Bern’s Steakhouse (Tampa, Fla). Tour d’Argent (Paris, France). Bodega 1860 (Basque, Spain). Graycliff Hotel (Nassau, Bahamas). Now add Restaurant Latour (Hamburg, NJ).
That’s right…one of the greatest wine cellars in the world is less than sixty miles from New York City. Certainly one indicator of the sheer enormity of the cellar is when the Sommelier asks, “Would you be interested in the Red or White book this evening?” Needless to say, each carry the thickness of my Accounting I college text book and kept me busy to point where more than one kick under the table was required to move on.
The purpose of this post, and the many to follow, is just this, Curt, Joe and I wanted to share some great Cellar Tips and Wine Finds on where to eat, what dish to order, what wine to look for, what to pair, how long to decant, what are some great values, and what’s drinking today. There is no more fitting way to begin than including the cellar at Restaurant Latour and the wine of Chateau Rayas.
Cellar Tips and Wine Finds v1
Restaurant Latour and Chateau Rayas 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape
For those unfamiliar with Restaurant Latour, and its great cavern-like cellar, it is located at Grand Cascades Lodge in the Crystal Springs Resort. This is a popular ski and golf destination consisting of various lodges and restaurants. However, with a cellar that consists of 135,000 bottles, more than 9,000 unique labels, and a signature vertical of Chateau Latour dating back to 1863, you might say it is safe to add wine destination to the list of attractions. What I found to be even more exceptional to the size of the cellar was the value and provenance they delivered.
As a wine enthusiast flipping through the pages it is hard not to notice the significance of Chateau Rayas 2001 Chateauneuf du Pape on the list. It is one of those wines you do not find in the US as allocations are minute and demand outweighs supply and to put the value in perspective, it is a wine that could easily command more than two to three times what was listed at Latour! This was not a mistake, value and selection are part of the initial vision in establishing Grand Cascades as a true wine destination, not price gouging. On top of that, I can say with more than a decade in the industry I have rarely come across a bottle with this level of provenance – the wine was simply perfect and is reason for the visit alone.
A Word on Chateau Rayas
Chateau Rayas represents the more Burgundy side to Chateauneuf du Pape (CdP) and is easily one of the most sought after wines in the world. It is a wine from the right vintage that can appreciate like few others. The 2007, which was released just three years ago, has already appreciated more than seventy percent. What makes the wine standout is its finesse and complexity as opposed to the signature dense fruit, low acidity, high alcohol wines that come out of the region. Additionally, Chateau Rayas is a monovarietal based on Grenache as opposed to the thirteen varietals that many CdP producers choose from or include. With age few wines deliver the spectrum of nuances and the 2001 is drinking perfectly now with a one to two hour decant – direct from the cellar which with preparation provides for the perfect serving temperature. The meatiness and smokiness of the wine paired perfectly with the charred Filet, and went on to include nuances of sweet tobacco, saddle leather, minerals, rosemary, prunes, dark berry fruit, and more. This is a wine to seek out and drink over the next eight years.
One additional recommendation is to seek out the more reasonably priced Pignan from Rayas for an introduction what this producer is about and if it is the right selection for you.
Thank you so much to our wonderful clients, Houzz and fellow Houzz lovers for this amazing award. According to the site, the Customer Satisfaction award winners are picked based on homeowner members who submitted ratings for the Wine Cellar builders based on their experience working with them.
We’re delighted to recognize Joseph and Curtis among our ‘Best Of’ professionals for exceptional customer service as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes (Liza Hausman, Vice President of Community.
Houzz provides homeowners with an in-depth, 360-degree view of building, remodeling and design professionals through images of their work, reviews and an opportunity to interact with them directly in the Houzz community.
We are humbled and honored. We have based our company on work ethic, innovative design, and integrity. We believe that superb customer service should be the core value of any business. We’ll continue delivering this to each and every client. Each time we are hired to embark on a new project we truly consider it a great honor to be asked into our clients home. We build our projects by hand with much thought, planning, and pride. by providing trendsetting designs of unparalleled beauty and refinement, uncompromising quality, and technologically superior products. We design, manufacture, finish & install each custom wine cellar /cabinet.
#5: African Wenge Wow
This is photo #5 of the most popular wine cellar photo on Houzz. It’s made from African Wenge and stainless steel wine racks. It has (8) personalizes wine lockers for the homeowners guests to feel at home and store their personal wine. The entrance is floor to ceiling glass and metal which matched the (3) custom stainless steel wine racks.
