - Portugal)

Turned out he was correct.

Herdade Rocim is an example of a new breed of Portuguese wineries, particularly in the southern part of the country, that are adopting a more modern take on winemaking - including cropping yields, production standards and updated equipment in the winery and a goal to execute a more restrained and elegant wine (as compared to many of the rustic and simple table wines that Portugal was more associated with in the past).

The winery was only established in 2000 - a mere pup by Portuguese wine measures. Their Rosé is a blend of Touriga Nacional (60%) and Aragonez (40%) (a regional name for Tinta Roriz) that was medium-bodied and fully dry with, perhaps surprisingly, a nice streak of acidity.

As suggested, the wine went far too nicely with our range of tapas - from shrimp turnovers and octopus rice to açorda (bread porridge) and duck hearts. The last plate was a special that night and it was a real hit with Boo and I. Composed of duck hearts that were grilled with pickled mango and jalapeños, we thought this would be a prime dish to try and recreate for our Dinner Club. We just wouldn't be able to tell Lady Di or She Who Must be obeyed that the protein was duck heart.

Being tired from the day's travel, we didn't stick around for a second bottle or any of the multiple offerings on tap. Nor did we play bright-eyed tourist and hit the town. Kinda sad, in hindsight, for a Friday night of a "naughty weekend," but it felt like a pretty good start for a couple of old guys like us.

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