HI, FRIENDS. WE'RE OPEN ONLY FOR PICKUP AND DELIVERY. TUES-SUN, 10AM TO 6PM. WE GOT YOU. HI, FRIENDS. WE'RE OPEN ONLY FOR PICKUP AND DELIVERY. TUES-SUN, 10AM TO 6PM. WE GOT YOU.

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Duplessis is Back

Duplessis is Back

We're stoked to have Chablis from Duplessis back in the shop! The family domaine is run by fifth-generation vigneron Lilian Duplessis. He's made the estate one of the few certified organic producers in Chablis. His careful maintenance of the land is apparent as each wine is a precise expression of a specific plot or a blend of Chardonnay from multiple plots amongst his eight hectares. 

Each plot is vinified independently in stainless steel vats and all the wines spend 12-15 months there before racking. Most are then typically barrel aged for six months (Vaugiraut, Chabils, and Petit Chablis only see stainless and Les Clos is in barrel for nine months). Minimal sulfur is used at bottling, if necessary. Lilian makes a point to forego sulfur entirely if he can.

As anyone who's had them knows, these wines are really special. They give you a taste of each mindfully cultivated and cared for parcel. The beautiful expressions of clay and limestone soils come through a variety of aromas, flavors, and textures. These wines are all about terroir and they're a good match for the stormy days of August and the coming change that signifies. 

Here is one of our favorite offerings from Duplessis:

Chablis 1er Cru Montmains "27 Mois D'Elevage" 2015
The grapes that make this robust wine come from Montmains, two plots of clay-limestone rich soils in Chablis. This vineyard sits on the left bank of the Serein River. Its name means "medium-sized mountain," as the vines are elevated and surrounded by two taller peaks. 

2015 was the last vintage of high yields until 2018, and since Lillian holds his wines back in barrel long enough, he saw what frost and hail did to his crop in 2016 and 2017 (yields were down around 75%). Because of this he held back some 15s in barrel to release over the few years in between so he didn't have as severe a shortage of wine. This wine was vinified normally but saw around 40 months of elevage!


It packs in the minerality and acidity while remaining very delicate. It's the perfect marriage between savory, smoky notes, and some more tropical fruit flavors like mango. Enjoy it on a late summer evening. 

- Erica Christian

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Meet Kayla (Our First Major Taylor Fellow)!

Meet Kayla (Our First Major Taylor Fellow)!

We're incredibly excited to announce Kayla Mensah as the inaugural Major Taylor fellow at Domestique. She's an enthusiast of the high-low pairing and loves all things involving Italian wine and Caribbean food (especially when combined). Before coming to wine, Kayla studied and worked in mechanical engineering. Her end goal is to increase inclusivity in wine by cultivating a space that focuses on wine and food from underrepresented regions. Think: juicy pet nats with Jamaican patties.

We asked Kayla a couple questions to help everyone get to know more about her before the fellowship. Follow along @winegriot.

What are you drinking these days and why?
It currently feels like I'm swimming in the Devil's swamp, so I've been almost exclusively drinking bubbly and lighter reds. The "Monkey Jacket" red blend from Cruse Wine Co. and the "Le Temps d'Aimer" VDF Rouge 2018 from Le Briseau were fast favorites.
Why did you apply for the fellowship? For a long time, the wine industry has been all but inaccessible to people who look like me. As a consumer, I was stereotyped, and as a professional, I have been ignored and underestimated. This program creates a safe, affirming place for those of us who have been overlooked while disrupting the status quo. Being able to learn invaluable skills in an environment that is rooted in inclusivity and activism (plus really good natural wine) is a dream come true, and I’m very excited to have this opportunity.

Beyond wine, what makes you giddy with joy? The ocean (or any swimmable body of water) and good food. A combination of the two, if I'm especially lucky.

Identity is layered and complex, for everyone. Tell us a little about your background and what makes you you. I'm a New Yorker at heart. A mash up of all the cultures that raised me in a 90s version of the Bronx. As a child of Jamaican and Ghanaian immigrants, my happy places usually involved a lot of food, drinks, and impossibly loud music. I'm also queer, which doesn't necessarily always play with the aforementioned cultures nicely but leads to some interesting (if not exhausting) debates. All of these parts of me inform how I move through the world, including the wine world.

