As a wine drinker, one of my favorite things to do in New York is enjoy a glass (or two, or sometimes even three) of red, white or sparkling at one of the many wine bars the city has to offer. There’s something about the combination of a cozy setting and the taste of wine that just. Makes. Me. Happy.
Seriously, it really doesn’t take much more than that.
With that said, every once in a while I like to kick it up a notch, and when that is the case I usually head somewhere where I can order a tasting flight instead of just glasses. Besides being a fun way to explore new wines I might not otherwise try, it always makes the occasion feel a little more special. And, really, what’s not to love about that.
If you know where to look, you’ll find that there are a surprisingly large number of wine bars in the city that offer tasting flights. In this month’s edition of Used Cork City, I share my favorites.
I’ve referenced Amelie a couple times already on Used York City, so it’s probably not surprising that they are my top recommendation here. What can I say? I love this place, and they do Do-Your-Own (DYO) wine tastings better than anyone else, in my opinion. As I’ve mentioned in previous write-ups, you can create a three-wine flight from any of the wines on the (very extensive) menu—and the pours are extremely generous. On top of that, you can get them at reduced price during happy hour. Throw in a cozy, chic atmosphere and you’ve got all of the ingredients for a lovely evening.
Amelie is located at 22 West 8th Street in the West Village (between MacDougal and 5th Avenue).
Pierre Loti is a French-Mediterranean wine bar with three locations in Manhattan, and like many French wine bars has a cozy, quaint atmosphere that I absolutely love. The food here is mostly small plates—dips, bruschetta, and a huge selection of cheeses. But again, for me the big draw of Pierre Loti is the tasting flights. Like Amelie, you can build your own here, from any of the more than 30 wines available by the glass. The options include terroirs all over the world, from Europe to Australia to South America. Perhaps the best part of the wine tastings here though is that you can pair them with a chocolate tasting. Yes, Pierre Loti offers a lovely selection of Jacques Torres bonbons that you can pick and choose to best bring out the flavors in your wines.
Pierre Loti has locations in Union Square (53 Irving Place), Midtown (300 East 52nd Street) and Chelsea (258 West 15th Street).
Uva is my go-to place for sparkling wine flights. While they are pre-set—meaning, you can’t pick and choose the wines—it doesn’t take anything away from the tasting experience. And the palette—oh the palette—it may be one of the prettiest color combinations I’ve ever seen. In fact, when my sister was planning her wedding I tried to convince her that the Uva sparkling flight was the perfect palette for her bridesmaid dresses. If you’re looking to maximize your tasting experience here, I recommend grabbing a table out front and ordering a cheese plate along with your flight—ideally right as the sun is setting. Uva is also a wonderful Italian restaurant though, so you can just as easily do your tasting over a warm bowl of Gnocchi di Ricotta.
Uva is located at 1486 2nd Avenue on the Upper East Side (between 77th and 78th Street)
Full disclosure, I haven’t yet done a wine tasting at Ardesia. But it’s been on my to-do list for years, and they offer a really unique experience, so I’d be remiss not to include them here. Essentially, every Saturday afternoon from 2-5 pm they have what is called a “Wine Social,” where they open 5 wines and you can do a tasting of all of them for $30. The wines are a mix of menu favorites and some off-the-list options, and from what I can gather from the website they work some sort of theme into the event as well. I have friends who have done this and raved about it, and for obvious reasons I believe them. I can also vouch for Ardesia as an establishment, as I’ve been there a number of times for regular old happy hour. It’s got a modern vibe that’s a nice change of pace from some of the other places on this list.
Ardesia is located at 510 West 52nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.
Thirsty for more?
Still looking for more suggestions? Try Corkbuzz at 13 East 13th Street in Union Square (because they have a flight named “Everybody Must Get Rhoned”), Cornelia Street Café at 29 Cornelia Street in the West Village (because you’d never think to look there—or at least, I wouldn’t), or Blue Ribbon Downing Street at 34 Downing Street (because you can do a mezcal tasting flight while you’re there and kill two birds with one stone).
By: Reagan Daly
p.s. in case you missed it, an interview we did with Corkbuzz’s Master Sommelier!