So, in case you missed the big news a couple of days ago - I announced that in 2015, I will be opening my very own wine bar! Plans have been underway for quite some time, but due to somewhat recent developments, it’s on the fast track now, and I am hoping to open MADIRAN in the earlier half of 2015. I’m so incredibly excited, it’s been hard to try to keep it to myself - and after so much enthusiasm on the part of many family and friends, I’m glad I decided to make the announcement when I did.
The wine bar is going to be located in East Setauket, Long Island - very close to home. There aren’t really any wine bars in the area - sure, Long Island has a few, but not that many, and none of its kind near my community. So I think it’s a great fit, and I look forward to serving our locals and enjoying their company.
What I’d like to mention is that Madiran, while named after a wine region in South West France, will be a sort of celebration of culture. Wines from all over the world, including Long Island, will be represented on the wine list. The focus is primarily on Old World (European) wines, but New World growing regions will be very well represented. My intention is to bring the very best quality and representation of grapes and different terroirs to Madiran’s customers, while still providing the products at very reasonable prices, making the wines approachable and accessible. Madiran’s customers deserve only the very best of what the wine world has to offer. In addition, I want to make sure as many cultures are represented on the wine list, so that customers can find products from places where they and their ancestors came from. I think it’s important to celebrate all of our backgrounds, and I’ve found that food and wine are a sort of universal language, much like a smile, or, dare I say it - soccer.
And yes, I do intend to serve food - small plates and boards are all part of the plan currently. I always want to be able to provide customers with new and exciting choices on the menu and wine list. Wine, to me, is art and culture and an industry, but most importantly, it’s also about having fun and bringing people together. There will be all kinds of surprises, all the time.
So - why Madiran, you ask? Well, I’ve mentioned a great many times that the wines of South West France have a special place in my heart and on my palate. I love the expression of fruit and soil and climate - the wines tell such an honest story, and the prices are still so reasonable for the products. And they’re different from wines I’ve tasted from anywhere else. There’s a sort of humble nature about them - a diamond in the rough, I suppose. The Tannat grape left a tremendous impression on me when I attended my first Guild of Sommeliers master class a few years ago, taught by the always entertaining and awesome master sommelier and wine educator MS Fred Dexheimer, and the brilliant and methodical master sommelier and wine educator MS Scott Carney. It was then that I realized I connected with these wines in a different way, and I’ve never looked back.
The other reason why I chose the name Madiran came on an evening a couple of years ago when I was pouring a tasting at the local wine boutique where I poured many tastings. One of the wines in the lineup was Domaine le Serp Madiran, which is mostly Tannat with some Cabernet Franc. Rustic, satisfying, and so dark in the tasting glasses, the customers were fascinated as I explained the wine to them. Not only was it the favorite of the evening, but the following week, even though the Madiran was not on the tasting table, people came back looking for that wine again. It was then that I realized that the local tasters had an open mind about wine, and I decided I wanted to give them a place to enjoy food and wine and try new things together.
The decision to open the wine bar was an easy one; the decision as to timing was not so easy at first, as it’s a tremendous undertaking, but it just seems right. I’ve been spending a lot of time tasting and looking for the best wines to fit my needs and what I believe to be the needs of Madiran’s future patrons. I’ve been attending tastings and master classes, seeking out some really fun wines, and I’ll keep on searching for more wines to enjoy at Madiran. And I’ll be sure to keep you all posted as to my progress along the process of opening the wine bar.
And in the meantime, I ask you - Have you ever tried a wine from Madiran? Sud-Tirol? Styria? Franken? Priorat? Istria? Well, in case you haven’t, you will have that opportunity before long.