Aviation Wine & Bloody Mary’s




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This Past weekend I attended a couple of wine and cocktail events. Saturday evening I made my way to the Cradle of Aviation museum in Garden City Long Island for the Taste of Flight wine expo. It’s promoted as the “largest wine event on Long Island”. I attended the event last year which was held in the afternoon. It’s a great space for an event, the museum is full of real military aircraft, many from World War 2. This was a consumer event and like a lot of consumer events, the wines were at mid-level range.

On Sunday I attended the Bloody Mary Festival held at Industry City which is a very minimalist event space on the waterfront in Sunset Park Brooklyn. A dozen local bars and restaurants poured their versions of the drink. It was a young crowd who where enjoying themselves though I have to say that this Bloody Mary event wasn’t as polished as the Bloody Mary event I attended at L’Apicio restaurant last February.

Some of what I sampled: At the museum

Angry Orchard “Strawman” Farmhouse Cider. From the Ciderhouse collection of this company’s cider lineup, in a Champagne bottle with a cork with wood aging and special fermentation techniques. Drank like a nice white wine.

Bernard-Massard Brut. Sparking wine from Luxembourg. A first for me and not too shabby, dry and crisp.

2013 Notorious Pink Grenache Rosé

2013 L’Escargot Rosé

Bocelli Processco

2013 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Cambria Estate Chardonnay “Katherine’s Vineyard”

2013 Cambria Estate Pinot Noir “Julia’s Vineyard”

2012 Freemark Abbey Merlot

2011 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

2011 Matanzas Creek Merlot

2006 Bertani Amarone (Outlier wine)

2010 Fontanafredda Barolo Serrralunga d’Alba

2013 Pietro Di Campo Barbera “Silenzio”

2011 Masciarelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo

2013 Borsao Garnacha

At the Bloody Mary Event:

My favorite of the day a Bloody made with White Pike Whiskey, it had a nice tang to it with a touch of heat at the end. Others I sampled from local eateries:

Travel Bar                               Catfish

Cain’s Tavern                           Char No. 4

Lucky Luna                              Mominette

Bloody Mary Liberation Party



Craft Spirits & A Wine Zoo


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Last Saturday I attended a couple of spirit oriented events in Manhattan, Wine Riot and the New York City Craft Distillers Festival.

I began the afternoon at Wine Riot which was held at the Lexington Avenue Armory on 68 Lexington Avenue. Wine Riot is a bi-annual, multi city event hosted by Second Glass and they promote it as “the most innovated wine event in the world to educate about wine in a fun way”. Ok. Aimed at newbie wine drinkers, it was more of a wine party than a serious wine tasting, not that anything’s wrong with that. About 250 wines served at booths with different themes and countries as well as interactive booths with “crash courses” in wine 101. As it was a consumer event, many of the wines were of mid-level quality served in a plastic wine glass. I did enjoy the Bubble Lounge with various sparkling wine served from driest to the least dry and I did have an outstanding grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. The event soon became extremely crowded with some booths four deep with people trying to get a splash of wine, it was time for me to leave.

Later that evening I made my way down to the Bowery Hotel at 335 Bowery for the New York City Craft Distillers Festival. This event showcased over 60 craft spirit distillers, many from New York State including New York City which is going through a booze Renaissance with new distilleries being opened. The theme of the night was Prohibition-era speakeasy with a couple of 1920’style jazz bands and a “fan” lady entertaining the crowd.

Some of the local spirits I sampled:

1911 Spirits Co. Vodka and Gin (Upstate NY)

Cooperstown Distillery Gin, Vodka, Whiskey and Bourbon (Upstate NY)

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur (Brooklyn)

Astoria Distilling Co. Queens Courage NY Old Tom Gin (Upstate NY)

Tirado Distillery Moonshine, Double Gold Whiskey (Bronx)

Industry City Distillery Industry City Vodka, Technical Reserve Vodka 193°! (Brooklyn)

Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine (Upstate NY)

Hudson Bourbon Whiskey (New York)

Window Jane Bourbon (Brooklyn)

Manhattan Moonshine Prohibition-Style Whiskey (New York)

Long Island Spirits Sag Harbor Rum (Long Island)

NYC Craft Beer Fest Spring


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The New York City Craft Beer Fest is a bi-annual event held in the Autumn and Spring. This past Friday and Saturday was the Spring edition. The event was held at the Lexington Avenue Armory on 68 Lexington avenue in Manhattan. Both days were opened to the public and I attended the Saturday evening session. It was a casual walk-around tasting of craft beers, ciders and mead. I concentrated on ciders, stouts and porters.

