Photo Credit: The Grape Nation
Heidi Turzyn is the Beverage Director for the renowned Gotham Bar and Grill where she’s curated a list of 800 selections ranging from $55-$7000. Prior to running the program for Alfred Portale’s 3-starred institution, she directed the wine and bar programs for the David Burke properties nationwide.
Turzyn wasn’t always a wine professional. As a classically trained ballerina, she initially moved to New York City to pursue dance. But she was drawn to the wine world, a passion that would ultimately become her career.
Her unusual background coupled with her rapid ascent through the wine industry, caught the attention of several national publications. Turzyn has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Maxim to name a few. She also just finished making her fifth wine in Oregon: a collaboration with winemakers Ken Pahlow of Walter Scott and Louis-Michel Liger-Belair of Burgundy.
In her free time, Turzyn volunteers with a non-profit company, Wheeling Forward, which helps improve the lives of the disabled. She maintains her connection with the art world through her love for hospitality by hosting galas and events for local New York art companies. Heidi is certified with the Court of Master Sommeliers and holds her advanced level with IWSET.
We’re deep into the winter holiday season. What wines are you drinking and why?
The season of celebrating informs my choices, especially since I select different wines for each holiday. Right now, with the change in weather, I’m drinking red Burgundies; Marsannay is one of my go-to appellations. For Thanksgiving dinner, I brought Austrian Blaufränkisch and Pinots from Oregon. Throughout December, I’ve been drinking Côte-Rôtie, and by January, I’ll move to grower Champagne, maybe Eric Rodez.
How do you balance the wine selections at Gotham between consumer demands and fresh ideas?
I balance the list with classic benchmark wines, smaller producers, and adventurous bottles. For the adventurous wines I look for something that is different yet undeniably delicious. Domaine du Pélican from Jura is one of my favorites. The wines are clean and traditional yet different and interesting.
How does the food at Gotham inform your wine list?
The food at Gotham plays a huge role in building my list. I use the wines by the glass for pairings with each dish on the menu. I work closely with the chef when they create a new dish to search for the best pairing. As dishes change, seasonal wines by the glass change. As for the rest of the list, I have a well-rounded roster with great producers from around the world.
What’s your go-to bottle under $25?
I have many! Granbazán Albariño or Pernot-Belicard Bourgogne Blanc for only $20. I’ll look for a dry Riesling from Germany or Austria. Hermann J. Wiemer in the Finger Lakes makes a nice one. For reds, a Cru Beaujolais or Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage.
What wine or bubbly will you be popping for New Year’s Eve? And will you be toasting anything special besides surviving 2017?
This New Year’s Eve I will be sipping on some 1995 Krug. Why? Because it was a beautiful gift and why not. I will be celebrating all the great moments of 2017 and the exciting new adventures to come in 2018.