New York wine tours with City Wine Tours NYC
New York City is like a good bottle of wine. Rich, full bodied and full of surprises, it’s intoxicating and leaves you wanting more. So, when City Wine Tour NYC invited me along to an afternoon event, how could I say no?
Flashpacking is thirsty stuff, and my love of wine matches that of my passion for luxury boutique hotels. Joining a tour, whether it’s wine, food, or an attraction, helps you better navigate your way around a new destination. And tasting or eating anything delicious is just the icing on the cake.
New York wine tours – the only NYC wine tour you need to know
City Wine Tours NYC offer 3 types of tours: The Upper West Side, West Village and SoHo. Each tour takes you around local places in the area. For the SoHo tour, we explored the wine — and foodie — scene in the vicinity.
Just a quick note about the SoHo area in New York City. You can find the neighborhood in lower Manhattan, and its name refers to the area ‘south of Houston Street’. It east and west boundaries are constantly in dispute, so I won’t attempt to offer one!
The main thing you need to know is that SoHo is the place for shopping. From upscale stores to independent boutique and chain brands, it’s all here. The loft style spaces were once popular with artists in the city. Now, it’s a shopper’s dream.
Tucked in between the many shops in SoHo are equally excellent bars and restaurants. On the City Wine Tours NYC, your expert tour guide takes you to some of the best in the local area.
What to expect on the SoHo tour – New York City wine tours
The meeting point for the start of the tour was Galli. It’s an Italian-style restaurant that serves up mouthwatering Italian comfort food and plenty of great wines.
Our guide, Amy, was there to greet us, and the other people joining the tour. Group sizes are intimate (8 to 12 people), and a perfect number to be able to listen and ask questions. Amy’s background is in advertising and marketing, but her passion for wine is evident.
After doing a quick introduction around the table, it was time to start tasting some wine.
Discover even more of the city by booking a local NYC tour.
Desiderio Jeio Prosecco
The first wine we tasted was a crisp and cold glass of Desiderio Jeio Prosecco. It’s a blend of 90% prosecco, 6% Pinot Bianco, and 4% Perdiso, made from grapes from the Valdobbiadene area. For someone who spends a lot of time in Italy, you’d think I’d be tired of prosecco, but I’m not! In fact, I find it hard to say no to a glass of (good) prosecco, and never need an occasion.
While we were doing the tasting, Amy did an excellent job talking about the wine. She explained the difference between prosecco, cava and champagne, and debunked a few myths too!
L’Umami Pinot Noir of Oregon, Willamette Valley 2016
If you’ve never tried a wine from Oregon, (US) you need to add this one to the list. Like most people, I’ve only tasted Californian wines, and know little else of wines from other American states.
L’Umami Pinot Noir of Oregon takes its name from where they source the grapes. The vineyards are surrounded by wild edible mushrooms, which provide a slight umami taste. It’s fresh, clean and an easy light-bodied red to drink.
By this point, they brought out several dishes, so we could understand how to pair certain flavors and wine. We dined on tasty bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella and parsley, and mini arancini (deep fried rice balls).
“L’Umami Pinot Noir of Oregon takes its name from where they source the grapes. It’s fresh, clean and an easy light-bodied red to drink.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Citto Toscana, Volpaia
For the third, and last wine at Galli, we enjoyed a fruity glass of Citto. It’s made from organic Sangiovese grapes sourced from the glorious Tuscan countryside in Italy. It’s smooth, rich ruby red in color, and a robust pairing with meat and pasta dishes.
New York wine tours – Spring Natural
Leaving Galli, we made a short walk through SoHo to the second place on the tour. The clue to the type of food they serve at Spring Natural is in the name. A family-run restaurant, this establishment’s been dishing up healthy, tasty and natural food since 1973.
Henry Varnay Blanc de Blanc
Similar to Galli, we began the tasting with a sparkling white wine. Henry Varnay Blanc de Blanc comes from the gorgeous Loire Valley in France. It’s pale yellow in color, with a crisp and light taste that’s perfect for a hot NYC summer’s day. The wine is made from 100% Ugni Blanc, a grape variety that’s the most planted in France.
Jelu Malbec 2013
I was happy to see a Malbec on the tasting, as it’s one of my favourite ‘go-to’ red wines. Intense and dark in colour, this medium-bodied red comes from the Jelu Estate in Argentina. Made primarily from the Malbec grape variety, it takes a while for the flavour to really open up. However, once it does, it’s an enjoyable wine to drink, and went well with the food at Spring Natural.
We feasted on the Spring Natural Guacamole Trio and yummy chickpea and fava bean fritters. It was a full platter piled high with guacamole, pico de gallo, black bean dip and tri-colour tortilla chips. The bean fritters were equally a good accompaniment with the wine selection.
Pinot Blanc, Hugel 2015
The last wine on the tour was the Pinot Blanc 2015 from Hugel. A refreshing, all-purpose dry white wine, it comes from the Alsace region of France. The scent is light, refreshing, and there’s a hint of aniseed and fennel.
It’s packaged in a Germanic-shaped bottle, and works well as an aperitif, and goes well with a seafood/fish main course.
New York wine Tours – City Wine Tours NYC tips before booking
- Make sure to arrive 10 minutes before the start of the tour. You’ll receive a reminder email of all the details beforehand.
- Wear comfortable shoes. This may sound obvious, but there’s a bit of walking, and you can also better enjoy the wine and food!
- Total time of tour: 2 hours.
Great tips from City Wine Tours NYC
- ‘Wine is subjective. We perceive wine differently. Talk is just talk.’
- ‘Lines on the glass are residual sugar, it has nothing to do with quality.’
“We dined on tasty bruschetta with tomatoes, mozzarella and parsley, and mini arancini (deep fried rice balls).”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
- On how to taste wine: ‘See, swirl, smell, sip’.
- ‘When you open sparkling wine, it can be dangerous, because of the pressure in the bottle. Hold the bottle at a 45° angle and keep your thumb over the cork. Slowly pull it off.’
- ‘Flute glass holds the bubbles; but many say you can drink it in a white wine glass.’
Overall, we had a thoroughly good time on the City Wines NYC SoHo tour. We tried some new wines, met some lovely new people and learned something new. It’s an enjoyable afternoon, and I’m keen on trying another one when if we return to NYC!
What do you think of the City Wines NYC SoHo Tour? Would you like to try it? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: Although I was invited by City Wine Tours NYC, all my views are my own. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I’ve recommended. Thank you for your support.