Le Cirque Gets on the Wine-Bar BandwagonAs the fashion for haute cuisine falls away, the more casual wine bar has become a kind of economic savior for the city’s classic high-end chefs — one reason, as we noted in our Fall Preview year, the likes of Daniel Boulud and Alain Ducasse have embraced the genre wholeheartedly. (It’s easier to lure customers into wine bars, and wine is a much higher-profit item than food.) Now Le Cirque has gotten into the act, opening its new wine bar tonight. Says the restaurant’s legendary owner, Sirio Maccioni: “Our new wine lounge is a more casual side of Le Cirque, with chaise longues and where no jackets are required. We wanted to offer something, in our lounge, without all the rigueur of the dining room.” The centerpiece of the wine bar is an immense wine tower, with, according to Maccioni, “20,000 bottles of wine and the right menu to go with it.” Somehow it just doesn’t seem right to go to Le Cirque without a jacket, though — no matter how many bottles of wine they have.
Le Cirque wine-bar menu
Related: Grape Nuts [NYM]
Back of the House
Dr. Vino Brings First View of Wine Madhouse TerroirDr. Vino, one of our favorite wine blogs, drops the first images of the newly opened Terroir today. The wine bar owned by Marco Canora and Paul Grieco opened last night, and to judge by the pictures, it hit the ground running. As expected, the place reflects Grieco’s precarious sanity. Writes Dr. Vino: “The wine list is in a three-ring binder, which the designer described to me as being like the school notebook of ‘a 16 year-old boy’s whose obsession is not with cars or girls but obscure grape varieties,’ including one with Aglianico written on it multiple times.” Just wait til they look in the crawlspace!
Hipster wine bar, Terroir, now open! Wine by the glass starts at $2.75 [Dr. Vino]
Related: What You’ll Eat and Drink at Terroir
Back of the House
Ron Ciavolino Gives It To You Straight on Wine BarsSometimes you read an interview and immediately you wish you were friends with the subject. Such is the case with Metromix’s sit-down with Ron Ciavolino, the head of wine studies at the Institute of Culinary Education, and a man who speaks his mind. Our favorite quotes:
• On modern bartenders: “Most bartenders feel like they’re giving away something for nothing if they’re charming. I want schmaltz. There’s no schmaltz.”
• On the downtown wine scene: “You go to those wine bars in Soho, they’re more bowling alleys — there’s no romance. Everybody’s 12 years old.”
• What happens when a bartender allows ice to melt in a shaker: “You hemorrhage through all of your apertures.”
Days of Wine and Poses [Metromix NY]
What You’ll Eat and Drink at Terroir
After reading Rob and Robin’s opening this week, we can’t wait to visit Terroir when it opens this weekend (or Monday, if there’s a last-minute construction problem). But what awaits us there? We reached out to the new wine bar’s guiding spirit, Paul Grieco, to see if he could get us a sneak preview of the menu, and possibly a hint of what he had in mind for his wine program. Grieco delivered both — the latter in spades.
Terroir Video Reveals the Depth of Paul Grieco’s MadnessAnyone who knows Paul Grieco will tell you that he is patently insane. Final proof, if any were needed, lies in this video promoting his new wine bar, Terroir. Grieco, the co-owner, manager, and wine director of both Hearth and Insieme, is the mad genius of the city’s wine corps, and Terroir is his padded cell and laboratory. The teaser site gives some hint of the white-knuckle wine-geek intensity that courses through Grieco’s veins: Among the vitriolic mottos that flash are “Our wine world is now dominated by over-manipulated, oak-chip-flavored, micro-oxygenated wines that have nothing to do with what Mother Nature, God, or the Cistercian Fathers had in mind” and “To go to Friuli for red wine is like going to Las Vegas and expecting to catch Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.” But to really get a measure of his madness, watch this video. You won’t be sorry.
Related: Wine-Geek Heaven on the Way to the East Village