Redstone Meadery Honey Wine With Vanilla and Cinnamon

Nine-pin Cider Works “Belgian”

Badass Pear Cider

Dark Horse Brewing Co. Blueberry Stout

Dark Horse Brewing Co. Smoke Stout

Atwater Brewery Vanilla Java Porter

Jonas Bronck’s Brewery Eggcream Stout

Atlantic Beer Co. Coal Porter

Dyckman Brewery Café con Lece Milk Stout

Kuka Beer Co. Coffee Cream Stout

Launitas Nightime Ale

Broken Bow Brewery “Kolsch”

Broken Bow Brewery “Sour”

Boulevard Brewery “Tank” Farmhouse Ale

La Paulee de New York 2015



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February 16-28 was Burgundy wine week in New York, a week long series of wine dinners and tastings with wine makers, Chefs and Sommeliers. La Paulée de New York was a part of those festivities. La Paulée was a Burgundian celebration held after the harvest and now refers to the festivities held in Meursault during the third weekend of each November. The grand finale of the festivities is La Paulée, an extravagant luncheon beginning at noon and lasting into the evening. La Paulée de New York is Daniel Johannes’ homage to the Burgundian tradition. The first one was held in New York in March 2000. The event alternates yearly between the cities of New York and San Francisco and this  year was New York’s turn to host the event. On Saturday afternoon they held a Grand Tasting at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting of over a hundred Burgundy along with food prepared by some top end Chefs and local restaurants.

All of the wines with the exception of the Magnums of Meursault and Chablis from Domaine BaIlot-Millot and Christine Moreau poured in the American Express lounge, were from the 2012 vintage. It was a difficult vintage with lousy weather (including hail) in the beginning of the year which thinned out the crop that resulted in much smaller output than normal. The weather during the harvest months of August and September was much better and the grapes that were left turned out fine. I have to say that my impression of the vintage was in general, of some very good wines all around, young at this stage but elegant. I was getting a lot of new world aromas and manageable acidity. It was an afternoon of good juice.

2012 Whites:

Domain Willaim Fevre Chablis “Montée de Tonnerre”. Light gold, lychee on the nose with some earth on the nice balanced fruit.

Chablis Grand Cru “Les Preuses”. Very gold in color, closed nose, tight with some harshness at the end.

Chablis Grand Cru “Bougros”. Light gold with sweet spice on the nose, nice acidity and balance.

Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos”. Light gold with a toasty nose and fruit, tight, long finish.

Joseph Drouhin Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos“. Gold with sweet spice on the nose, moderate fruit with hints of ground nuts on the finish.

Domaine Faiveley Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru. Gold in color with floral and fresh wild mushrooms on the nose, medium tropical fruit and a juicy, long finish.

Domaine Paul Pillot Chassagne-Montrachet “Clos Saint Jean”. Light gold with earth and candy on the nose, moderate fruit ending with bubblegum notes.

Chassagne-Montrachet “La Grande Montagne”. Light gold, floral, tart and tight with dusty oak and cinnamon on the moderate to long finish.

Chassagne-Montrachet “La Romanée”. Light gold with cinnamon spice on the nose with cinnamon and lemon on the long finish.

Domaine LeFlaive Pugligny-Montrachet. Light gold with a toasty nose with sweet spice and toast on the fruit.

Puligny-Montrachet “Clavoillon”. Light gold with floral and light toast on the nose with oak and dried mushroom on the fruit.

Olivier LeFlaive Pugliny-Montrachet “Les Pucelles”. Light gold with spicy cinnamon on the nose, moderate juicy with lemon custard notes on the fruit, good balance.