#4: The Rustic Tuscan
This is photo #4 which is a traditional rustic wine cellar. The outside facade boasts (2) custom windows with (2) half barrels and a grand Mahogany wrought iron door. The inside is made of natural Mahogany wine racks and a custom mural of the families Tuscan estate. This wine cellar holds just over 1,000 bottles.
#3: A Big Boy’s Cellar
This 3,000+ Darien, CT wine room was built from the ground up and features a custom tasting table, rolling ladder, and stone wall. The wine racks are made from Sapele Mahogany and are finished with clear lacquer. The room has a gorgeous chandelier, sconces, and accent lighting. This is what we call a big boy’s wine cellar!
#2: Pocono’s Powerhouse
#2 is the log cabin wine cellar. This wine room was built in a gorgeous log cabin in the Poconos, PA. The custom wine cellar features a one of a kind wine barrel vaulted ceiling. The wine racks are made of Mahogany and sit on a custom blue stone ledge. The accent lighting and barrel tasting table are sure to delight all that enter. The overall bottle capacity is 1200.
#1: Hoboken No Jokin’
And the #1 wine cellar photo on Houzz is…………..smooth, sleek, and sexy! This custom wine cabinet was built in Hoboken, NJ and holds 800+ bottles. The wine cabinet is made of stainless steel and clear glass with stainless steel door pulls that match the racking. There is a custom cooling unit and digital thermostat for optimal climate. I think it’s fair to say wine has never been so pampered!
As you can see Joseph & Curtis can design and build in almost any style or material so please contact us so we can begin the buildout of your wine cellar dreams!
Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars just appeared on the Fox Business show with Tracy Byrnes. It was a four minute segment about some interesting design trends in the marketplace.
J&C would like to personally thank Fox Business and Tracy Byrnes for the amazing opportunity.
The Main Dining Room
Overlooking Central Park treats you and your guests to a special dining experience rarely encountered in a club environment. The menu ranges from hearty traditional fare to the most exciting and innovative cuisine, while the wine list invariably draws compliments from serious wine lovers.
One diminishing feature of the main dining room was the lack of wine storage…that’s where Joseph & Curtis expertise rallied!
We met with the club officials and began to detail their concerns and desires. The club was very specific about bottle capacity and the fact that the wine cabinets must match the two hundred year old ceiling in the main dining room.
Global Architectural firm, Woods Bagot, were commissioned to redesign the main dining room at NYAC and Joseph & Curtis worked closely with Woods Bagot to integrate our custom wine cabinet with the redesign of this historic space.
This formulated the master design of two 14′ tall x 11′ wide wine towers to be situated on the 11th floor; not an easy task in NYC landmark buildings which have historically small elevators! The engineering of the cabinets are a trade secret but what we can tell you is they fit like a glove! The wine cabinets hold a total of 800+ bottles with the left side being strictly for white wines and the right side for the red wines. The wine cabinets are built from walnut, metal, and glass with a custom finish matching the aesthetics on their magnificent ceiling.
It is impossible to detail all of the entire accomplishments – both sporting and commercial – of the New York Athletic Club and its members. Suffice it to say that the Club holds a unique place in the sporting pantheon, a position it bolsters with each passing year, but now with the incredible wine cabinets they can offer an incredible amenity few clubs or restaurants can offer.
At Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars we consider ourselves wine architects. Our designs are timeless, functional, durable and easy to maintain. We pride ourselves on delivering projects that are consistently on time and within budget. If you desire to build a wine cellar, wine cabinet , or any type of wine storage in New York City, The Hamptons, Miami, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago areas, please contact one of our design consultants. You will be pleased to know that both owners (Joe and myself, Curt) are personally dedicated in EVERY detail our firm designs, builds, and installs.
About The New York Athletic Club
The New York Athletic Club was voted the #1 Athletic club in the United States, the #1 Private Club in New York State and the distinguished Emerald Club 2013. NYAC has so many amenities for its distinguished members and guests boasts 21 floors which include: squash, boxing, judo, aquatics, gymnasium, exercise equipment, basketball courts and track just to name a few.
Visit their website to learn more about the club’s rich history and impact on the sports world.