Fuck, Marry, Kill for mezcal, Savagnin, and zero sulfur wine: Marry Savagnin, fuck mezcal, and kill zero sulfur wine (I know, I'm sorry) .

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Baroque in its Own Kinda Way

Baroque in its Own Kinda Way

Ludovic Chanson Implicite

Bach the Goldberg Variations Glenn Gould

by Peter Njoroge, Domestique young gun

One of the (only) great things about being alive in 2020 is that for a pretty minuscule amount of money you can summon, like a deity, pretty much anything in the history of recorded music at all times. Music can be like wallpaper that follows you and your headphones around anywhere that you go. I try pretty hard to use this awesome responsibility to check out as much new material as I can, but I always seem to gravitate toward the things that never seem to get old. Glenn Gould’s 1981 recording of The Goldberg Variations is one of those special albums that I rarely miss a day without listening.

Gould’s playing here is non-sensational, unromantic, and the music is really baroque. Even as far as classical music is concerned, nothing here jumps out at you or, maybe, is even supposed to jump out at you. It’s not very cool, Gould isn’t very cool, and yet it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard. His revisitation of the Goldbergs (he recorded the same variations in 1955) is so clear, so stylized, so full of artistic conviction that I can’t really get my head around what’s happening, and the music sounds brand new every time I listen to it. If you’re not paying attention, the temptation to check out can be overwhelming. In all honesty, to be very reductive, the album contains a lot of similar-sounding solo piano. But, if you really tune in, you get to be a part of something that was a lifetime in the making. 

This is what my favorite producers do and why I love their wines. I’m similarly floored by the dedication to craft and the manifestation of nuance that my favorite winemakers are able to create. In the same way as Gould, they marry expertise, understanding, and individual personality in a way that’s truly singular.

So, they might not all have the most beautiful labels, they might not all have the coolest story and, honestly, someone might just have to tell you about it. But, like few other things in this world, all my favorite wines inspire the same kind of ecstasy that listening to Gould’s playing does.  

- Peter Njoroge

WINE I'M DRINKING RIGHT NOW: Ludovic Chanson Implicite, baroque in its own kinda way
LISTENING TO: A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard, exploratory and meditative

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Under Pressure: Griselda & Pet Nat

Under Pressure: Griselda & Pet Nat

Les Cognettes Pet Nat

What Would Chine Gun Do by Griselda

by Erica Christian, sommelier and activist

Natural wine and hip-hop make for a perfect pairing. Yet, we fail to make that connection with certain styles of rap music. Yeah, we heard Jay-Z when he said, “ain’t no stoppin the Champagne from poppin” at the end of “Politics As Usual” on Reasonable Doubt. We felt that. People can ride with the celebration, but what about the grittier sounds? It’s easy to pop Champagne when listening to Jay, but rappers like Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and Westside Gunn are rarely associated with wine so directly, especially bubbles. These three rappers and their group Griselda actually make the perfect pairing for pet nat. Is it really so surprising?

You see, hip-hop is terroir expressive; an expression of the holistic natural environment. Griselda’s style of rap is street rap: raw, organic, and gritty. They come from my hometown of Buffalo, NY. It's a poor, segregated industrial city plagued with violence and drug use. The struggle to grow up there is one I have been privy to and this environment is clearly represented in their music. Street rap is often painted as glorification of violence and drug use, but we value wine that's indicative of its home and don’t call that glorification. We should do the same when listening to Griselda, as it allows you a taste of their home, no different than a Loire Valley Folle Blanche/Chardonnay pet nat

More than being representative of the streets, Griselda is the result of the pressure to survive in that environment and the success of that story. Surviving under pressure is what produces the often soft but volatile bubbles of our favorite sparkling natty wines. We drink them during celebrations and gatherings. We love them because they transform in the bottle and bring artistry to the grapes that grew from struggling vines. Griselda deserves that same love alongside your natty bubbles. Their music is something to both contemplate and celebrate.

