Cheers New York


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Cheers NY was an event showcasing New York State made wines, ciders, beer and spirits. It was a consumer event with two sessions on Saturday afternoon and evening and a session on Sunday afternoon. I attended the Saturday afternoon session. The event took place at The Factory Floor at Industry City, 241 37th Street in Brooklyn. I’ve been to a few events at this venue, no frills in the industrial waterfront in Brooklyn.


2013 Brooklyn Winery Chardonnay (Finger Lakes). From a boutique urban winery in Brooklyn, un-oaked, clean and crisp with some lime notes at the end. Very drinkable.

2012 Brooklyn Winery Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes). Black with a purple robe, spice and cooked fruit notes on the nose with chunky and dusty tannins and black cherry on the finish.

2013 Brooklyn Winery Old Vines Zinfandel (Lodi). Black in color with sour notes on the nose, chunky, mint notes on the fruit, balanced with some green on the moderate to long finish.

2013 BOE Rosé of Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes). Brooklyn Oenology, another urban-based winery in Brooklyn, salmon in color with cherry fruit.

2013 BOE Social Club White (NY State). A blend of several  varieties, yellow with nutmeg and cinnamon on the nose, moderate fruit with some vanilla notes on the crisp finish.

2013 BOE Pinot Gris (Finger Lakes). Gold in color, sweet candy on the nose, lighter in body than it looks, starts crisp and drops a bit at the end.

2012 BOE Social Club Red (North Fork). A blend of several red varieties including one I’m not familiar with, Corot Noir, dark brick with ripe black fruit and Asian spices on the nose, tight with black licorice on the moderate to long finish.

2010 BOE “Motley Cru” Red Blend (North Fork). Dark brick in color with dark plums on the nose, cooked black fruit notes on the fruit and firm acids and tannins at the end.

2014 Red Hook Winery “Salt Crush” White. And another urban winery based in Brooklyn using several wine makers using New York State fruit, medium yellow with lime punch on the nose, medium bodied with some RS on the saline finish.

2011 Channing Daughters “Mosaico” (South Fork). The next two wines poured courtesy of 61 Local bar, an exotic field blend of six white varieties, very light copper color with a ripe nose, ripe funky fruit with good acidity.

2012 Palmer Vineyards Chardonnay “Reserve” (North Fork). Gold in color with damp earth on the nose, chewy fruit, good acidity with honey notes on the long finish.


Awestruck Cider Company

Eastern Dry

Lavender Hops

Hibiscus Ginger

The Standard Cider Company

True Thirst

True Couple

True Believer

True Companion

McKenzies Original Hard Cider

Original Sin Hard Cider

Standard Oak & Rye Wormwood Absinthe. Brown instead of green because they don’t use herbs in the blend, didn’t see the brown farie.



Best Of France 2015 Edition


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This weekend, Best of France which is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to “promote the image of France abroad, through major events which highlight the expertise and “Savoir-Faire” of France”, held their 2015 festival in New York City. It was to promote Franco-American friendship and to showcase French art, culture, fashion, technology, gastronomy and of course, wine.

The last time this event was held in New York was a couple of years ago when it was called “Taste of France” and took place under the big tents at Bryant Park. This year the Grand Wine Tastings in which over 100 French wines from the leading French wine regions were poured, were held on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon in the AXA Equitable Center at 787 7th Avenue near Times Square in Manhattan. I attended the Saturday evening session. As to be expected, excellent bread and cheeses (and cookies) were served to accompany the wines.


NV Drappier Rosé Brut “Nature Zero Dozage”. Light red, crisp and earthy.

NV J.L. Vergnon Blanc de Blancs “Conversation”. Crisp with citrus notes.

2005 Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs “Le Mont Aime”.  With doughy and yeasty notes.


2012 Domaine Guillot-Broux “Genievrieres”. Organic, gold in color with butter-scotch on the nose, tight and crisp with some funkiness at the end.

2012 Domaine Thierry & Pascal Matrot Meursault. Gold with ripe tropical fruits on the nose, chewy for a white wine with some salinity on the long finish.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Pugliny-Montrachet “Folatieres”. Light gold with ripe pineapple on the nose, full ripe tropical fruit, balanced with good acidity.

2012 Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey “Clos des Barraults”. Light red in color, closed nose of black cherry.

