What's the last thing you want to do after work? More work.
Dane Campbell, head sommelier at the New Zealander spot The Musket Room, doesn't feel the same way.
Campbell would like nothing more than a glass (or many) after a night uncorking at the Nolita spot, which just earned a Michelin star for the second year running—in its second year open.
So we tapped Campbell, who honed his skills at The NoMad, Gotham Bar & Grill and Saxon + Parole, for his favorite wine bars in the city.
Get to know your New Zealand bottles.
But before you start mapping your varietal adventure, start off on his turf, where he and Auckland-based master sommelier Cameron Douglas built a list comprised of about 70 percent New Zealand bottles, such as the hard-to-find Mountford Estate Pinot Noir 2008 ("an incredible dinosaur of a wine"), with the rest being mostly natural and biodynamic picks.
If the Down Under list has you turned upside down, go sparkling: Order the Palliser whenever it's on the list. It's made in small batches using the Champagne method with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Says Campbell, "The first time we had it, we decided we didn't need Champagne [on the list] anymore."
Now without further ado, the sommelier's favorite spots for every wine-soaked night of the week.
For Rubbing Elbows with Somms: Corkbuzz, Union Square and Chelsea
Master sommelier (and owner) Laura Maniec romanced Union Square with her 2011 opening, and her second location is already winning over Chelsea. "It's become the post-service standard for the captains and somms of Del Posto, Colicchio & Sons, Toro and basically any place within a 10-block radius," says Campbell. A big part of the draw? Champagne Campaign, in which all—yes, all—bottles of Champagne are marked half off from 10 p.m. to close. Should you find yourself there on the right night, you might catch the "Special Club Shower." We have no idea what that means, but Campbell's not spilling the bubbles.
For Blowing It Out with the Best of 'Em: Pearl & Ash, Bowery
Patrick Cappiello's wine list has a reputation separate from the much-lauded menu (which earned Michelin Bib Gourmand bragging rights). But don't get bogged down by the massive wine list, clocking in at 50-plus pages. Skip straight to the Jura section; it's stocked with esoteric wines from the eastern region of France that are big with the wine crowd right now. Better yet, order a magnum (they're extremely well-priced here), like the Terre de Gryphées 2010 ($120), which Campbell stumbled upon during a "casual" game of magnum roulette with fellow somms.
Somellier Patrick Cappiello at Pearl & Ash
For Sipping Solo (and Geeking Out): Terroir, any location
Peruse any list of top New York City wine bars, and Terroir is bound to be on it. But there's good reason. Marco Canora and Paul Grieco's institutions—be it the East Village, Tribeca or Murray Hill locale—take their always-changing menus seriously, delving deep into explanations. "It's a wine list you can sit and really read, really learn from," says Campbell. Do your due diligence, then get the bartender to teach you even more.
For Late-Night Glasses with Friends: Bar Veloce, East Village
Even if you don't have a restaurant job that lets out at 1 a.m., odds are you appreciate a solid late-night option that isn't a sloppy club. Stick to the expansive by-the-glass options of the Italian-only list. When asked for his favorites, Campbell rattled off "Franciacorta, Pigato, Verdicchio, Trebbiano, Carricante, Lambrusco, Lagrein, Teroldego, Nebbiolo, Nerello Mascalese." So you can't go wrong. Just balance it all with affettati (cured meats) and formaggi—also served 'til the bar's 3 a.m. closing.
For Romance: D.O.C. Wine Bar, Williamsburg
Don't expect traditional Tuscans here; owner Claudio Coronas stocks varietals from the Italian islands, so look for Sardinian, Sicilian and Corsican wines. This old-school gem, just off the Bedford Avenue L stop, also lays the charm on thick with wax candles everywhere. "For awhile there, it was my ace-in-the-hole date spot," says Campbell. Go often to join the ranks of regulars who are delivered gratis glasses of Mirto, a Sicilian liqueur, at the end of the night.
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For Something Off the Beaten Path: The Tangled Vine, Upper West Side
Prior to his time as a somm, Campbell helped launch (and sell for) Indie Wineries with pal Christian Troy. His favorite client? The Tangled Vine, for its impressive Old World list with its slant toward biodynamic and natural bottles. Its cozy atmosphere, akin to your favorite aunt's living room, makes it worth the trek from any corner of the city.
For a Big Night In: Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, Midtown East
Campbell credits Sherry-Lehmann's inventory manager, Ken Mudford, for laying the groundwork for New Zealand wines in New York City. So once you're hooked on Kiwi bottles, line your own shelves with one of the best and most expansive collection you can find in the States.
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