When we taste and listen, we engage with something new, but also very personal. To drink a pet nat while listening to Griselda's album What Would Chine Gun Do? (WWCD) is to immerse yourself in the extremely personal experience of navigating and surviving under pressures beyond any individual's control. Sit back. Crack a bottle open and enjoy while listening from beginning to end. Let the words and experience envelop you. Let them open your heart to something with which you may be unfamiliar. Let the wine carry you through their hardships and triumphs. Finish the last drop in celebration of their survival as it has truly created a work of art.

- Erica Christian

DRINKING RIGHT NOW: Les Cognettes pet nat, slightly sweet and rustic
LISTENING TO: What would Chinegun Do? (WWCD) by Griselda, honest and organic

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A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Erica Christian

A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Erica Christian

A week ago, after a slew of emails exclaiming “Black Lives Matter”, I received an email announcing Wine and Spirit Education Trust certification scholarships. The email acknowledges that POC are “vastly underrepresented” in the three-tier system for wine and spirits. Alongside this content is an infographic from a study that revealed a 2% Black/African representation in the three-tier system. Before the offering of scholarships, it is stated that this underrepresentation is both “disturbing” and “suspected”. That one email represents one of my greatest frustrations with the wine world and the mostly white representation in mentor and leadership positions. To be Black and work in the world of wine is to hold constant disappointment. It’s to hear the acknowledgment of how underrepresented we are and to know that everyone should have seen it all along. 
 
If diversity is an image and multiculturalism is a practice, the wine world partakes in neither. I continue to receive misguided messages about wine scholarship offerings and white sommeliers giving advice and mentorship to BIPOC. This is not inclusivity. Black voices in the wine industry need to be centered. I don’t need a scholarship to partake in an exclusive structural learning system, I need a platform. 
 
Wine is my passion. For me, the job is to give people an experience that leads to learning more about what they like and fuels their own passion to explore more. I want to do this for everyone, especially BIPOC. Moving forward, white leadership in the wine world needs to share and release their platforms to Black wine professionals and educators.  I see the changing of systems that determine deductive tasting descriptors. I see more Black wine educators and community efforts to get more Black folx engaged with information about wine. I see a wine world where I can be unapologetically me, unapologetically Black, and still be regarded as knowledgeable and professional. As Julia Coney, an incredible wine educator and boss seller, said, “I’m not hired to be peaceful.” We need to do more than just acknowledge these discrepancies behind closed doors, we need to correct and directly challenge those who uphold racist systems and participate in our exclusion. We must always speak up and demand consequences for those who continue to discriminate against Black folx, especially Black womxn in wine. I am of the mentality that we as Black folx build our own communities and our own table when we are excluded.
 
Wine is an agricultural product and we all deserve access as guests, sommeliers, growers, and winemakers. It is time we take action to disrupt these systems.

Erica Christian is a DC-based sommelier & activist.

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A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Bianca Sanon

A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Bianca Sanon

I’ve been “working in wine” for the past four years, give or take a few months. I started getting serious about my wine studies in late 2016 - early 2017, and my experiences have always been tied to service. Microaggressions have been at the forefront of my experience as a server, sommelier, floor manager, and every role in between. One time, when I was working in a restaurant in North Carolina, a guest asked for my name (Bianca), and upon telling him, he quickly responded “Beyonce?!?!” Everyone at the table loved that joke. And, somehow, almost as if on cue, I was subjected to that same experience three different times that week. 

Microaggressions are always difficult to navigate as a hospitality worker -- should I speak up and correct the guest, is that kind of interaction inappropriate, would I or should I even be able to control my emotions in addressing the issue? The tragedy of this moment is that it took the overdue recognition of Black death, one after the other, and a worldwide movement to make it possible for us as Black service industry workers to talk about and confront these instances of microaggressions and how they deeply affect us. The beauty of this moment, particularly in the time of COVID-19, is the realization that community has nothing to do with proximity, as my dear friend Imane Hanine put it so clearly. Although based in Miami, I have been able to process so many issues that I’ve had as a Black hospitality worker and as a Black sommelier with fellow Black women who are based throughout the country, from Philly to Napa, and we have had the actual time and energy to sit and listen to each other, a luxury we certainly would not have had under normal circumstances.