Pugliny-Montrachet “Les Folatières”. Gold in color with toasty tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit and good balance.

Hospices de Beaune Meursault “Charmes Cuvée de Lanlay”. Light gold with dried flowers and toasted oak on the nose with notes of roasted nuts on the finish.

Pierre-Yves-Collin-Morey Chassagne-Montrachet “Les Caillerets”. Light gold with floral, mushrooms on the nose, nice balance and acidity.

 2012 Reds:

Domaine Faiveley Mercurey “Clos du Roy”. Light to medium red with dried herbs on the nose, silky with nice balance, drops a bit but still tasty.

Corton Grand Cru “Clos des Cortons Faiveley”. Medium red with barnyard on the nose with chewy, velvety dark fruit on the long finish. One of my favorites of the afternoon.

Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru “Les Ouvtees Rodin”. Light to medium red with black cherry and barnyard on the nose, silky and balanced with a long finish. Another favorite.

Hospices de Beaune Volnay “Cuvée Blondeau”. Medium red with a purple robe with pencil shavings and camphor on the nose and bright, tight fruit and firm tannin.

Echezeaux “Cuvée Jean-Luc Bissey”. Dark red with black cherry on the nose, silky with notes of dried thyme on the finish.

Domaine Anne Parent Pommard “Les Chaponnieres“. Light purple with dried mushroom and some damp earth on the nose, dusty and tight with a mouthful of tannin and nice acidity.

Pommard “Les Epenots”. Light purple with a brick robe, dusty black cherry on the nose, chewy with the finish dropping a bit.

Corton Grand Cru “Les Renardes”. Medium red with black cherry and damp earth on the nose with tight, black licorice fruit and firm tannins.

Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny “Les Baudes”. Medium red with pencil shavings on the nose, bright black cherry fruit, firm finish, some heat.

Chambertin Clos-de Bèze Grand Cru. Medium red with candle wax on the nose with tight, black cherry fruit.

Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune Greves “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”. Bright red in color with a floral nose with bright fruit and a firm finish.

Domaine Simon Bize & Fils Savigny-les-Beaune “Les Fourneaux”. Medium red with an amber robe, red cherry on the nose with dusty, red cherry fruit and good balance.

Savigny-les-Beaune “Les Marconnets”. Medium to dark red with dried cherry and herbs on the nose, red cherry fruit with mouth watering tannin at the finish.

Domaine Méo-Camuzet Fixin “Clos du Chapitre”. Medium bright red with black cherry and mushroom on the nose, silky bright fruit and good acidity.

Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Clos Vougeot Grand Cru. Light red with a brick robe, smoky black cherry on the nose, mushroom on the tight fruit with good acidity and moderate to long finish.

Romanée-Saint Vivant Grand Cru. Light red with earth and mushroom on the nose with silky black cherry fruit and nicely balanced.

Clos de Tart Monopole Grand Cru. Medium red with red damp earth and dried herbs on the nose, hints of bubble-gum on the fruit.

Olivier Bernstein Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Cazetiers”. Medium red with dried herbs and black fruit on the nose with dark cherry fruit.

Domaine Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin “Cherbaudes”. Medium red with dried mushroom on the nose and bright red fruit on the firm finish.

Magnum Lounge

Domaine Christine Moreau 2008 Chablis Grand Cru “Valmur”. Gold in color with a spicy, sweet perfume, balanced with a long finish. Delicious

Domaine Ballot-Millot  2009 Meursault “Perrieres”. Gold in color with a very toasty nose with notes of burnt petroleum on the finish

2009 Meursault “Genevrieres”. Light gold with a toasty nose, sweet toast oak flavors on the fruit, tight at the end but balanced. Tasty.

2009 Meursault “Charmes”. Gold with big toasty oak on the nose, tasty fruit with moderate lemon flavors on the balanced finish.



Boston Snow & Wine

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This past weekend I took a trip to the city of Boston to attend the annual Boston Wine Expo. The Expo, which was billed as “A Global Adventure In a Glass”, is one of the biggest consumer events in the country with more than 2,000 wines from more than 200 wines poured in addition to Chef demonstrations and Wine Seminars. For the wine enthusiasts, there was also a Vintners’ Reserve Lounge with higher-end wines featured.