2013 has been a very memorable year for Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars…from winning the prestigious “Best of Houzz 2013″ award, (2) appearances on Fox Business, and (2) features in the Wall Street Journal, followed by a feature in Wine Spectator! But none of this would be possible without a great network of designers, wine merchants, builders, contractors, homeowners, and architects choosing J&C to be their wine storage provider. One thing Joe and I always stress is the importance of providing superior designs, service, and craftsmanship…so with that in mind we wish to say thank you for the opportunity to build a home for your wine and we want to wish everyone a happy new year and a blessed holiday season.
Until New Years, check out what people are saying about us, and contact us so we can bring your dream project to life in 2014:
In 2003, at just 26, American Alpana Singh became the world’s youngest female Master Sommelier. Singh is now co-owner of The Boarding House in Chicago and recently was awarded the Sommelier of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
She was kind enough to sit down a few moments and share stories about her life, wine, and of course her award winning restaurant.
Pour a glass, let’s chat with Alpana Singh.
Where did you grow up?
Monterey, CA but my family is from Fiji…they settled in the US in 1970 and began working in the restaurant industry. I grew up around the hospitality industry way before I ever got into wine.
How did you catch the wine bug?
My first job in Monterey at a restaurant…I first applied for the job and they turned me down because I didn’t know anything about wine…but I promised to learn and they took a flyer on me. William Shearer, who is now a Master Sommelier, was the wine director at that time. He had great classes – very engaging and fun – and I found myself paying more and more attention to it. I fell in love with it.
Tell me about the Air Force.
All of my cousins were in the Navy so I thought it would be a great way to see the world but at the last minute I was disqualified because of a hearing issue. I have great respect for the men and women who serve and it’s probably lucky for them I didn’t make it!
Tell me about The Master Sommelier.
I passed the advance level at 21 and the Masters at 26..I was one of 9 or 10 woman at that time. It was very hard but when your in the moment I was at the top of my game…flash cards, memory games etc…it was alot of information but I loved it.
Merry Edwards…love her Pinot and her approach to business. Also Laura Catena…she is a wonderful person.
What inspired you to open The Boarding House?
We found an incredible space and the rest is history! There’s really no good reason to open a restaurant…but I guess it’s in my blood!
Favorite Chicago restaurants?
Gibson’s and Publican
Person you would most like to have dinner with?
My great great Grandmother to find out more about why I am the way I am…and know what type of people they were like.
Hottest markets to keep an eye on?
The entire Balkan region. (Croatia,Turkey, and Chile will get better and better)
What’s the best-value region today?
Italy. I’m still discovering grape varieties from Italy – it has wines that are interesting and diverse. Spain has good values but can get too homogenous in the ripe fruit bombs.
Why is it important to cellar wine?
Wine is one of those great things where you can revisit pass moments…and I think when you cellar something your almost stopping time. It’s because it’s flavor and our sense of smell you can’t do that with a painting…cellaring wine allows us to connect with the past and go back in time…it’s the greatest form of time travel.
What’s your desert island wine?
Riesling! Because you’re going to be on the island a long time and it ages well. You could chill it in the water so it stays cold. There’s a lot of seafood and tropical fruit – it’s an island, right? You’ve got to think about food pairings with your desert-island wine.
We are so proud and humbled to be highlighted in the prestigious Wall Street Journal. We would like to thank all of the architects, designers, clients, and of course our special staff. At Joseph and Curtis, we take tremendous pride in our design capabilities and stand ready to create the wine feature of your dreams.
Watch the video interview below, and read the story full story From Traders to Cellars:
Curt was recently interviewed by Elin Huws, of Borro.com where he explained how proper wine storage adds value – not only to the price of wine, but even to real estate.
Read more - A Conversation on Wine Cellars
Glass and wood wine cabinets have been extremely popular over the years, but never has there been as many options as today. The wine cabinet can be an expression of your love of both wine and design, or simply a way to store more wine in constrained areas.
We are working on wine cabinets for projects in Miami, Philadelphia, NYC, New Jersey, Connecticut, Jacksonville and Tampa FL, and California, to simply name a few places. These wine cabinets range from stainless steel and glass, solid wood, white oak fumed wood and glass, African wenge and glass etc, etc. The wine racks can be either wood or metal, or both!
Vintage View J&C custom “spines” or metal rods enable the design team to allow the wine storage to simply “float,” and to include all types of LED lighting which allows for incredible design elements. Seamless glass or wood framed doors allow the wine to be seen from all angles of the space, and with many new cooling options the choices can be limitless.
We would love to design the wine cabinet of your dreams. Please contact us to set up an appointment.
We would also like to announce a new customer, the prestigious NY Athletic Club, where we will build two glass towers similar to the photos here.
