Wow-this started out as a walk down the above-ground abandoned railway called High Line www.thehighline.org until I discovered the Chelsea Market; 75 Ninth Avenue & 15th Street-a very old building previously a real market which has undertaken a makeover. Being there at lunch time basically says this is a lunch venue as each specialty shop, as well as restaurants/food bars cater more for the dining trade than shopping for home. It’s a pretty small place; one fishmonger, one butcher, one kitchen shop-you get the drift.
The Lobster Place was unreal-it was all happening; lobsters and crab claws were being cooked; fish were being filleted and sushi rolled at great speed. There were five soups, electing for the Cajun crab and corn then a lobster and salad buckwheat wrap.
Next door is Chelsea Wine Vault where I went in pursuit of local drops to complement the produce from The Lobster Place for dinner. It took a while to focus the wine staff on my preferences because I had to be patient as I was up-sold on what was good and what was better. The choice came down to my need for an austere, dry riesling type to complement my Californian caviar.
The result was Hermann J Wiemer Riesling Dry 2007(AUD 25) from the Finger Lakes area, single vineyard wine made and bottled on site, 12%. Well the wine barely complemented the Paramount Paddlefish roe (AUD 23 for 28 g) www.paramountcaviar.com and yummy local wicked crab meat, due to sweetness. The wine had a great nose-cool climate, not very aromatic but more spice, pungent down the mace and lavender end, then good tight acidity, some chewiness therefore a little tannin, and mineral finishing tones.
I have to take issue with the sweetness because this in part has contributed to the demise of the German white wine industry over the past 30 years; and as this owner would have seen that trend having roots in the Mosel-would try to avoid the same pitfall. Recent German remakes of wines to be trocken (dry) and halbtrocken (half dry) to suit more food-sophisticated tastes have been successful; and alcohol levels risen from 7-8.5% to 10-11.5%, and even higher. The more worldy German producers are just letting their riesling ferment out dry; and not stop it or tickle it with additional sugars.
This riesling is carrying 15-18 g/L residual sugar which is too high for contemporary cuisine unless it’s hot or spicy. Or does it mean New Yorkers still drink sweet? Perhaps this label does not properly quantify the contents-dry should mean just that, and less than 2 g/L. I encourage Mt Wiemer’s comments. The cork was just a standard style-open to all types of cork-influenced moderation on the wine so expect some bottles to be duds. www.wiemer.com
Nearby is the Meatpacking district, fast booming as a specialty shopping area for designer gear, even tailors, and I saw a Puma Black shop as well. The revitalisation of old meat cold stores and wholesale butchery packing areas has now regenerated as a bourgeoning restaurant precinct. There is Pasties at 9 9th Avenue; a petite version of Balthazar with extensive outdoor dining (in good weather). Across Gansevoort Street at number 49 is Macelleria (an old butchery) serving a very treasured item called the espresso which was had with glee.
A walk along a high train track with the biodiverse regenerated New York trees and bushes provided some new tastes today.
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