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House of Nobilo, BYOB and Cube 63

Posted in Uncategorized by EVWG on the December 11th, 2006

nobilo.jpgAt work the other day a customer form Australia came in for a couple glasses of vino and I couldn’t help but start picking his brain about the wine from down under. We talked a lot about the Riesling grape and how it’s the wine he remembers his parents always drinking from his childhood. I mentioned some info I had come across that Riesling came to Australia via a large group of people fleeing prosecution in Germany and he said he wasn’t to sure about that but that it made sense because there is a large, concentrated German and Austrian population in Adelaide (Southern Australia). We talked about chardonnay and how it became popular in the vineyards of Australia a little over twenty-five years ago to which I mentioned that I also heard that there are some spots in the south western part of the continent that has cool ocean current climates which are great for Riesling. He concurred and gave me a couple of Riesling producers to look out for as well as an insider’s scoop on pinot noir from the Yarra Valley and how the cool climate is helping some producers to yield some nice juice from there.
We then turned to the subject of New Zealand and sauvignon Blanc. As far as he was concerned it is only thing good in wine that is happening in that country. He said that on his last visit there a friend of his gave him the skinny on New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Apparently when they are very young they show quite well with slick (good thing), ripe fruit and gooseberries. Then as they age a bit they start to fall apart and flatten out. But what was really interesting to me is that he said after the fifth or sixth year of aging (I didn’t even know this grape had such aging potential) it comes back to life. Well that one got me. A wine that wakes up when made then hibernates for a year or two only to wake up with a whole list of characteristics.
So the next day I stopped into this local wine shop on Second Avenue looking for a pinot noir form the Yarra Valley this guy had been telling me about. Unfortunately there was none there. But the guy running things had an enthusiasm about him that said wine geek. So we chatted about pinot as he showed me some of his favorites in the store from Oregon to Burgundy. After all was said and done I changed the subject to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. He smiled and as we walked to the right section saying that he really liked the sauvignons coming out of that area of the world. For me that was a great indication that I should ask this cat which of the selection was his favorite. And so I did. With confidence he grabbed one and gave it to me. I looked it over briefly saw that it was only twelve bucks and just went for it. I didn’t need to look at the bottle intensely and figure out whether it was worth it or not. This guy was smiling with confidence and for the price it was fun just diving in.
When I got home I took the bottle out of the bag started to really look at it. After doing some research this is what I came up with. The wine is a 2006 Regional Collection sauvignon Blanc From the House of Nobilo in the wine region of Marlborough in the northeast of the south island of New Zealand. Marlborough is known to have been the birthplace of the modern wine culture of the country starting in the 1970’s. The House of Nobilo is a mass production subsidiary of the largest alcoholic beverage company in the US. But with that being said Nobilo has also been making wine for sixty years and is well respected throughout New Zealand. Pretty cool. A well priced wine from a producer that had mad props in its homeland. I couldn’t wait to try it.
BYOB. It just popped into my head and the next thing I know I was on an intensive search for a fairly close offering that paired well with my new ’06 sav, if you will. After about a half an hour or so through chowhond.com I found what might just be the ideal spot. It is a sushi place down in the Lower East Side called Cube 63. I had heard about the place and actually the people who told me about it said that it some of the best sushi in the city. Well whether it was the best or just damn good I though my wife and I would enjoy testing out this new bottle there.
When we arrived the place was almost full and it was only seven at night. That ‘s the LES for ya. It is really crammed into the island so the high concentration of foot traffic is intense at times. Cube 63 is on, go figure, 63 Clinton street between Stanton and Rivington. With the name it all just fits together. Not only does the number in the title correspond to the address but the word “cube” does as well. This place is small. It really is a bit cube-ish with less than twenty tables and has this really cool kind of green fluorescent lighting with a sushi bar in the back accompanied by what would normally be bar shelves that are empty save for a couple of glasses reminiscent of a former liquor license maybe? Unless they use the margarita glasses for some sort of presentation which would be awesome.
We got there just in time to grab the last two-top in the place. They popped our bottle for us and poured out a bit in each glass so we could do the rest. The wine glasses here by the way are pretty cool. Most of the time BYOB places have little “trattoria” glasses. I am not saying that they are bad or good. It’s just nice to sometimes see people go that extra inch and get larger glasses for us wine geeks to savor aromas, swirl uncontrollably, check out visual body structure, you know all that weird geeky stuff we get into that makes my wife just stare and smile and giggle.
The wine was at a good temperature. I had been carrying it around for a little bit so it had been out of the fridge for maybe a half hour or so but it was quite cold out so it didn’t warm up too much. It was at probably almost fifty degrees, which is not so bad for a white. I like white at this temperature because all the aromas are out to play. The initial nose was full of that cat pee we have all come to know and love in Sauvignon Blanc. I could just call it gooseberries but where is the fun in that. It was screaming its vintage all the way to the first sip with crazy citrus swimming underneath fresh peaches. The palate was quite comfortable and big with great acidity and juicy roundness. What was nice about it and what I was worried it wouldn’t have for the price was good balance. The wine wasn’t one to blow you away and run out to purchase a case but was one to run into a wine shop in a hurry and grab a good sav for twelve bucks.
We went a little nutty with the ordering. We had edema me and vegetable tempura for starters. These of course went seamlessly with the wine. The batter of the tempura and the saltiness of the soy sauce allowed us to really enjoy the thirst quenching properties of white wine. We actually got the edema me with out salt and it was a good idea because my wife noticed something refreshing about the wine when pairing the two. The lack of salt made the spiciness of the wine come out for a visit and mingle with the acidity and fruit. And on the palate the pairing was very balanced with nothing over powering each other. The mains were just downright great with the wine. We had the tuna sushi with a Cali roll, an avocado maki roll, a spicy tuna roll and one more that I actually cannot remember but, WOW. The quality of the fish here and the rice and the seaweed was just great. It was the best I had had yet in the city. I am fairly new to sushi places but my wife has been a sushi lover for years and she agreed that it was down right delicious. It was all so fresh with no hint of too much air exposure and brininess.
So if you’re in a pinch and need a BYOB bottle; especially if your headed for sushi or even curry this wine is a great choice. I am sure it is readily available because of the parent company that distributes it and the price is right. It washes down the rightly paired food beautifully with great acidity and fruit with a slick roundness that leaves a fresh, medium finish. I am on a mission now to find another place that can compete with Cube 63. But you know, even if I do find one that is as good or better and they are not BYOB then it will come down to what wines they have to offer. If that element is lacking then it will probably be tough to stay away from the cube. BYOB and sushi ah the possibilities! Cheers!

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