The following is an interview with Keith Beavers, co-owner of In Vino Wine Bar & Restaurant and Alphabet City Wine Co. Keith also writes a blog called East Village Wine Geek.
What was the first wine that made you realize you loved wine?
It was a 1999 Paternoster Aglianico Del Vulture Don Anselmo. It was so full bodied and robust with rose petals and licorice and a tannin structure as mammoth as the mountain it was grown near yet harnessed and balanced. It sent off alarms in my mind and soul telling me this was very important somehow. And here I am a servant of wine, spreading the love...I hope.
Describe your perfect meal and the wine you'd pair it with?
Lamb, Baby! Lamb. Give me an herb encrusted medium rare, seared and roasted rack of New Zealand lamb served with a side of marinated mushroom and white bean salad (with some caramelized onions maybe) served over a bed of mixed greens. OOOHHHH WEEEE! Put me at a table with this dish and a bottle of Pont de Crillon 2005 Pont de Crillon Les Chais de Pont de Crillon Cote Du Rhone and I am a happy wine geek. Don't bother me I am eating. This beautiful Syrah is one of the most subtle and integrated Rhones I have had yet. It is earthy without too much soil and has a deep pepper fruit that is not separated from the body but is swimming through the fruit. Not only does it compliment the flavors of the dish but takes on a life of its own as on your palate. And it's twelve bucks!!
What's the most common misconception that people have about wine?
That wine has to be expensive to be good or even great. Then there's that whole Montepulciano d'Abruzzo versus Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano. But the first is the biggest.
What's your newest find for under $20?
I am really diggin' this beautiful blend from Gascogne called Le Rouge Gorge. It is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Tannat. I have never had a blend like this and only the French could pull this one off. Tannat is one of the most tannic grapes on the globe but somehow this producer finds calm balance in the blend. This wine is powerful yet subtle with lean, deep berry fruit and a gripping tannin structure that holds on just long enough for some face time and then it blends into the fruit and allows the subtle peppery cab franc notes to come center stage for a bit. It's a beautiful wine and it's only eleven bucks.
Is there a wine you've always wanted to try, but never had the chance to?
Every wine I have not tried yet! But seriously if anyone wants to pop on over to Alphabet City Wine Co. and bring a bottle of 1996 Grand Cru Burgundy ... I am there Tuesday, Thursday Friday and Saturday. No pressure. I will be waiting...but no pressure.