The event was held at the Seaport Hotel and Convention center which is conveniently a few minute tram ride from the bus station I arrived at.  It’s always been a fun event. Unfortunately this year, Mother Nature was not cooperating.Prior to this event, Boston had been hit with several snow storms and another was predicted to hit town Saturday night. I decided to take a gamble that the weather forecasters would be wrong on this one. They were not. I was able to make it to town that morning and the Saturday event went off with out a hitch, but the storm did hit that evening and by daybreak the mass transit system was shut down and the Sunday event was cancelled. They had some serious snow, snow dunes at eyeball level and walking the back streets meant walking through snow tunnels. I still would have walked to the event if it came down to that.

On Saturday I attended the Vintners” Lounge and a couple of seminars. I was a little disappointed in the Vintners Lounge this year compared to the last few years events I attended. There was no live band and the food ran out about an hour after start time and more importantly, I thought the wines weren’t as exciting as in previous years with the exception of one table of library wines that were provided by the hotel. The two seminars I attended were outstanding.


Opus One Vertical With Winemaker Michael Silacci

1988: Dark red with a brown robe that had me worried, closed nose with some petroleum and sweet red licorice with concentrated and tight fruit, minty mouth coating tannin on the finish.

1996: Dark red with an amber to brown robe, big perfume of sweet herbs, sweet red fruit and red licorice with silky integrated fruit and nicely balanced on the beautiful long finish. Nice wine.

2001: Black with an amber robe with toasty dried leaf and red licorice on the nose and dusty and juicy sweet red fruit and sweet tannin on the long finish.

2010: Black with a purple robe, brambly eucalyptus and crushed dark berries on the nose with silky sweet fruit and moderate tannin and acids on the moderate finish. Needs time to come together but I don’t think it is built for the long haul.

Chateau Meyney 10yr Vertical With Winemaker Anne Le Naour

2003: Black in color with slate and crushed rock on the nose, very concentrated, juicy but tight with slate notes on the tight finish. Very nice.

2004: Very black with a closed perfume of red roses and dark fruit with a very concentrated and firm structure, some tartness from the acidity at the end.

2005: The winemaker called this a “Rocking chair vintage”. Black in color with a beautiful perfume of rosemary, slate and crushed rocks, concentrated with sweet, firm tannin at the end.

2006: Very black with a purple robe, aroma of petroleum, concentrated with big tannin at the finish, I thought it needed more time to smooth things out.

2007: Black in color with a nose of sweet red berries with concentrated fruit of fresh thyme notes and dusty tannin on the finish.

2008: Black with a purple robe, toasted crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and concentrated with great structure and balance and firm tannin. Tasty.

2009: Black with a purple robe, closed nose of meaty, sweet black fruit with chewy black licorice fruit and mouth coating tannin on the lingering finish.

2010: Very black in color with a purple robe with a nose of bacon and toasty sweet berries, very concentrated with slate and crushed rocks on the chewy fruit, nice hit of lip smacking tannin and graphite notes on the long finish. Very nice, my favorite of the flight.

2011: Black with a purple robe, closed nose of dark chocolate and turpentine, very tight with tongue curdling tannin and acids with a harsh finish, green.

2012: Inky black with a thin purple robe, nose of crushed fresh berries and coffee with black licorice on the relatively light finish.

Vintners’ Reserve Lounge

2007 Flowers Chardonnay “Andreen-Gale” (Sonoma Coast). A mature Chard, dark gold in color with dried flowers on the nose, light tropical notes on the good fruit, nicely balanced with a long finish.

2006 William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru “Vaudésir” (Burgundy). Light gold with ripe mango on the nose, sweet fruit with crisp acidity and a long finish.

2009 Merry Edwards Winery Pinot Noir “Meredith Estate” (Russian River Valley). Dark red for a Pinot, rosemary on the nose with tight, silky sweet berry fruit and a balanced finish. Delicious.

2004 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with ripe vegetal notes on the nose, silky, toasty dark fruit, firm and balanced at the end.

2007 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color with a nose of warm, ripe cooked fruit, concentrated and juicy with moderate tannin and acids at the end.

