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Murray Hill's Local Ladies Inspire a Line of Wines

By Amy Zimmer | April 21, 2011 7:34pm | Updated on April 22, 2011 11:27am

By Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo News Editor

MURRAY HILL — Who is the Murray Hill Girl?

Nik Zecevic, a partner in Murray Hill Wines on Third Avenue near 35th Street, thinks he knows. She's the woman he had in mind when developing a new line of red and white wines called "Murray Hill Girl" for his shop.  The label features a sophisticated, high-heeled, short skirt-wearing woman.

"Most are young professionals, just out of college, excited about landing their first job," said Zecevic, 28, who has gotten acquainted with Murray Hill girls in his seven years of living and working in the neighborhood.

Plus, he said, "I live with a Murray Hill Girl."

Many of them frequent the shop, coming in gaggles and sprinkling the word "like" in their speech when trying to decide on a bottle of wine, Zecevic said.

That's why the word "like" pops up, like, a lot on the bottle's back label.

"Murray Hill Girl red is, like, awesome," the label reads. "It's Pinot Noir from, like, Slovenia, which is somewhere by, like, Italy.

"It's not one of those mass wine labels advertised on billboards and the sides of trucks, but it tastes, like, way better," the label continues.

The red Pinot Noir and the white Sauvignon Blanc/Welschriesling blend are targeted to the neighborhood's young demographic at $11.99. The wine had its official launch this month, but he started offering it in December.

The shop has sold more than 300 cases of it, Zecevic said.

Roughly 70 percent have been bought by women ages 21 to 30, he estimated. But even his connoisseurs like it. One of his regulars, an actor who is very knowledgeable about wine, buys a case weekly.

"Apart from the funny label," Zecevic said, "it's hand-harvested and organic — no pesticides, no herbicides."

Unlike some Californian or Australian Pinot Noirs that "bulk up" their alcohol content to 14 percent, the Murray Hill Girl red is "very light" at 12 percent, Zecevic said. The white is "crisp and refreshing" and pairs well with sushi, seafood and chicken.

"When we created our label, we wanted it to be something we like to drink every day,"Zecevic said of the wine, which does not have sulfates. "Something where if you want to have a bottle and not have a headache the day after."

Zecevic decided to make a boutique label for the wine after noticing that  customers often asked for brands like Fat Bastard, Barefoot and Cupcake, which do something similar with distributing wines made elsewhere.

"The big companies do this kind of thing," he said. "We're trying to do something to show people you can have a beautiful, naturally-produced, easy drinking wine and do what [these big companies] do."

How does his Murray Hill Girl like it?

"She loves the wine," Zecevic said. "When I was sourcing out the wine she went with me." 

"She wrote the back label," he added.

Nina Mehta, of Harlem, stopped by the shop Thursday on her way to a dinner with a group of Murray Hill girls. The bottle caught her eye right away, and she bought the red.

"I may not be a Murray Hill girl, but I am a red girl," said Mehta, who gave her age as "over 30."

In her opinion, a Murray Hill girl is "a girl, drinking some wine, out with her friends."

Mehta said she virtually lived in Murray Hill throughout her entire 20s. She said it was a good time, but...

"I'm older and wiser now — and not in Murray Hill!" she said.