Astor Wine Quest

Like going on a pilgrimage, I prepared for the journey by determining what I could afford to carry back with me.

I would go by train to New York City–twice–in order to facilitate the return with several bottles of Quinta de Paços vinho branco. Whatever they had, I planned to bring home to Vivenda Vista de Paz.

Between arcane shipping laws and the in impact of COVID-19 on the City–and us all–I had had a visit to Astor Wines & Spirits on my list for 2020 but never made the trek. Shipping to Maryland was not an option. So when a meeting popped up in midtown in late August 2021, the stars aligned. I saw my chance.

After the meeting, I temporarily stowed my rollaboard and took an Uber down to Lexington and Third in the Village. I’ve not seen Greenwich and Wash Park since my teens. No time to tarry though–I wanted to preserve every precious minute carved out of my packed schedule for securing my Alvarinho, Loureiro, and Fernão Pires wines–all born in the DOC Vinho Verde, in the Minho of my fond memories.

The look on my face must have been crazy-mad as I entered the store, mask on, breathing carefully in the steamy summer afternoon so as not to fog up my readers as I descended the steps and zeroed in on the Portugal section.

I reviewed the shelf talkers, but the labels themselves led me in. Such a palette of favorites! Yes, the Fernão Pires (which you never see in the U.S.) and the 2019 Capitão-Mor Alvarinho, but also the Moscatel Galego Branco and Morgado de Perdigão too!

I took in the cashier’s inscrutable gaze as I slid the bottles into my back pack and a quickly purchased carrier bag to keep them padded for the journey home. For there they would provide accompaniment to mexhilöes and os sete peixes and smoked salmon…and the recollections of time so well spent at the quinta.

I would make another trip in October–also the product of a day trip into Manhattan for a small gathering. This time I made room for six bottles. I knew I would want more. Saude!

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