Direct Press December 2021


An end-of-year roundup of what we're into now

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This month we are featuring wines beloved by the Vanderbilt Ave staff. Illustration by Jonathan Kemp

It's become a yearly tradition for our December wine club to simply be about some of the staff's current favorites. So much of our business is built on the conversations we have with people about wine, it only seems fitting to end the year by answering the fundamental question we receive from so many of our engaged customers: what are you drinking right now?

It's a real privilege to be able to answer that question earnestly. We're lucky to be able to have customers coming into our small shop who are curious and prepared to dive into the deep end of the pool with us. At the end of the day, we all have different tastes, so it takes a certain level of trust to go along with a stranger's recommendation. So we try pretty hard to get past being strangers, and that is when we really start to get to know people and what they like. That leads to being able to talk about why someone didn't like a wine, or trading restaurant recommendations, which leads to talking about who-knows-what. Anyone who has met me knows I'm likely to digress onto a whole range of topics that have nothing at all to do with wine.

So this month's theme is on a more existential plane. It highlights the gratification we all feel at being trusted and respected enough to have a place in your everyday lives and to have an influence on your rituals, your meals, your moments of joy. With that in mind, all of us — Kirk, Cara, Alex, Greg, and myself — have picked out wines that we personally love. They all are delicious, but we also love them because of the people who made them, the people who import them, and the reps who sell them to us.

Many are wines that didn't fit neatly into another wine club theme or fill a strong enough void on our shelves: making this theme a much-needed way to include some amazing wines that we'd have to say no to for reasons that are more about the physical limitations of a 200 square-foot store than the wine itself.

But most of all this is about the part of the job that has kept me and my colleagues engaged for so long: the back and forth of sharing what we're all excited about. It never gets old, in fact without it we're all drinking in a vacuum, and we all got to experience that last year. A year-plus of isolated pandemic drinking is more than enough reminder for me that I'm here for the people first, and the wine second. I'm happy we're still here and you're still asking us what we're liking.


Jonathan and Kirk


Image of Bojo do Luar
Bojo do Luar "Tez" Vinho Verde 2020


Image of Haarmeyer Cellars
Haarmeyer Cellars "St. Rey SRV" Chenin Blanc 2020


Image of Iuli
Iuli "Umberta" Barbera 2019


Image of Mas Mellet
Mas Mellet "Pari Finesse" Rouge 2020


Image of Gustavo Riffo
Gustavo Riffo "Vina Lomas De Llahuen" Pipeno 2020 1L


Image of Mas des Chimères
Mas des Chimères "Nuit Grave" Terrasses du Larzac 2019


Image of Viteadovest
Viteadovest "Vurgo" Bianco Terre Siciliane 2020


Image of Olivier Pithon
Olivier Pithon "Mon P'tit Pithon" Blanc 2018



Image of Division
Division "Trois" Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2018


Image of Stein
Stein "Palmberg" Kabinett Riesling Trocken 2020


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