I’ve been spending more time in Ridgewood now that a very good friend lives there. If you find yourself in this part of Queens and are thirsting for some natural (“natty”) bottles, check out Forêt Wines.
Two visits in and its got all the things I like about a wine shop: small, charming, eclectic yet somehow focused. A selection that’s a reflection of the proprietor. Speaking of, that would be Marie Tribouilloy. She’s a co-owner of Ops in Bushwick, one of my favorite pizza spots. (It’s got lots of natty wine served w/o a list. You just say what you want to drink and someone will bring you a few things until you and a wine click. Though they usually nail it on the first taste.)
A duo of bottles I picked up were both aces. The first was a Meinklang Gruner Veltliner. Bottled with a screw cap, it is tailor-made for a BYOB spot. The red was more serious, with some body and heft: Simon Busser Pure Cot 2016. Cot* is what the French call Malbec. If all you have been exposed to is versions from Argentina, buckle up. Because this is a much different ride. Honestly this is probably the first Cot I’ve had from the Cahors area in quite a while. (This wine is a Vin de France so there must be a reason it’s not appellation labeled but the Cahors region is Busser’s stomping grounds.**) Most I’ve drank have been from the Loire Valley, and on the lighter side.
With these two bottles at dinner, normally I hit the white until it’s gone then begrudgingly shift to red. But after pouring a splash of Pure Cot, I went back to the red wine well again and again. Usually I don’t care for full-bodied wines but this one was voluminous in a totally compelling way. Juicy, fruity, complex, long fresh finish. Damn!
Anyway, if a wine shop can pick out a bottle like that for you, it is gold. (My mandate was full-bodied red and “unlimited budget.” I really did say the latter but I mean my idea of unlimited is like over $20 and under $50.) So check out Forêt Wines the next time you are in Ridgewood. I take the L to Myrtle and stroll there but you can also take the M to Forest. Or research bus routes. Ride share. Bicycle. Walk. Teleport, etc.
For more on Forêt Wines, check out Grubstreet and Bushwick Daily. Also it’s right next to Sundown, a lovely space of a bar. And my friend is one of the owners. So go have a cocktail/beer/wine and then buy a bottle next door. Or vice-versa.
*JR says with or w/o the circumflex. So there. I do like the hat on the “o” of “Côt.”
**Astor Wines has an explanation.