2002 Elyse Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Tietjen Vineyards” (Napa Valley). Black with ripe dark berries on the nose, deep sweet fruit with firm sweet tannin with some toast on the end. Drinking nicely.

2009 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Selection” (Napa Valley). Black with dried rosemary on the nose with concentrated and juicy dark red berry fruit, firm with nice balance.

2011 Chalk Hill Estate Syrah (Russian River Valley). Dark black with dried herbs and red berry on the nose, dark and very concentrated with firm acids on the finish.


Burlesque & Bloody Mary’s



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This past Saturday I went to a couple of cocktail inspired events in Manhattan. I began the day at L’Apicio restaurant at 13 East 1st Street in the East Village for the Eat, Drink & Bloody Mary Fest. A Bloody Mary completion of more than fifteen restaurants with their take on the classic cocktail of vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, horseradish, tobacco, celery salt and pepper. Variations included the use of carrot juice, mustard, various chilies and while the default vodka at the event was Tito’s Handmade vodka, bacon infused bourbon and grappa made an appearance as well. Some nice nibbles provided by the restaurant included some tasty mini fried chicken with biscuit. It was a consumer event and soon became jammed with Bloody Mary fans. The competing restaurants included:

Extra Fancy: My favorite, made with carrot juice

Dell’ anima: Salumi infused vodka

DBGB: Mustard added, smoky, chewy

L’Apicio: A green one with tomatillo and jalapeno, could use a kick of heat at the end

Bar Sardine: Another green version

Northern Spy Food Co.: Stuck to the original recipe

Osteria Morini: Bright and vinegary

Atrium: Clean tasting with real tomato flavor

L’ Apriusi: Sweet, bacony with citrus at the end

Booker Dax: Non traditional with bouillon. light brown

Commerce: Classic recipe, chewy horseradish

The Smith: Traditional, lots of horseradish

After all those Bloody Mary’s I headed to the East Ville Des Folies Beer & Whiskey tasting event held at Webster Hall on 125 East 11th Street in the East Village. It was four floors of music, beer and spirits. The theme of the event was Prohibition-era speakeasy and people dressed in period costumes, the women as flappers and the men as 1920’s gangsters. In addition to spirits, there was live entertainment in the form of bands and burlesque. Webster Hall is an old dance club with many nooks and crannies and they were all filled with beer, whisky and live music, I really enjoyed the band, Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra which played in the main ballroom. It was a fun event.


Whiskey & Swine

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This  past weekend was all about barbeque, pork and whiskey (mostly Bourbon). I attended a couple of pork-centric events in the city. Usually, wine doesn’t make much of an appearance at these types of events but they are fun. On Saturday I attended the Bourbon, Bacon and Beer Fest held at the former Tunnel nightclub on 608 West 28th Street in Manhattan. The site of a former railroad freight terminal and there was plenty of space for the various bbq, beer, cider and bourbon that was served that night. Not a drop of wine in sight but I did further my education on craft whiskies. My favorite dish of the night was collared greens with pork. Some of what I sampled:

Whiskey, Cider And A Beer

Lost Prophet Bourbon 22yr

Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Bourbon 23yr

Garrison Brothers Hye Rye

Garrison Brothers Straight Texas Bourbon

Defiant Single Malt Whisky

Elijah Craig Bourbon 12yr

George Dickel Nº 8 Sour Mash

Filibuster Triple Cask 117° Bourbon

Redemption Straight Rye Barrel Proof 7yr

Crispin Artisanal Reserve Cider

DownEast Cider Original Blend

Goose Island Beer Co., Lolita Belgian Style Wild Ale

On Sunday I attended the New Porc City event which was part of the Cochon 555 U.S. tour. The event was held at the Andaz  5th Avenue hotel on 485 5th Avenue in Manhattan. The tour is a culinary competition advocating sustainable farming of heritage breed pigs.  It was billed as “5 Chefs, 5 Pigs, 5 Winemakers”. I  thought it was going to be a swine and wine competition but that was the seminar earlier in the day. The event turned out to be more of a hipster cocktail party than a wine event. There was plenty of  wines and craft cocktails to go around. My favorite dish of the afternoon was actually the only non pork one at the event, Del Posto restaurant served a Beef tartare with shaved black truffle, very delicious.

