Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the Glass: 2007 Riesling trocken from Wuertz Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan



Pictures: Manhattan at Night and Wine Maker Dirk Wuertz


One of the hot wine bars in Manhattan is currently Ten Bells, 247 Broome Street (Ludlow Street), (212) 228-4450, on the Lower East Side. The Ten Bells was opened in 2008 by three Frenchmen as an organic, sustainable restaurant wine bar. But when I was there it did not really feel like a French Wine Bistro, as I know them from my days in Paris, it felt more like a British Pub. There are no tables to sit down for a full dinner, only bar tables. You can sit there or stand at the bar. Many people stood. It is a very intimate place. It was crowded when I was there and noisy. The wines are excellent. Ten Bells focuses on off-the beaten track wines from Europe, in particular from France. They also have a couple of wines for people with a big wallet, like Corton-Charlemagne and Charmes-Chambertin. The food is largely Tapas along with a good ham selection, excellent American cheese and oysters. The wine list and the food menu are written on two blackboards hanging on the wall.

This place is run by three Frenchmen who know what they are doing. I adore the French. They have it in the Jeans when it comes to what is good food and wine and what is bad food and wine. I have only been there once, but I could immendiatley sense that this is a place that serves great food and wine in the best French Bistro tradition.

I had a 2007 Riesling dry, Rheinhessen,Germany, Wuertz with Fisher Island Oysters

Dirk Würtz is an enigmatic young wine producer from Rheinhessen in Germany. In my posting of October 25, 2009 I wrote about the Rheinhessen region. Rheinhessen is the largest viticultural region in Germany. Every fourth bottle of German wine comes from Rheinhessen and many of these bottles are just or below average wines. At the same time, Rheinhessen is at this time among Germany’s most interesting wine regions. A lot is happening there. This is not because of the terroir, but because of the people. There is an increasing group of young, ambitious and dynamic winemakers who want to produce and indeed do produce outstanding wine and not wines in large quantities. Dirk Wuerts is one of them.

Dirk Wuertz is focused on quality wine and sustainable agriculture. All the vineyards are farmed naturally and his yields are significantly lower than many of his neighbors. The wine making philosophy is one of minimal intervention by means of fermentation with natural yeasts and limited pumping, fining, or filtration.

The wine was served in a bottle with a “Buegel-type” seal, like the beer bottles used to be in Germany. It was shipped over in a bag-in box. While this technology has been around for years, it is gaining more and more acceptance as consumers increasingly realize how economical and environmental friendly the box is.

The Fishers Island Oyster Farm is a marine-based family farm operating from Fishers Island, New York State, a small island located just off the coasts of eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island. We passed by Fishers Island a few days ago, when we took the ferry boat from New London to Orient Point on Long Island. It is kind of an extension of the North Fork of Long Island.

The Oysters and the Wuertz Riesling were a perfect fit. The wine was light-yellow in the glass, wet stone and floral notes with lemon-lime citrus on the nose, attack of green apple on the palate, very fresh and spritzy, with lasting finish. The oysters, with lemon juice, were fresh, firm and deliciously salty in the seawater, with a hint of soem sweetness.

I know Dirk Wuertz from the wine blogger scene, where he is very active and was happy to detect his wine in New York City. The Blog of the Ten Bells is here. It contains nice stories and pictures.

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