2012 Domaine Petitot Cotes de Nuits Villages. Bright red with smoke and minerals on the nose, bright red cherry fruit and a hit of tannin at the end.

2012 Domaine Lecheneaut Morey St. Denis. Bright medium red in color with barnyard on the nose, tight with oyster, saline notes on the finish.

2010 Domaine Aurelien Verdet Chambolle Musigny. Brick to light red in color with warm black cherry on the nose, silky black fruit on the long and balanced finish.


2012 Malartic Lagraviere Grave Blanc. Light gold with ripe kiwi on the nose, nice fruit and crispness on the long finish, very drinkable.

2005 Chateau Sudiraut Sauternes. Beautiful wine.

2007 Branaire Ducru St. Julien. Dark red, bell pepper, dried leaf on the nose, dense and tight with a firm finish.

2008 Duluc de Branaire Ducru St. Julien. Dark red with an amber robe with cooked red berry on the nose, chunky, dried leaf on the fruit with moderate acids.

2012 La Croix de Beaucaillou St. Julien. Dark red with dusty dark berry and mint on the nose, silky with crisp acidity.

2010 Chateau d’Armaihac Pauillac. Dark red to black with a warm nose of crushed nuts, dusty fruit with some earth on the firm, long finish.

2008 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Pauillac. Black in color with a perfume of red licorice, chunky, minty fruit.

2007 Chateau Palmer Margaux. Dark red, warm black cherry on the nose, tight silky tannin on the finish.

2004 Chateau d’Issan Margaux. Dark red with some funky barnyard on the nose, dense and firm.

2011 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere St. Emilion. Dark red, smoky black cherry on the nose, silky black licorice on the great balance.

2005 Chateau Gazin Pomerol. Black in color with a piney nose with tons of chunky fruit.


2012 Domain Ogier Condrieu “La Combe de Malleval”. Yellow in color with a nose of sweet peaches, full body of canned peaches with moderate to low tannins.

2010 Chateau du Trignon Vacqueyras. Medium red, black cherry on the nose, silky black licorice fruit, firm and balanced.


2011 La Fond del’Olivier Carignan “Vieilles Vignes”. From Carignan that are over a hundred years old, black in color with slate and black fruit on the nose, dense, chunky and chewy, like a good baguette, nice glass.

Pig Island NYC


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As the Summer is winding down, the trade tasting season is starting to heat up. That’s when the various wine and spirits importers, distributors and trade associations hold their portfolio or specialized wines and spirits tastings. There are plenty of consumer events as well. This Saturday I attended the 6th annual Pig Island pork Bacchanalia. Over 20 area Chefs created dishes using hogs raised by Flying Pigs Farms, a farm in Washington county upstate New York that raises heritage breeds of pigs. New York State declared Pig Island a “Taste NY” event for their commitment to support New York farms. Of course as well as the swine, the event had on hand beer, wine, cider and local and regional spirits.

The event was held next door to an IKEA mega-store at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook Brooklyn. The park is in a remote area of the borough surrounded by the rusting and decaying remnants of its waterfront past which made for a dramatic backdrop to the festival.

At the Beaujolais tent:

2014 Domaine Romy Rosé

2013 Chateau de Lacarelle Beaujolais Blanc Cuvée Grande Reserve

2011 Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages

2013 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

2013 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour

2013 Chateau du Châtelard Moulin-a-Vent

Local and Rum & Whiskey:

Van Brunt Stillhouse

Widow Jane Distillery

Hudson Whiskey


DownEast Cider

Original Sin

Cal-Ital At The Golden Nugget


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This past Saturday evening I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City to attend the Cal-Ital Summer Winefest, “a celebration of California and Italian wine”. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is located off the boardwalk on the Marina at Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard. It celebrated Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritage with more than 120 poured while a band played light jazz in the background.  Much of the early California wine industry was started by Italian immigrants who brought their wine culture and winemaking skills to the New World.

A wine tasting in a casino is a fun venue and I had some time to kill before the event so I decided to try my hand at the tables and perhaps recoup the cost of the bus ride down. It was not to be. But I did learn my lesson from the first time I attended this event and that lesson was gamble before the wine event and not after it.


2013 Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) Yellow with classic melon and grass notes on the nose, lemony tartness but not too much, easy drinking.

