Since opening in its tiny storefront at the corner of Irving and Dekalb in 2017, Irving Bottle has focused on providing wine and spirits that are a good value in an approachable setting. Its salespeople are always ready to help. But “there is so much wine in the world, and even with a guide, it can be a lot,” says Irving Bottle manager Erin Bender. “So, we decided, why not make it easy and offer a subscription to the best wines we have?”
Recently, the shop began offering just that: wines the staff is particularly passionate about, available for pick up or local delivery the first Sunday of each month. Sommelier Kirsti Esch picks the wines and writes the descriptions.
“We started Irving Bottle in part because we love wine but buying it often happens in these kind of intimidating settings,” says Bender. “More than anything we want the wine club to be fun!”
Irving Bottle’s wines are not exclusively “natural” but devotees of low-intervention, low-sulfur, organic and biodynamic wines always find plenty to choose from. Natural wine fans know that these wines are often available in limited quantities. A side bonus of the club is that members can get access to limited-allocation wines.
The club, which is available for $75 per month for 3 bottles, is priced lower or equal to the bottles’ retail pricing. It’s offered as either a recurring subscription that can be canceled anytime, or on fixed three, six, or twelve-month subscriptions. Here’s the link to subscribe.
The store is also offering a $25 gift card to anyone who signs up for the wine club by April 20th. Those interested should just email [email protected] to let the store know they’re about to subscribe.
Most recently, the club has featured wines according to two themes: “Taste of Hungary” and “Pinot Gris Three Ways.” Esch adds: “These are such interesting, unique wines, and we love telling people about them!”
Gál Tibor “TiTi” Egri Bikavér Superior 2018
Like many low-allocation wines, this one is the result of a family reviving a unique regional specialty. The Gál family’s winemaking tradition began with Tibor Senior, who became a master at blending the renowned Super Tuscan wines at the famed Ornellaia estate in Italy. Inspired, he returned to Hungary in 1992 and founded his own winery. Today, his family continues the practice of producing terroir-driven wines while applying modern technology to reinvent the regional specialty, Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood of Eger). This proprietary version borrows from Super Tuscan practices by blending foreign grapes in with native Hungarian varietals to give this traditional style a contemporary, delicious edge.
Meinklang Foam White 2019
“When the plants receive the same care and affection as the animals, then an organism comes into being, supported by creative people whose work is their life”: Meinklang, a family-operated farm in Pamhagen, Austria lives by these principles. The cow on their label pays homage to the roving Angus herd “employed” for lawnmowing and fertilizing the property. The family is dedicated to biodynamics and self-sustaining agriculture. Though the majority of their production features Austrian grapes, they also make wines from Hungarian varietals sourced from not-too-distant Somló, as well as one cider co-ferment made with their own estate-grown apples.
Domaine Bechtold “Nef des Folles” Pinot Gris 2019
Jean-Marie is the head of this fourth generation family winery and believes that the secret to the success of his wines is to make them “as one raises a child. Patiently, with an attentive spirit, with the concern to understand.” With this in mind, he works the land on which he lives, and has taken the time and effort to convert from organics to certified biodynamics in order to maximize the natural beauty of the grapes. Some of the family’s holdings are parcels in the famous Grand Cru, Engleberg, a limestone-soil vineyard with notoriety dating back to 890 AD. Bechtold prefers to use stainless steel vessels for fermentation and aging, part of his minimalistic winemaking style that allows the fruit to speak for itself. He states: “The wines do not need anything to evolve. They have all the elements in them to grow.” Taste it, and the dedication, approach and locale embodied in this wine shines through.
For those not ready to commit to a subscription, Irving Bottle also offers a large under-$15 selection and a friendly staff who can help pick out an exciting bottle for any budget or palate. Stop by seven days a week, check out the store’s website or app. They also offer free delivery within 1.5 miles, and delivery through Postmates elsewhere in Brooklyn.
Complimentary gift card is not applicable to wine club fees, but can be used for any other purchases. A minimum three month subscription is required to qualify.
All images courtesy of Irving Bottle.
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