Being one of the largest designers and builders of custom wine cellars in the USA, Joseph & Curtis is always looking to add extra value to our clients’ needs. Our design team stands ready to lay out the wine cellar of your dreams.
Our 3D Cad drawings present a variety of layouts to meet your wine storage requirements. They are very specific and leave nothing to the imagination. Our drawings will calculate the exact bottle count, and show specific custom elements such as stained glass, sconces, stone work, etc. Our software also shows the exact number of case bins, 750 ml storage, horizontal displays, large format, and any specific feature you may want.
The cellar design process is pretty seamless. You send us the dimensions, layout, and specific features you want in your wine cellar or wine cabinet and we will create the wine cellar of your dreams! Be it a contemporary wine cellar with glass and metal wine racks, or traditional wood storage with crown and toe kicks, in Miami, New York, Aspen, or Boston…let the design team at Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars make your dreams become a reality!
J&C will be featured in the Wall Street Journal in October for one of our award winning designs which is a 14′H x 11′W stainless steel wine cabinet, designed, delivered, and installed in a New York City apartment.
Simply send us your dimensions and desires and we will take care of the rest!
The definition of a log cabin is “a house built from logs.” It is a fairly simple type of log house. A distinction should be drawn between the traditional meanings of “log cabin” and “log house.” Historically, most “log cabins” are simple ones- 1½-story structures, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less architecturally sophisticated than a proper log house (wikpedia).
The Poconos PA is where Joseph & Curtis designed and built a beautiful extremely detailed wine cellar which is in a one-of-a-kind “log cabin”. The owner is anything but ordinary and reached out to J&C to design a unique wine cellar which would fit the motif of his amazing custom built log cabin.
J&C visited the log cabin to get a true picture of the flow and some of the materials used in the space…and mind you, this log cabin has a kitchen that would make any chef die to work in it…a custom movie theater room, 10+ flat screens, 4 car garage with 3 lifts, boats, four wheelers and, of course. Sculptured bears at every turn…but what it did not have was a signature wine room.
We decided to build the custom wine racks from Sapele wood and designed them to sit on a stone ledge, and to have accent lighting throughout the wine cellar. We also designed and installed a 1/2 barrel one-of-a-kind barrel ceiling with a chandelier. The wine room boasts over 1250 bottles of storage and features horizontal displays to show off some of the client’s magnums and premier bottles.
At Joseph & Curtis Custom Wine Cellars, we simply do not build wine cellars or wine rooms…but rather wine masterpieces. So please send us your specs and have J&C design and build the wine feature of your dreams.
We’re starting to see more demand for our customers for glass wine cellars. Why the shift? Here’s a few advantages for a glass wine cellar:
- Easy visibility and access to your collection. You can see your wine bottles easily — and show off their glorious bottles in a glass wine cellar installed off of your dining room or kitchen.
- No worries about damaging your wine collection anymore. Advances in glass technology means that we install UV-protective glass that will shield your wine collection from damaging UV rays.
- Sleek and contemporary. These glass wine cellars fit well with modern apartment living.
- Accomodates the traditional home too! We have installed glass wine cellars that have integrated nicely with more traditional home decor. Several of our clients have installed stone and glass wine cellars that worked wonderfully with their Tuscan interior style.
Some examples of our Custom Glass Wine Cellars:
Building a wine cellar in NYC is always a challenge but something we enjoy doing…one of our current wine cellar projects in River Terrace, NYC is currently under construction. It consists of a complete gut job and the conversion of a bathroom to a wine cellar.
We met with the other half of the design team, Riccardo and Flavia of Flavia Portugal Design, to work through cooling and humidity issues and the placement of equipment and trunk locations. The wine cellar will feature 2 walls of floor-to-ceiling glass and stainless steel wine racks….very slick and clean, yet still able to squeeze in over 700 bottles for storage. The feature wall will be (5) bottles deep of custom stainless wine racks to help reach that capacity, one more reason why custom is always better.
We also walked through LED lighting and locations which will help set the mood and highlight the owner’s incredible wine collection. And where is wine happiest? 14 stories above the ground with an incredible view and a perfect 60 degrees and 67% humidity!
We compiled some images of recent modern wine cellars we have built – enjoy this video with plenty of design ideas!