So many thoughts, scenarios and questions have come from our conversations: What happens when the world opens back up and the restaurant industry fundamentally changes? Who will be chosen to move forward when restaurants open back up? Do you respect me for my knowledge or are you afraid of being called out? What happens to people like us who decide to speak up and don’t have a community to fall back on? What do we envision when we talk about inclusion? How inclusive can we be as an industry if we have always been more interested in allocations than structural oppression? How do we envision an industry striving towards inclusivity when it is driven by the concept of exclusivity? What is our collective goal as an industry? How far are we willing to go?

In the few conversations I’ve had with both old friends and new, it’s been clear that we do in fact have the power to challenge the norms of our industry and institute change. When we ask about the repercussions of speaking up, we envision actual structural change in the business in question and amplifying the voices of the traditionally oppressed, offering them a platform to submit grievances, possibly through establishing a third-party HR department that can hold business owners accountable. When we ask about inclusion, we imagine a future where the concept of access is at the forefront of business practices, encompassing everything from approachable pricing, especially for businesses in gentrifying neighborhoods, to QTPOC/BIPOC-led events to de-escalation training for all members on staff. 

In short, we may not have all of the answers, but being Black in the wine industry has always come with a lot of questions, and it feels good to finally start asking them. 

Bianca Sanon is a sommelier and soon-to-be bookstore/café owner.

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A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Eric Moorer

A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Eric Moorer

We are all so conditioned to fight for our success that we often skip over our missed opportunities. But this is the moment where we should reflect on times where we could have done more, spoken up, and taken action. And I know that I’m not alone in feeling that I have had some shortcomings when it comes to inclusion in wine.
 
A little background for you: While I claim Pittsburgh as home, I did a bit of growing up in Charlotte, NC in a suburban neighborhood where we were the only Black family for years. Houses had ample yards, and each backyard was seemingly a small forest. At that time in my life, I was known for athletics and academics, which often times gave me a pass that even some of my white friends wouldn’t get. I lived in a world of privilege that I did not care to see or even acknowledge. Breaking into the nearby pool to swim at midnight? Cops drove me home. Smashing mailboxes? The cops laughed and sent me on my way. I was trained not to see that my treatment was different from anyone else’s experiences.
 
Even my foray into wine has been laden with opportunities that I now see others who look like me have not received. Small things like tasting invites, or larger things like having your restaurant asked to host awards.
 
Earlier in my career, I never took the time to look around to see that I was either the only, or one of two people of color, instead enjoying and embracing my O.N.I.F.C. status. Or maybe I was just too selfish to care. I was too busy focusing on being in the room to remember to hold the door for anyone behind me. But I’m here now, eyes open, willing to share my past deficiencies to show that we can all be guilty of not doing enough.
 
What matters now is that we’re shifting the focus to highlight the places and people that we neglected before.  We must make up for lost time and failed inclusion—there is a duty for each and every one of us, myself included, to make sure we remember that we did not get here without support, and now it is time to support people who have been overlooked for far too long. Growth is seeing beyond yourself.

Eric Moorer is a sommelier, was part of the opening team at Domestique, and is our Director of Sales.

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A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Lee Campbell

A Focus on Black Voices (in Natural Wine): Lee Campbell

I'm a born contrarian. Not argumentative, mind you. But just always looking for an alternative approach, a third way. Coming up, I was raised to be Bougie AF. And I often went along with it...at times, quite happily. But when the Elders weren't looking, I was sometimes prone to acting out, trying out, showing out. I was a curious girl who always felt compelled to explore.

When I graduated college, worried that I might be constrained to a life of predictability, I knocked on the kitchen door of a restaurant I adored (the D.C. institution, Restaurant Nora), and asked for a job. They obliged, and my work in food and hospitality (and ultimately, wine) commenced.

I am forever indebted to that opportunity because it validated my natural desire to challenge the status quo, while also demanding that I do so within the professional sphere. As restaurateurs, the Pouillon-D'Amato clan worked relentlessly to address dissonance within American food pathways, and were key players in creating a market for organic, local ingredients. Food should be joyful and nourishing, yes. But food could also be a mission; and food in America was inherently political. This sense of purpose gave me the strength to begin to carve out my own path. And I needed that strength, because as a first-generation West Indian American, great things were expected, and food and service were clearly perceived as a step backward. Yet, I couldn't shake it. I was inspired.

