Chances are you’ve walked up the Spring Street hill towards Broadway and spotted the sandwich board, inviting you in for today’s wine tasting. Head up the stairs and these days, the first thing you’ll see is sweet baby Layla. Likely in her mother, Annmarie’s arms. And you’re reminded very quickly of the juggling act of being a small business owner. Annmarie opened By The Bottle shop in 2018. Her goal was to bring unique, small-batch wines and spirits to historic downtown Saratoga, and educate us along the way. I stopped in to chat with Annmarie to learn a bit more about how she got into the wine and spirit retail space and to meet her new addition. And most importantly, to get some recommendations on a few wines to serve with my Thanksgiving meal this year.
SMALL BATCH WINES AND SPIRITS
After 25 years of working in restaurants, retail and wholesale, Annmarie knew that her perspective of the wine and spirits industry would benefit the consumer. From early on, Annmarie’s family was teaching her about wine. Specifically, how it compliments both good food and good company. In addition to a focus on New York State, BTB offers a variety of small-batch and reasonably-priced natural and sustainable wines. And several which will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving meal.
TO START THE MEAL
This Domaine des Sanzay French sparkling wine is a perfect way to kick off your holiday gathering. It’s also a great compliment to your charcuterie board. The crisp, refreshing natural wine is a great palette cleanser. It can be carried through your entire meal (for those who don’t want to put the bubbles down).
TO PAIR WITH THE MAIN EVENT
Annmarie stresses that many white wines can compliment your Thanksgiving meal. This Saveurs du Temps unoaked French Chardonnay is a medium-bodied sustainable white. It has notes of ripe apples without being too sweet.
This Maison Vialade French Pinot Noir is a great crowd pleaser, and a good alternative to the traditional Beaujolais Nouveau. (Beaujolais Nouveau could be limited this Thanksgiving season due to release date and delivery challenges). This sustainable wine is light-to medium in body, with notes of cherry and strawberry. Annmarie describes this one as a great blend of “old and new world.”
This corte Figaretto red is made in the Valpolicella region of Italy. It’s a great option for those who like something fuller-bodied. This sustainable wine with deeper dark fruit flavors is made from the corvina grape. It’s a great alternative for a Cab lover who’s up for an adventure this holiday season.
AN INTERESTING END NOTE
This spiced honey small batch liquor from New York State has very subtle baking spices, and is a great compliment to or feature of your dessert course. Not only could it be chilled and paired beautifully with your traditional Thanksgiving desserts or cheeses, but can also be used in tea or over ice cream. Better yet, get creative with that Hot Toddy recipe and tutorial I did with Salt & Char last year!
Each one of Annmarie’s Thanksgiving recommendations are $15 – $25 and can be ordered online and delivered right to your door before Thanksgiving (with enough lead time). Gift wrap is always available for that last-minute hostess or holiday gift. In addition to these services, BTB has a monthly “Bottle Club”. It starts at $50 per month, and gives you or a friend the option of trying at least three new wines per month. One, three and six month options are available.
During our chats, Annmarie commented several times that people over-complicate wine. She encourages you to step out of your box and try something different. The only way to know if you’ll like something is to stay curious, uncork something new, and give it a go.