NYC Spring Wine Fest


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On May 9th, I attended the New York Spring Wine Festival. A series of bi-annual wine events run by NY Wine Events. The event was held at the Broad Street Ballroom at 41 Broad Street opposite the New York stock exchange in Manhattan. This venue was the former Lee-Higgins bank built in 1928-29. A pretty spot with lots of mosaics but lousy lighting, the wine booths were either cloaked in shadows or blinded with spotlights. It was a consumer event with two sessions, I attended the afternoon session. A nice crowd of consumers having a good time, plenty of wines, nibbles and good jazz playing in the background. This year included the addition of a VIP suite which had a couple of tables pouring fifteen bottles of some very nice juice.

VIP Suite Table A

2004 Dom Perignon Brut (Champagne). Only white in the room, been there, done that last week.

2009 Robert Chevillon Nuit-St Georges (Burgundy). Brick color, nose of cooked fruit, rustic and firm with a long finish.

2006 Domaine De Courcel Pommard “Les Rugiens” (Burgundy). Brick in color with stone notes on the nose, silk and dusty dark chocolate on the balanced finish. Nice.

2007 Juslyn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Spring Mountain). Dark red with crushed red berry on the nose, silky with a big hit of tannin at the end.

2012 Larkmead Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color with a closed nose of dark plums, concentrated with toasty, roasted fruit on the firm, moderate to long finish.

2004 Chateau Giscours (Margaux). Dark red with an amber robe, roasted nuts and coffee on the nose, graphite on the tight and tannic finish.

2009 Domaine De Chevalier Rouge (Pessac-Leognan). Dark red to black in color with juicy black fruit of mint and black licorice, chewy and dusty, balanced with mouth coating tannin. Delicious.

2012 Domaine Du Pegau Chateauneuf Du Pape (Rhone). Dark red with a perfume of mint and crushed black licorice that jumps out of the glass with chewy tannin on the long finish. Tasty.

Table B

2011 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Napa Valley). Black with ripe fruit on the nose, concentrated and dusty with mouth filling tannin.

2009 Ad Vivum Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black with rosemary on the nose, big cherry and mint flavors and firm tannin.

2011 Isole E Olena “Cepparello” (Tuscany). Dark purple with a perfume of sweet red fruit, chewy and juicy sweet fruit, still young at this point.

2010 Chateau Gruaud Larose (St-Julien). Dark red with a big barnyard nose, chunky and dusty fruit.

2003 Chateau Clerc Milon (Paulliac). Dark red with an amber robe, nice perfume on the nose, dark licorice on the fruit, tight with big tannin.

2005 Dubreuil-Fontaine Corton “Clos du Roi” Grand Cru (Burgundy). First bottle corked, there was a discussion with the pourer that the batch might be bad, second bottle better, brick in color with barnyard on the nose and tight, mouth puckering tannin at the end.

2010 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). No notes.




Wine On Wheels Fundraiser



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On Saturday May 2nd I attended the Wine on Wheels fundraiser run by the Wheeling Forward organization. The event was held at City Winery on 155 Varick Street in Manhattan.

Wheeling Forward is an organization that “helps people with disabilities experience life to the fullest and enable them to see possibility where others see insurmountable obstacles”. They work with individuals to provide advocacy, mentorship and support services to reach their goal.

The event consisted of a Grand Tasting with over 175 wines poured by 50 local Somms, Fast-Track seminars and a Silent Auction.

Some of what I sampled:

2004 Dom Perignon Blanc de Blanc. Always start with something sparking.

NV Krug Brut Grand Cuvée

2006 Perrier-Jouet “Belle Époque” Brut

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cidre de Fouesranz “. A trio of ciders from Brittany, lots of character, very wine-like, tasty.

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cornouaille”

Manoir du Kinkiz “Cuvée Blanche”

2010 Domaine Francois Buffet Volnay “Clos des Chenas”. Medium red, black fruit, dried herbs.

2010 Domaine Marchand Grillot Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Perrier”. Medium red, tart.

2013 Francesco Cirelli Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Black in color, slate on the nose, chunky wet stone on the firm but balanced finish.

