If you’ve ever stepped foot inside of New York City’s Frenchette, you’re familiar with the feeling of being transported back to an era of leisurely lunches held in cozy banquettes and pâté de foie with port gelée for the table. It’s a surprisingly nostalgic experience nestled in a particularly buzzy part of downtown Manhattan, and one made all the more delightful by an expansive, thoughtful wine list curated by wine director Jorge Riera. Having previously run the beverage programs at beloved spots like Contra, Wildair, and The Ten Bells, Riera is a true veteran of NYC’s natural wine scene, and at Frenchette, he celebrates wines from the Jura, Austria, the Loire Valley, and beyond, alongside classic French haute cuisine.
We asked Riera to dream up his ultimate by-the-glass wine list, assuming price point and availability are no question — a delicious dealer’s choice. “I think all wines by the glass should be served out of magnums due to the better expression in that format, and higher drinkability in these wines as well,” he explains.
Here are Riera’s dream by-the-glass picks:
Pascal Potaire, Les Capriades, Menu Pineau, Méthode Ancestrale 2018
A late release from the king of pét-nat, Pascal shows us the aging potential of pét-nat, made from Orbois, a.k.a. Menu Pineau, with great uplifting acidity and minerality.
La Famille Mosse, Moussamoussettes, NV
Emmanuele Lassaigne, Vignes de Montgueux Extra Brut, Blanc de Blancs NV
Think of this wine as an energetic and mineral-driven everyday Champagne of Chardonnay that is reflective of its terroir in Montgueux. It’s well made with a nice, citrusy finish.
Hervé Villemade, Les Acacias, Cour-Cheverny 2017
This wine is a beautiful expression of the rare and complex Romorantin, a pre-phylloxera grape that was very prevalent in the Loire Valley. It’s floral, with apple-quince notes, and bears a truly profound mineral expression.
La Famille Mosse, Les Bonnes Blanches 2015
Think Chenin in its true form from Anjou in the Loire Valley, with great complexity as well as brine, quince, and roundness, perfumed with a very long finish and mineral precision.
Tom Lubbe, Matassa, Cuvée Alexandria, Côtes Catalanes 2016
A maceration on Muscat de Alexandria that is florally lush with a nice fleshy texture. You’ll notice very pleasant stone fruits alongside a very high drinkability!
Laureano Serres-Montagut, Mendall, Terme de Guiu, Terra Alta 2008
From the heartland of Tarragona, this is a wine of pure expression made from Macabeu, macerated and raised in tinajas (amphorae). It has a nice smokiness as well as lush stone fruits with salinity and tons of freshness.
Alain Castex, Les Vins du Cabanon, Canta Mañana 2017
This fabulous and expressive rosé made from direct presses of Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre, and Macabeu is floral with dense darker fruit flavors with an uplifting quality. You won’t stop drinking until you are singing in the morning “Canta Mañana”!
La Famille Puzelat, Le Clos du Tue-Bœuf, Pineau d’Aunis 2020
There’s no better wine to have with briny oysters! Made from an older Pineau d’Aunis cépage from the Loire, this wine is high-acid-driven, with floral white pepper spice and nicely integrated tannins.
Manu Houillon, Maison Overnoy, Plou Plou 2012
An ethereal Ploussard expressed by the legend Pierre Overnoy and his disciple, Emmanule Houillon, in Arbois, Jura. Pure fruits, deep bouquet, and magical suppleness make for a perfect wine.
Yvon Métras, Beaujolais 2017
A “pur jus” expression of Gamay which is a declassified Fleurie due to the higher altitudes of vines — which is all right with Yvon and the rest of us! Here, you’ll find right red berries and cherries with a high glou-glou factor.
Fréd Cossard, Les Genevrières, Gevrey-Chambertin Qvervi 2017
Elegant red berry spice that is lush and soft yet bright with a profound finish and great minerality.
Tom Lubbe, Matassa, Cuvée Romanissa, Côtes Catalanes 2016
This phenomenal blend of Grenache Gris & Lledoner Pelut (old Catalan Grenache) is a bright ruby red wine with darker fresh fruits, spiciness, and florality as well as great acidity and crunchiness.