I made my way back to New York, where I was raised, and worked in some fantastic places. A barrage of important restaurants, a bread company, a food consultant...wherever I felt drawn in by feeling part of a community and a larger purpose. Believing that I had already disappointed my family actually liberated me to do whatever I pleased. But wine was not initially on my radar. To me, it reeked of elitism and was filled with people who didn't look like me. But surprisingly, via the encouragement, support and mentoring of many of those people who didn't look like me, white men like Joe Dressner, Terry Theise and Charlie Woods; and white women like Beth von Benz and Anita Katzman, I began to work as a bona fide wine professional. This was before the obsession with credentials and certifications, before anyone dare utter the misguided honorific, "celebrity somm." The business was filled with people who also seemed to be disappointing their folks. And yet they were impassioned, inspired and caring. I had found my tribe.

A life-changing moment occurred at a luncheon with Michel Chapoutier. While he remains a titan of the industry, in those days, he was also a bit of a renegade: the stubbly Braille on dem labels espousing less-heralded varieties like Roussanne and what-not. In those days, I was usually the only person of color in the room, and also one of the few women. As we dined and imbibed in the lovely garden room of the old Provence in Soho, I snuck a peek at his hands. Callused. Pillowy and well-tended, but definitely callused in spots. That sighting was one of a string of road signs that told me that I belonged in this world. His hands reminded me of my grandfather, a farmer in Saint Catherine, Jamaica, whose own callused hands tended to pigs and sugar cane. Honest men doing honest work. Were grapes really so different than bananas? I decided they weren't.

We are currently experiencing a reckoning both in this country and within the wine industry. It's necessary. It's overdue. My path was truly not the normal one, particularly for women of color. I was lucky. I was impetuous. I was strangely confident. I thank my mother and my grandmother for that brash sense of entitlement. But honestly, the path to wine shouldn't just be open to heedless Black girl knuckleheads as some one-off. It should be an open and welcoming job path for anyone who seeks it, whether they run into the "right" folks en route or not. Whether they have something to prove, or just want to earn a paycheck in a pretty fun way. Whether they want to be big stars...or just be part of a tribe, that in its best expression, feels a lot like family.

Lee Campbell is a wine consultant and sommelier based in Brooklyn.

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TAKEOUT of the WEEK

TAKEOUT of the WEEK

ALEX: Altanta born, fluent in three langauges, hired at Domestique two weeks pre-COVID
Takeout: 
Yookge Jang (spicy beef stew), $18
Pairing: Chateau Peybonhomme L'Amour du Risque Pet Nat, $23

As May approaches, I find myself reaching for the things that bring me comfort. April was full of nervous energy and uncertainty. Thinking about food became an exercise in creative resourcefulness as opposed to something that brings joy, celebration, and communion. I spent April thinking of sourdough starters, turning veggie scraps into stocks, and 63 different ways to eat chickpeas.

Tonight, instead, I reached for the sense of community that I feel so detached from this month. I miss all my talented friends and the dynamic food scene that has kept me grounded in this city for so long. Tonight, I relied on an old late night favorite, Mandu.

Within the hour, fermented kimchi, fried pork mandu, and sticky-sweet rice dumplings graced my dining room table, and the smell of spicy beef stew filled the air. In the fridge, I reached for the only thing guaranteed to pull everything together: A large glass of bubbles. Tonight it was “L’amour Du Risque” by Chateau Peybonhomme, a Pet-Nat Cab Franc coming from the largest certified biodynamic estate in Bordeaux. Off-dry, foamy bubbles filled my glass. Then peaches-and-cream on the tongue followed by a touch of minerality. My pandemic-related anxieties faded, replaced with a moment of normalcy.

Tonight, we devoured the food and cheerfully finished the wine. Tonight, we didn’t worry about dishes or leftovers. Tonight, for a couple of hours, all was right in our house. 

- Alex Bianco

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