One thing I love about living in New York City is that you can find, within a stone's throw, just about anything you're looking for. Yesterday I went in search of a restaurant I could bring wine to without the typical $25 - $50+ corkage fee. I googled "Free corkage Tuesdays NYC" and that's how Joel and I ended up having dinner at The Milling Room (Columbus Ave & 82nd St) with a very special bottle of wine, straight out of our wine closet.
Executive Chef Phillip Kirschen-Clark is serving up inventive, locally-sourced American cuisine in a beautiful space with tables far enough apart that you don't feel packed in. When it's light out, the enormous skylight high above the dining room bathes the room in a soft glow and, after dark, it becomes a romantic candlelit space. Or, you can eat at the long bar to the left of the entrance if you want more of an action-packed scene.
To go with dinner, we brought a 2015 Rock & Hammer Pinot Noir from Oregon. This special wine is produced by Rex Hill Vineyards for NBA coach Gregg Popovich, the largest outside investor in A To Z Wineworks, the company that owns Rex Hill. The wine is never for sale and whatever the coach doesn't drink himself or give away ends up in charity auctions.
This juicy expression of Pinot Noir from Oregon has aromas of cherries, plums and licorice that carry through generously on the palate. It's the kind of wine that one sip leads to the next and the next and before you know it, it's gone and you're saying, "What happened to the wine?!" Medium-bodied, with velvety tannins and a slight spiciness on the long finish, it's delicious!
The sad thing is that the closest you may ever get to this wine is if you visit Rex Hill Vineyards, where you'll find four empty bottles in a display case with a basketball signed by Coach Popovich. But the good news is that Rex Hill's Pinot Noir from Shea Vineyard and Jacob-Hart Vineyard are two great Oregon wines that are for sale and would be an excellent substitute for the Rock & Hammer.
Chef Phillip was on his game last night with these flavorful dishes. And a shout out to our server, Michael, who led the way with excellent service.