A video of our latest project, completed recently in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City:
Joseph and Curtis Custom Wine Cellars recently completed a 500+ bottle stainless steel and glass wine cabinet. This cabinet was designed by my business partner Joseph Kline. The cabinet measures 14′ tall and 10′ wide with metal wine racks in the lower portion and sapele mahogany wine racks in the upper portions.
The cabinet was designed to fit into a niche located next to the NYC apartment’s dining room with three objectives: presentation, presentation, and presentation. The cabinet is visible from the entire apartment. Add the glorious led lights at night and you have a sexy, and incredibly clean and sleek showpiece. The glass has a special tint to avoid UV rays from the sun which can be harmful to the preservation of wine longevity.
The stainless steel was selected to bring an “urban” restaurant feel into the client’s Chelsea NYC apartment. This stainless steel, refrigerated wine cabinet is truly a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Working in the Big City can be quite a challenge, but that’s why you need a design team such as Joseph and Curtis.
Please give us a call and we will bring your dreams to reality.
Our clients – both residential and restaurant — have become more interested in contemporary custom wine cellar designs. Here’s some images of wine cellars we have built featuring glass walls and doors.
Jeff Gordon may be best known as one of the greatest Nascar drivers of all time, but you may be surprised to know he has that same passion for wine. So it’s only natural Jeff decided to dive into wine making.
The first vintage of the Jeff Gordon Collection – a 2004 Carneros Chardonnay- was released in late 2005, followed by a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Napa Valley Merlot, also of the 2004 vintage. In addition to Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot, they have introduced Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Napa Valley Rosé of Syrah and a signature red blend labeled “Joie de Vivre”. One of the highlights for Jeff has been naming two of the vintages after his children in the years they were born- the 2007 wines are dedicated to his daughter, Ella Sofia, and the 2010′s for his son Leo.
Let’s catch up with Jeff and see what he has been up to.
I think there are similarities to racing w every business and every walk of life. You have to enjoy it, and be passionate about it in order to be successful at it. If you get into the wine business you have to be experienced and have a great team around you and I am fortunate to be able to have that both on and off the race track.
How did you start w racing?
It first started w bmx but my step dad always wanted to get into racing as a kid which he never got a chance to do, so when I got older he bought a car for me and the rest is history.
Is growing up in California part of the reason why you developed a passion for wine?
For sure…we use to go to different race tracks and we would drive through Napa valley and I would always notice how different it was then everywhere else in the bay area. The vineyards were beautiful and I was always intrigued by it, so when I got older and had a chance to start enjoying wine and traveling I always had in the back of my mind that I would love to get into the wine world.
The one that really got me into wine was a bottle of Joseph Drouhin Batard-Montrachet…I had never seen a white decanted before. Gordon took one sip of the white burgundy and declared it “liquid gold”. It was then that his passion for fine wine began.
Favorite wine/food pairing?
Yes pretty simple…red wine and red meat! I love a big juicy steak, wild mushrooms, asparagus, but I will put wine with almost anything! I really do enjoy French food where I usually start w a French Burgundy, but I really enjoy red the most. Opus, and Harlan are two of my favorites. Kistler is also one of my favorites.
I been fortunate to get quite a few but the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 94…it really changed my life.
Dale Earnhardt Sr…I was the new kid on the block and he was the veteran…in 95 to battle him head to head and win was amazing!
Was Dale Sr nice to you?
Yes…but on the racetrack he wasn’t nice to anyone Off the track he was fantastic.
Daniel in NY is my favorite. Auberge du Soleil Restaurant in Napa and Barrington’s in Charlotte.
Tell us about the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation:
It came through meeting kids w cancer, and one of my crew chiefs had a son that was diagnosed when he was 1 and it really opened my eyes what these families go through. We have been able to do alot of good work over the years and we are really proud of it.
Tell me about your wine:
I could talk about them all day long, were pretty proud of them. We are young and new in the business and we plan on being here for a long time. It also makes for great gifts for my kids teachers,neighbors etc
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I feel like I have a few more good years of driving left, I will always be a part of auto racing of some sort of fashion. I would like to do more with our foundation (since my schedule is so hectic now) and hopefully that is the same case with the wine.
Joseph and Curtis will be offering a limited amount of signed Jeff Gordon magnums $250 (and the wine is VERY good!) please email all orders to firstname.lastname@example.org
(Curt) Being a father of three I want to compliment you with how you have handled yourself with all of your success and the fact that you have made your faith be such an integral part of your life…you should really be proud of that.
(Jeff) Why thank you, I really try and work hard with that…so hearing that means alot. God Bless.