Downtown Energy: Biodynamic Reds from Austria

Spring in New York. The energy in the reawakened city materializes on the streets and in the restaurants. Nowhere is this as visible as in downtown’s newest neighborhoods; places like the lower east side, where generations of immigrants lined the streets to conduct commerce and socialize (be sure to visit the Tenement Museum,). Storied blocks like Hester, Ludlow, Essex and Orchard now teem with a youthful, crackling, trendy buzz. The vibe is still chain store free and it is nice to see a New York that is not an endless repetition of banks, chain pharmacies and Starbucks. The lower east side is still a place where an individual’s dreams of food and drink can be pursued.

I found a BYOOW (bring your own organic wine) place called Georgia’s East Side BBQ for an OWJ wine tasting. The feel is fun, casual and relaxed. Georgia’s is very small, only four tables and seats about 20. Service in a place this size is rather personal, as it seems more like a family get together than a formal restaurant experience.

The core OWJ tasting panel was comprised of our editor-in-chief Adam Morganstern, Steven Hall (food, chef and restaurant public relations man extraordinaire), and myself. Steven has a solid list of top chefs and restaurateurs that he has promoted for over twenty years and a Wikipedic knowledge of the industry. This man is a walking buzz factory in the Warholian sense of the term factory. Our food delivery facilitator Chelsea and general manager Maria helped out too. Chelsea loves wine and tries to do things organically so she was delighted when we asked her for her opinion. Maria also gave us her thoughts.

I brought two wines from Austria: a 2007 Pinot Noir from the Michlits Estate and a 2006 Zweigelt, both imprted by Prescott Wines ( They are biodynamic and Demeter Certified, so the wine’s makers are doing this the hard way. Zweigelt is a hybrid, 20th century grape grown almost exclusively in Austria.

Steven thought the Pinot was smooth, with blackberry sensations and balanced tannins and it’s easy drinking nature would go well with fatty fish or chicken. A good bistro wine by the glass. Adam agreed it was a good everyday wine, though did not find it a very terroir-driven Pinot. I found it had nice spice notes, with cherries on the palate. It would go well with an omelet and fries at a sidewalk café in Europe. Chelsea said it was really delicious, and added she might prefer this wine with a slight chill.

The Zweigelt was very smooth and rich, bursting with fruit flavors. This unique grape had an interesting mouthfeel and went great with the BBQ. Steve found it very food-friendly; crisp with a rich berry flavor. Adam called it a “third date wine.” Chelsea loved its high pitch, richness and boldness. Maria thought it had a nice acidic balance; very peppery, yet agreeable.

The Zweigelt, and other organic and biodynamic wines, can be purchased around the corner from Georgia’s at September Wines and Spirits, 100 Stanton Street. $17.00. The food was great. This place does a very good BBQ with excellent traditional sides, so if you want to eat BYOOW downtown, this is the place to go.


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