Earlier this year, IMG model Grace Mahary decided to take a pause from modeling to become a sommelier.
“With wine and spirits, I was frustrated that I was intimidated, firstly. When I was handed a wine list, I just thought in different scenarios or different circles, people from different backgrounds or walks of life felt like they couldn’t enjoy a nice beverage,” she says. “And I felt like that wasn’t fair. I don’t think you have to be of a certain class to enjoy a nice drink.”
For more on her journey into wine, read our interview with Mahary here. Below, her top picks for where to go for a good glass of wine in New York City.
1. Coast & Valley
“Starting with my absolute favorite wine bar in NYC, C&V features California wines and offers you a sip of every bottle they carry with the use of the Coravin — a fancy device that allows you to pour wine without pulling the cork out. Yes, that means you can try a glass of their top shelf wines that elsewhere you’d have to purchase the entire bottle for a taste. C&V has three serving sizes: flight, glass and bottle. You can create your own flight or try one of theirs and explore new hits from California.”
Try: 2016 Scribe Winery Chardonnay; 2016 Ridge Vineyards Pagani Ranch Zinfandel
“A Harlem gem, I adore Vinatería for its delicious Italian food and range of beverages to pair. Along with a mouth-watering selection of handcrafted cocktails, they have curated quite the wine list featuring pulsing vino from Europe. I love the quality and value of Portuguese reds, sipping crisp Italian white wine, and discovering refreshing rosés that aren’t from Provence (the land of rosé), all of which are possible at Vinatería.”
Try: 2018 Terre Stregato Falanghina; 2015 Casa Cadaval Tejo Tinto Padre Pedro
“Classics with a twist! Alta is tucked away on a quaint street at the cusp of West Village. They serve all of the heavy hitters from around the world — Montrachet, Bartolo Mascarello, Gevrey-Chambertin — and yet are able to integrate wines from new and emerging producers that hold their weight, flavor, and quality next to the all-time greats. Enjoy a glass of fine wine at Alta along side a dish from their Mediterranean-inspired menu either at the bar or upstairs overlooking the main floor dining area.”
Try: 2014 Roy-Prevostat Vielles Vignes Chablis; 2017 Langhe Freisa Socré
4. La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels
“Let’s get funky! Discover natural wines and everything in between at this cozy wine bar in SoHo. From orange to biodynamic to sustainably made, there’s a list of excellent still, sparkling and sweet wines that Compagnie’s super knowledgable staff can help you sip through. Their happy hour special gives you the opportunity to explore a variety of wines without punching a deep hole into your wallet. Also, if you’re in the mood for a quiz, you can participate in blind tasting and guessing their mystery wine for a prize.”
Try: 2017 Domaine Le Roc des Anges Cotes du Roussillon ‘Effet Papillon’ Blanc, France; 2017 David Reynaud Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Beaumont
“This is a darling wine bar in TriBeCa with a super playful staff and menu. Hearty dishes and a wine list that is so Riesling forward it can convert the non-Riesling folks. The staff is happy to take you on a wine adventure or find an unfamiliar wine that you’ll enjoy — I guarantee that you will learn something new. The menu is informative with its fun facts and you have the option to build your own wine flights.”
Try: 2017 David Franz Eden Valley Riesling; 2012 Chateau Chasse-Spleen, Moulis-en- Medoc