2011 Podere Ciona “Montegrossoli” Four wines from this producer poured by the winemaker, all very nice. This one was clear medium red with smoky black cherry on the nose with concentrated bitter cherry on the finish, good  balance.

2011 Podere Ciona “Semifonte”. A Merlot based wine, dark red to black with slate and roasted meat on the nose, silky dark cherry fruit, great balance with roasted meat notes on the finish.

2010 Podere Ciona Chianti Classico “Riserva”. Medium red with a pretty nose of sweet tar and pencil shavings, silky with sweet tannin at the end.

2007 Podere Ciona “Le Diacce”. The flagship wine of the estate and Merlot based, dark red to black with ripe berries and cooked meat on the nose, deeply concentrated with ripe fruit, graphite and silky tannin.

2006 Chateau Giscours. Medium red, toasted oak on the nose and oak on the fruit, firm tannin.

2003 Clos De L’Oraroire Grand Cru Classé. Dark red with an amber robe with a big perfume of smoke, sweet fruit and ripe berries, silky and balanced on the moderate to long finish. Tasty.

2000 Chateau Les Orme de Pez. Medium to dark red with a pretty perfume of sweet red fruit, tight and tannic.

2009 Echo de Lynch-Bages. Dark red with a closed nose of brambly dark fruit, concentrated and finishes tart.

2011 Flowers “Sea View Ridge” Pinot Noir. Light red and slightly cloudy with floral, ripe flowers on the nose, smoky fruit with some crisp acidity at the end.




Night Spanish


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This past Tuesday night I attended the Wines From Spain Sommelier After Hours wine event held at Soccarrat Paella Bar East on 953 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. It was a casual tasting of eight Spanish wines served with trio of Paella.

NV Pere Ventura Cupagtge d’Honor Cava (Penedès). Always start with a sparkler, this one was light and tart.

2014 Marqués de Riscal Verdejo (Rueda).  Nose of grapefruit and peaches.

2013 Bodegas Castro Martin A2O Albarino. (Rias Baixas). Big perfume of cotton candy and ripe peaches, with ripe fruit. A colleague called this very “Cali”.

2011 Portia Crianza (Ribera del Duero). Dark, concentrated dusty fruit.

2011 El Vinculo (La Mancha). Tight with toasted dark leather fruit.

2010 Casa de la Ermita Crianza (Jumilla). Beautiful perfume of dark fruit and plums with bright sour cherry fruit.

2009 Bodegas San Valero Garnacha (Aragon). Ripe nose of roasted plums with meat and roast nuts on the finish.

2004 Bodegas Muriel Gran Reserva (Rioja). Red leather on the nose with tight, red cherry fruit and firm acids on the moderate to long finish.



Italian Winemaker’s Invitational


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This past Saturday I attended the Astor Winemaker’s Invitational event held at Astor Wines & Spirits at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The event consisted of 13 artisanal wine makers pouring their products as well as winemaker seminars. It was a consumer event. There were many off the radar producers with small labels pouring some very interesting wines that afternoon.

Grand Tasting: Whites

2012 Coenobium Bianco (Lazio). A white wine blend made by Sisters of the Cistercian, fermented with some skin contact, closed nose with a light, floral finish.

2011 Coenobium “Ruscum” (Lazio). An Orange wine, more skin contact than the Bianco, copper colored, nicely balanced and very drinkable.

1997 Ronchi di Cialla “Ciallabianco” (Friuli-Venezia Giulia). Dark yellow with wildflowers and sweet spice on the nose with some oak and vanilla on the honeyed , but dry finish. Holding up well.

2011 Gulfi “Carjanti” (Sicily). Carjanti is the grape varietal, light gold in color with ripe flowers on the nose, very ripe fruit with a hit of lemon tartness at the end.

2013 Foradori Manzoni Bianco “Fontansanta” (Trentino Alto-Adige). A blend of Pinot Bianco and Riesling, light gold with an oily nose of canned peaches, some oak and vanilla spice on the fruit with cotton candy notes on the finish.

