By Dylan Gonzalez
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of sitting down for lunch with Birk O’Halloran, one of the co-owners of Iconic Wines. Over beers and food, O’Halloran regaled me with his history of getting into the wine business before we shifted into discussions ranging from beer culture to comic books.
I should add that O’Halloran is as big a fan of comics as he is of wine.
O’Halloran initially started out studying hotel management in college. However, by the time he graduated in 2006, he opted out of pursuing a career in it. O’Halloran decided that drinking was the best part of hospitality. He entered the wine and liquor industry, opening three wine shops over the course of three years before moving on to wholesale. During his time in wholesale, he managed a portfolio of 100 wineries that were sold on both coasts for a company called A.I. Selections.
Utilizing the connections he had made over the years, he created Iconic Wines with Karl Antle, his college roommate and close friend. Antle works predominantly in venture capital with a focus on tech, but like O’Halloran, is a big geek as well. The Iconic Wines are adorned with work from some very recognizable artists, including Cliff Chiang and Ming Doyle.
O’Halloran brought with him a bottle of his Heroine Chardonnay for me, from the 2013 vintage. Originally featuring a crime fighting female vigilante designed by Tom Feister, the bottle now features work from Ming Doyle. I myself passed along one of the remaining bottles of Festus Rot Gut that I had procured, feeling that it would be a suitable gift for him.
The wine was pale yellow-gold in color. It gave off the aroma of tart white grapes and freshly cut tree fruit. The flavors in the wine were exquisite though. I detected a lot of ripe fruit, especially apricot, as well as some light butter and a decent amount of vanilla or almost a cookie dough-like quality on the finish. Heroine also boasted good acidity, but remained refreshing and delicious, playing on the strengths of a powerful finish.
I was so impressed with this wine. Having developed a taste for Chardonnay over the years, this has to be one of the best I have had. Birk O’Halloran has made quite the bottle here and gets so many extra brownie points for utilizing his passion of comics. Two new wines, a stainless steel Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon called Iconic SK, are to be released October 1st. Events focused on them are going to be held during the week of New York Comic Con, including a four-course blow out dinner at New York Vintners and a tasting at Terry’s Wine. These wines will also feature artwork by Cliff Chiang.
The tasting at Terry’s will be Oct 7th 6-8 and here is a link to the details for the NY vintner dinner Oct 8th.
Dylan Gonzalez happens to love beer and comic books and luckily found a place to write about both because he has no idea how to actually make money in the real world. He lives in a cave in New Jersey. Tweet him at @BeardedPickle, follow his own beer blog at http://boozegeek.tumblr.com/ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.