Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wine from a Manhattan Vineyard

In the September 26 New Yorker magazine's Talk of the Town Ben McGrath wrote about what might be the only vineyard in Manhattan, the Chateau Latif:

One day in 1977, while his wife, Vera, was out doing errands, Latif Jiji, a professor of mechanical engineering at City College, stuck a small grapevine in the ground in the back yard of his town house, on East Ninety-second Street, between Park and Lex.


The grapevine is now a hundred feet long, stretching from the yard to the back of the house, up four stories, and across the roof; another few years and it should begin its descent toward the front stoop. It yields an average of more than four hundred pounds of Niagara grapes—that is, common green grapes—each year, enough for the Jijis to make about a hundred bottles of their own white wine. They call it Ch√Ęteau Latif, and believe it to be the only Manhattan vintage in existence.


“It’s got a hint of carbon monoxide, No. 6 train, and hot-dog water,” Jeff Ourvan, Latif’s son-in-law, said, as he popped a ripe grape in his mouth.


Manhattan terroir is probably not such a good influence on the grapes, but perhaps the refinement of the Upper East Side balances the rough air and soil.

Read the whole thing here.

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