Smith & Vine and Stinky Bklyn
Brooklyn, New York
I stopped into the wine shop Smith & Vine one Friday night intending to grab a bottle from the $10 table and then bolt. But I got drawn into the new tasting room at the three-year-old shop, where owners Patrick Watson and Michele Pravda were setting out wines and cheeses brought over from Stinky Bklyn, the fantastic cheese shop they opened down the street last year.
Two tall oak tables were scattered with bottles for a blind tasting and, at the urging of a staff member, I found myself yelling out my flavor impressions, like "mushrooms" and "blackberries." Watson and Pravda know how to throw a good party, in part because they have both worked in the music business (he was an opera singer, she was in a rock band) and in restaurants (they met at Manhattan’s Lupa).
After the blind tasting, a staff member ran over to Stinky Bklyn to grab some Jasper Hill Winnimere to pair with a Staldmann Rotgipfler, an obscure Austrian grape he described as "Grüner Veltlineresque." The Winnimere, a washed-rind cow’s-milk cheese, is just one of more than 150 artisanal varieties the store carries, along with such unusual charcuterie as wild boar cacciatorini. Before they opened Stinky Bklyn, Pravda says, they would "have to go to one store for cheese, another for cured meats" when they threw a party. Now they’ve created a mini empire for entertaining, all on one block. —Jen Murphy