Thoughts about an aged Zinfandel offline in NYC in October

I have just finished indexing out Zinfandel collection. My Carlisle zins start with 2005 and I have a small handful of Turley, Copain and Outpost that are even older.

We had three BIG RED wines with big red meat dinners (SQN, MacDonald and Bevan) that were, IMNSHO as the organizer, excellent. However, they were exclusionary with a $150 all in cost plus a bottle of the themed wine. I would like to arrange an aged zin dinner that is within reasonable parameters so cost is not a deterrent. I have lots of things teed up between now and Saturday October 12 (Yom Kippur evening) so I am looking for something after that. Let’s say Zins from California that are at least 15 years old (so 2009 and earlier), with a preference for even older bottlings.

I do not have a restaurant yet but I would like to keep it to under $80 all in, including tax, tip and corkage, which is not easy in Manhattan and may be impossible. There are a lot of places that we could keep it to that limit, BUT zinfandel is just not a good pairing with Peking Duck.

Are you interested in this and do you have any comments about any of the above?


I’d be up for this… I don’t think I have anything that old in the cellar, so I’d have to source.

Zinfandel and Mexican or Latin food works well

I’ve hosted a number of old vine offlines, they always overperform. We’ve had wines from the late ‘60s through 2000s and most were delightful. Well kept aged zinfandel can be a real treat.

At least corkage is only $10 at hawksmoor on monday, but you’d have to order ridiculously frugally & carefully to get under that $80 - esp all in!. If you went with a set menu (“order the strip or rump, one side”, we share salad to start) you might get to $110 all-in? But that seems overly joyless.

I would love to try some old zins w/meat. …

I am interested. I LOVE aged Zin. I also like Phils suggestion of Hawksmoor on Monday.

I see no chance of being under $80 at Hawksmoor…

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Zinfandel and pizza, Budget issue solved.


I may be able to make a deal with Arno’s in Manhattan for an Italian red sauce, pasta and miscellaneous meal.

I would like to do Hawksmoor, but the cost would be much more.

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I can probably help you leverage Arno if that’s where you want to go. I’ll discuss privately. I also have a place near MSG, biricchino. I can get them to waive corkage but glassware is clunky. We just need to do it on a non-game/concert night. With 30% tip it would probably be $60-80 all in there.

While the food was fine I was not at all impressed with Hawksmoor and would prefer not to go there.
I can get us in to Keens any night of the week with no corkage for similar food. If people can handle bringing glassware a Chinatown spot/PDH could also work great with Zin.
All that said October is super busy for me, it would have to be a M-T-W and I would have to confirm closer to the event no way I can plan now.


Keens is one of my favorites. If Jay is happy with raising the food cost a bit I definitely vote keens.

I would definitely like to attend if the date works, I’m fine with whatever the cost is but Keen’s does sound good. I do have some Zin for this in storage but I have to have it shipped from Cali once it finally cools down.

I was sort of banned from Keens when I organized a Not The La Paulee dinner and walked around the upstairs and gave everyone else in the restaurant our leftover GREAT wine about 10 years ago. But if someone knows a contact at Keens (other than the tall skinny woman with dark hair who ran the upstairs and recommended that I never return), I can look into it. We can always do one dinner at Keens and one a good pizza joint.

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I believe Keen’s current standard policy has a limit on corkage (2 bottles per table or something like that) (edit - just saw that Brent has an in).

I have old zin and if by any chance it works out to have this on Sunday night October 20 I should be in town and able to make it work.

So we can offer useful suggestions, do you have a list of restos you’ve been “sort of banned from”, Jay?

Or would it be quicker to list the ones you haven’t?


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I would be interested in participating subject to dates working out in October.

When we did the Musar vertical at Salma in East Village last year, the total came to $85 per person inclusive of tip and tax. Corkage is free although bringing your own stem is recommended. Just throwing it out there as an option since I think zins would go well with mezzes and shish kebabs.

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We had a great time at Salma but we could have used a tad more elbow room.


Just keep yer yap shut as opposed to sharing your story about getting kicked out with the whole damn restaurant and we will be fine.

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Interested in joining if the dates work out for me. Greek restaurant Symposium on West 113th St might be perfect for our $80 budget. I can call tomorrow and ask if they’d host us - we’re thinking of a week night, right?

Heard back from Greek restaurant Symposium:

They charge $25 corkage, but they’ll cut it down to $15 if the bill is at least $55 per person.

This puts us comfortably under $80. They are located in Morningside heights and the food is delicious with big portions.

Would this work for folks?