Colline Lucchesi, Tuscany
While back in my hometown of New York City over the holidays, I was on the hunt for a perfect wine-of-the-month for January. My search led me to Pasanella & Son, a small wine merchant found in the South Street Seaport area of lower Manhattan.
A lot has changed to South Street Seaport since my childhood when my parents would take me and my sisters for ice cream and weekend strolls along the waterfront. Gone are many of the fishmongers and the old Pier 17, which have been replaced by high-end restaurants, European design shops, and exhibitions organized by the Prada Foundation. Some of this is due to the exodus of businesses during hard times post-September 11th or the fallout from Hurricane Sandy in 2012, some of it is just the ever-changing face of New York City…but, I digress. What you notice right away about Pasanella & Son is its respectful nod to history:
THE WINE MERCHANT | Pasanella & Son
Hosted in a building with a long resume, including shipchandler, bar with rooms (aka brothel) and fishmonger, Pasanella & Son has managed to retain a historic feel. Owners Marco Pasanella and wife Rebecca Robertson Pasanella, who are also designers and published authors, did a masterful renovation, retaining original details while introducing new elements that fit the space: from the beautiful cabinetry and an early 20th Century industrial pie plate collection displayed on an exposed-brick wall to the vintage glassware and an old sky-blue Fiat that greets you at the door. The 400+ bottles of lovingly curated wine, primarily organic and from small producers with a soft-spot for Italy (Marco’s family originates from Tuscany and the two have a house in the Lucca Hills), together with their thoughtful wine clubs, make them a great shop to patronize, in person or online. Check out their books as well: Marco’s Living in Style Without Losing Your Mind and Rebecca’s Collected: Living With The Things You Love.
THE WINERY | Tenuta Lenzini
Tenuta Lenzini is a biodynamic paradise in the Lucca Hills. The owners, Benedetta Lenzini, who follows in the footsteps of her grandfather Franco Lenzini, and her husband Marco Guarino, believe in the expressiveness of nature, the origins of a territory and alchemy of the senses. The sixty-acre estate, thirty of which is planted to vine and another eight dedicated to olive groves for their olive oil production, is found along the ancient pilgrim route Via Francigena that connected Canterbury to Rome. Because of this, the estate has made wine using French grape varieties for centuries, a tradition that Tenuta Lenzini keeps alive today. You’ll find Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Alicante Bouchet and Sauvignon Blanc in their lineup of wines.
THE WINE | Il Salvataggio, Merlot 2016, Colline Lucchesi | Retail price $20
Biodynamic Merlot is back this month—this time flying solo and with a Tuscan accent. This rustic, dense wine generously provides your palate a dose of blackberry, plum and smokey pepper. It would pair exceptionally well with fondue or braised beef. “Il Salvataggio” means “the rescue” and for every bottle sold, a donation is made to the Best Friend Animal Society, a nationwide animal rescue organization. Not a bad way to start the new year off: drinking delicious wine while doing some good!