2013 St. Francis Winery Chardonnay (Sonoma County)

2012 Pascal Jolivet Pouilly Fumé (Loire)

2012 Ronch di Cialla Ribolla Gialla (Friuli)

2011 Miner Winery Viognier (Madera)

2012 St. Francis Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)

2011 Goldeneye Winery Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)

And a nice Manhattan made with Whistle Pig Rye


Pinot Days 2015



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This past Sunday afternoon I attended the 4th annual Pinot Days wine event. Part of a Pinot Noir wine tour which was billed as the “largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world”. The tour will also make stops in Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. At this event in New York, 40 wineries from California, Oregon and New Zealand poured their selections though most of the wineries were from California. The event was held at City Winery located at 155 Varick Street in Manhattan and was open to the public.

The icy conditions that Sunday afternoon made for a smaller crowd than last years event as well as fewer wineries attending this time around.

At the beginning of the tasting I decided to focus on the small producers I wasn’t familiar with. Some of the highlights:


2012 Mansfield-Dunne Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands). This producer only makes two wines topping out at about 300 cases for each wine. Brick in color with a nice perfume of earth, smoke and black cherry and was tight and tart.

2012 J. Wilkes Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley). Another small lots producer, medium red with earth and black cherry on the nose with juicy fruit and acids on the finish.

2009 Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir “Domaine du Docteur Rodgers” (Santa Cruz Mts.). Some tech guys decided to start a winery, today they poured a trio of their ’09’s, this one was medium to dark red in color with dusty and floral notes on the nose and was dusty and silky with a big hit of chewy tannin at the end. Some heat.

2012 Landmark Cellars Pinot Noir “Overlook” (California). Sourced from three appellations, medium red with floral dark chocolate on the nose, juicy with cinnamon spice on the fruit with good balance.

2012 Thomas Fogerty Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mts.). Medium red with dried herbs on the nose, tart bright fruit with some earth notes on the finish.

2012 Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir “Russian River Selection” (Russian River Valley). Light red in color with toasty cherry on the nose, silky dark cherry fruit with nice balance.

2012 Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir “Bacigalupi Vineyard” (Russian River Valley). Light red with damp earth and mushroom on the nose with vanilla and cinnamon notes on the tight finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir “Rodgers Creek” (Sonoma Coast). Light red in color, closed nose of dark berries, tight, bright fruit with chocolate notes on the crisp finish.

2012 Davis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir “Horseshoe Bend” (Russian River Valley). Medium red with mushroom and earth on the nose with herbs and damp earth on the moderate to long finish.

2012 Davis Family Vineyards Pinot Noir “Soul Patch” (Russian River Valley). Medium red with a stinky nose, silky dark fruit with bitter chocolate on the long and balanced finish.

2011 Saintsbury Winery Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” (Carneros). Medium red with warm, dusty chocolate on the nose, juicy with mint notes on the balanced finish.

2011 MacPhail Family Wines Pinot Noir “Pratt Vineyards” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with dried herbs on the nose, juicy and dusty with firm tannin.

2011 MacPhail Family Wines Pinot Noir “Sundawg Ridge” (Russian River Valley). Medium to light red in color with earth notes on the nose with earthy and dusty fruit and great balance.


2012 Van Duzer Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette). Medium red with toasty, floral notes on the nose, dark cherry fruit with big acids on the finish.

New Zealand

2011 Pyramid Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir “Earth Smoke” (Canterbury). There was one table of Pinot from New Zealand, I asked for the most “stinky” wine and this is what I was given. Cloudy light red in color, with, yes a stinky nose and was tight and tart.


Italian Wine Merchants Tasting



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This Saturday afternoon I attended a wine tasting at Italian Wine Merchants wine shop which not surprisingly, specializes in Italian wines. The store is located on 108 East 16th street in Manhattan. They host a wine tasting every Saturday afternoon and since I know they pour good juice I decided to treat myself and attend. It was their “mini grand tasting” and the event was open to the public.  A walk-around tasting featuring seventeen wines from Italy, France and Spain. As usual, they served excellent bread, cheeses and salumi to nibble on.

