Our Subway Stop Guide consists of fewer, better, and more thoughtful recommendations for natural wine. We look for places that are dedicated to organically farmed, low intervention, living wines. We’re kicking off this ongoing series with the G train stop at Greenpoint Ave.
Chez Ma Tante is the neighborhood restaurant, owned and operated by Jake Leiber and Aidan O'Neal, with food rooted in French technique. We spoke with Zoe Laird, the former beverage director, who by sheer will, transformed the entire wine list to bottles that are naturally produced. Her aim was to have a solid selection of affordable wines in the $45 to $65 range, making Chez Ma Tante the place to go on a casual weeknight and not break the bank. Zoe understood her Brooklyn customers were open to new and interesting tastes when choosing a bottle, so she was willing to take risks that were a little 'out there' (think, Envínate from the Canary Islands).
Get the pancakes, and pair it with a Pét Nat from the Loire
The versatile food at Chez makes it easy to choose what you'd like to drink and craft your meal around it. But if you're looking for a suggestion, we'd say go for brunch, get the pancakes, and pair it with a Pét Nat from the Loire. Although Zoe is no longer with Chez Ma Tante and has since moved on, the list still has her fingerprints all over it.
Toby Buggiani runs this long-standing Greenpoint bar / restaurant serving up plant-based and vegetable-focused Italian food (Toby himself has been a vegetarian for 25+ years). Behind the bar, you’ll find 10 chalk-labeled barrels of wine on tap, a conscious decision that ties into Toby's concept of reducing the restaurant's carbon footprint with fewer glass bottles and cork. Another benefit of having wines on tap? Taste a few things before deciding on your glass or carafe. If you do decide to go for a bottle, you can choose from a number of great Italian wines (like Bianco Orange from Abbazia San Giorgio) imported by Living Wine that are little tougher to find elsewhere.
Tucked away in the back behind the liquor, their small wine room is devoted to low intervention, low to no sulfur wines. Find Anthony and ask him what he’s excited about; he might give you a few music recommendations as well. Come here to get a bottle from Dufaitre or La Clarine Farm for a night in and go next door to get a pie from Paulie Gee's Slice Shop.
A gastropub by Andrew Tarlow (Diner, Marlow and Sons, etc.), Achilles Heel still feels like the cozy, low key place to catch up with old friends on a Sunday afternoon. This near waterfront bar has a curated, "not-overwhelming” wine list with special bottles like those by Partida Creus or Clos Lentiscus–perfect for sipping by the fire on a cold day.
The name itself, “dandelion wine,” dates back to a homemade, medicinal wine that’s rich and warm. Much like the drink, Dandelion Wine is a comforting, friendly spot that’s as much local hangout as wine store. When Lily Peachin opened the shop in 2008, she had the idea of making Dandelion Wine feel like a neighborhood dive bar. The shop preserves this concept today – with a down-to-earth staff, weekly tastings (paired with She Wolf bread), and plenty of dog treats.