Grand Tasting: Reds

2012 Cantine Valpane Grignolino “Euli” (Piedmont). Little seen varietal from Piedmont that produces light bodied reds, this one has more heft than usual. Strawberry on the nose with silky fruit and cigarette smoke on the balanced finish, very drinkable.

2009 Cantine Valpane Barbera del Monferrato “Perlydia” (Piedmont). Dark red to black with black berry on the nose with dusty, chewy fruit and moderate tannin and acids on the balanced finish, drinking nicely now.

2012 Mastrojanni Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium to light red with some cooked fruit notes on the nose with juicy tobacco fruit and tart at the end.

2009 Mastrojanni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Brick color and slightly cloudy, silky with herbs and nuts on the well structured finish.

2010 Gigi Bianco Barbera D’Alba (Piedmont). Medium red with a big perfume of dark fruit and pencil shavings, silky dark fruit and firm acidity on the finish.

2009 Gigi Bianco Langhe Nebbiolo (Piedmont). Medium red, brick robe with sweet herbs on the nose, pencil shavings on the fruit, feels light but ends with a long finish.

2009 Oddero Barberesco “Gallina” (Piedmont). Light red with an amber robe with cigar box on the nose, silky and tight with lip-smacking tannin at the end.

2010 Oddero  Barolo (Piedmont). A blend of grapes from three vineyards, brick color with a muted nose with smoky black cherry on the tight fruit, roasted nuts on the firm finish.

2009 Oddero Barolo “Rocchi di Castiglioni” (Piedmont). Brick color with cigar box on the nose, sweet silky fruit, firm structure and mouth coating tannin at the end.

2007 Oddero Barolo “Brunate” (Piedmont). Medium red with an amber robe, sweet black cherry on the nose, silky sweet fruit with a firm structure.

2011 Poggio la Nocce “Gigetto” (Tuscany). A blend of Sangiovese and Teroldego, dark red with roasted coffee and black cherry on the nose, rustic, chunky and dusty, firm but balanced.

2011 Poggio la Nocce “Gigiò” (Tuscany). The flagship wine of the estate, mostly Sangiovese, dark purple with roasted meat on the nose, chewy and chunky with a nice brambly and mint finish.

1995 Ronchi di Cialla “Schiopettino” (Oriental dei Friuli). Schiopettino is the varietal, dark red with licorice and dried leaf on the nose with herbs and earth on the crisp finish.

2007 Tormaresca Aglianico “Bucco di Lupo” (Puglia). Dark red in color with dried herbs and fruit on the nose, very silky and concentrated, with chewy mint notes on the finish.


Iconic Antinori with Allegra Antinori

2011 Tignanello (Tuscany). Single vineyard wine, Dark red with dark fruit and rosemary on the nose, tight fruit with bitter herbs on the finish, getting some heat at the end, still young and needs time to balance out.

2011 Solaia (Tuscany). Purple robe with a perfume of pencil shavings and roast meat, silky with the same roasted meat on the tight and dusty fruit with dried herbs on the finish. Young.

2011 Guado Al Tasso (Bolgheri). A Bordeaux blend, black in color with fresh herbs, oregano on the nose, thick, dusty with bitter cherry on the fruit, mouth coating dusty tannin.

Paolo Bae, Il Censo, and Neal Rosenthal

2012 Il Censo Cataratto “Praruar” (Sicily). An orange wine. Burnt orange in color, muted nose, good fruit and balance.

2009 Paolo Bea Umbria Bianco “Arboreous” (Umbria). Another orange wine, dark copper with a perfume of sweet berries, chewy and earthy with a bit of citrus acid on the finish.

2006 Paolo Bea Sangrantino “Pagliaro” (Umbria). Medium to dark red with a brick robe with smoky tobacco on the nose, starts silky and ends with mouth numbing, fuzzy tannins.

2007 Paolo Bea Sangrantino “Pagliaro” (Umbria). Black in color with a light red robe with a gamey, barnyard and black fruit nose, concentrated with mint notes ending with the same ferocious tannin as the ’06.



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.



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