Sparkling & Whites

2011 Raventós I Blanc Brut Rosé De Nit (Penedes). I always start with a glass of something sparkly and I like cava, this was pale copper in color with a floral and light earth on the nose with strawberry fruit on the crisp finish.

NV De Concilis “Selim” Spumante (Campania). Don’t see too many sparklers from Campania, a blend of Fiano and Aglianico it was pale yellow with rubber band notes on the nose with cotton candy on the finish. Not my favorite.

2011 Raffaele Palma “Puntacroce” Bianco (Campania).  From grapes grown on the Amalfi Coast DOC, gold in color with floral notes on the nose with balanced floral fruit and nice balance. Moderate to low acids.

2011 Antinori Castello Della Sala (Umbria). A Chardonnay based wine with some Grechetto thrown in, light gold with notes of mango and pineapple on the nose with tropical fruit flavors on the moderate to long finish.

2012 William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru “Valmur” (Burgundy). Light gold in color, dry with a flinty finish.

2012 Domaine Chavy-Chouet Puligney Montrachet                                                “Les Enseignères” (Burgundy).  Gold in color with toast and mango on the nose, tight with a good mouthfeel and nice acidity on the finish.


2011 Joseph Drouhin Côte de Beaune (Burgundy). Purple brick in color with a very nice perfume of earth and dark fruits, tight and silky with moderate to light fruit and a long finish. One of my favorites of the afternoon.

2012 Francois Gay Aloxe-Corton (Burgundy). Purple to brick in color with herbs and red cherry on the nose, silky red fruit with firm tannin at the end with moderate to low acids.

2012 Domaine Gallois Gevrey Chambertin “Le Combe Aux Moines” (Burgundy). Purple with dried herbs and some smokiness on the nose with dusty fruit and moderate tannin and acids at the end.

2010 Nicolas Rossignol Pommard 1er Cru “Fremiers” (Burgundy). Light red with toasty, cooked fruit on the nose with bright red fruit.

2010 Quinto Chionetti Dolcetto d’Dogliani  “San Luigi” (Piedmont). Dark brick with slate and red berries on the nose, dusty and juicy with some earth and black licorice notes with good balance and finish.

2012 Le Macchiole Bolgheri Rosso (Tuscany). A Bordeaux blend, dark purple with a closed nose of ripe toast with big silky fruit and mint on the firm finish.

2007 Cupano Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Brick in color with a perfume of red roses and sweet tar, in my notes I have “yummy fruit” with great balance and a long finish. Delicious.

2007 Renzo Seghesio Barolo Riserva “Pajana” (Piedmont). Brick with an amber robe, uncharacteristic nose of mowed grass and charcoal with graphite notes on the fruit.

2011 Raffaele Palma “Montecorvo” (Campania).  From the cliffs of Campania’s Amalfi coast, medium red with juicy red fruit on the nose, fresh herbs, licorice on the juicy fruit and firm tannin at the end.

2007 CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva (Rioja). Dark red in color with fresh rosemary on the nose, dark and concentrated with dark chocolate notes on the firm finish and nicely balanced. Another favorite of the day.

2001 La Rioja Alta Grand Reserva “890” (Rioja). A cooperative of growers, medium brick with sour mint on the nose and red cherry fruit.



Tree Trimming Party At Refinery


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Wine tasting events at this time of year usually get put on the back burner while the holiday parties are in full swing. Last Saturday afternoon I attended another one of those holiday parties, a holiday social at the Refinery Hotel located on 63 West 38th Street in Manhattan. The event took place at the rooftop bar which is an event space I’ve never been to before. Brick walls and an outdoor seating area with a great view of the Empire State Building. This afternoon the customers got to trim a real live Christmas tree out on the deck. It was a casual afternoon of ornament hanging, appetizers and the drinking of seasonal beers, eggnog made with Window Jane Distillery Bourbon and mulled cider with rum, bourbon or apple brandy (my favorite). Of course there was  a fireplace and mistletoe.




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