2013 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay (Sonoma County) Gold in color, honey on the nose with ripe melon on the fruit and good acidity.

2012 Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay (Carneros) Ripe mango on the nose with lime notes on the fruit.

2013 Terra d’Ora Winery Chenin Blanc/Viognier (Clarksburg) Gold in color with a honeyed nose with nice, clean acidity.

2013 Simi Winery Chardonnay Reserve (Russian River) Gold in color with toasty honey on the nose with oak flavors on the fruit.

2014 Planeta “La Segreta Blanco” (Sicily) Gold, turned earth on the nose with melon notes on the moderate to light fruit.


2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville District” (Napa Valley) Medium red to black, roasted nuts on the nose, chunky.

2011 Robert Mondavi BDX “Oakville District (Napa Valley) Medium red with ripe black cherry on the nose and dried herbs on the chewy finish with silky acidity.

2012 Ferrari-Carano “Siena” (Sonoma County) Medium red, bottle must of been off, getting sour, cooked fruit notes.

2010 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack” (Napa Valley) Dark red with crushed red berries on the nose, chunky and dusty with nice firm acidity on the finish.

2012 Parducci Petite Sirah “True Grit” (Mendocino County) Dark red to black with black herbs on the nose, tight and firm.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) Light red with ripe vegetable and earth on the nose and crisp acids.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards “Gravel Bed Red” (Sonoma County) Medium red with juicy red berry on the nose with juicy dried herbs on the fruit.

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione (Tuscany) An old standby, medium red with an amber robe, smoky, turned earth on the nose, tight with dried herbs, tar and bitter cherry on the finish. Tasty.

2010 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Classico (Tuscany) Medium red, dried herbs on the moderate fruit, firm.

2011 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) Medium red, white flowers and dark chocolate on the nose, chunky and chewy with great balance. One of my favorites of the night.

2013 Brancaia “Tre” (Tuscany) From grapes from three of their estates, medium red, bubblegum on the nose, silky with earth notes on the finish, balanced.

2010 Brancaia “Ilatraia” (Tuscany) A Bordeaux blend, dark red with a big nose of violet and dark chocolate, silky with firm acids on the finish.

2008 Brancaia “Il Blu” (Tuscany) First bottle I tried was corked, second bottle much better, dark red, tar and violet on the nose, deep, chewy, balanced, long finish. Very nice.

2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium red, tar and cooked fruit on the nose, tight with dark chocolate on the fruit with firm acids.

2011 Castello Banfi “Belnero” (Tuscany) Dark red, warm, crushed slate on the nose, crushed rock on the moderate fruit with a firm finish.

2013 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany) Light red, cooked fruit on the nose, light and tart.

2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Brick in color with smoky violet on the nose, tight and tart.

Dan’s Harvest East End



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This past Saturday I made another trip out East to attend the Dan’s Harvest East End taste of Summer wine and food classic. The last of the trio of food and wine festivals hosted by Dan’s Paper. While the other two festivals were held on the South Fork of Long Island, this one was held on the North Fork where the majority of the wineries out East are located. It was held under the big tents on the property of McCall Winery at 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Co-hosted by Food Network’s Geoffrey Zakarian, it featured food from local restaurants and purveyors and wine from the local wineries. It followed the same formula as the other festivals, big tents with the food stands on the perimeter, wines in the center, and the outlier beer and spirits booths scattered around.

It was another beautiful Summer evening tasting good food and wine with a crowd that was having fun. My drink of choice for the evening was Sparkling Point NV Brut and the 2006 Sparkling Point Brut Seduction.

Some of what I sampled:


The Frisky Oyster: Cornell Oysters Friskafella (My favorite of the night)

Smitty’s at American Grill: Homemade Meatball Sliders

First & South: Green Gazpacho

SCGP Café: Cauliflower Beignet

The Ram’s Head Inn: Spice Crusted Tuna with Grilled Local Corn

Jedediah Hawkin’s Inn: Lobster Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage

Petulant Wino: Summer Corn Gazpacho

A Mano Osteria: Local Corn Ravioli

Perabell Food Bar East: Sriracha Hoisan Glazed Duck Steamed Bun

Mirabelle: Long Island Striped Bass, Shrimp and Local Watermelon Ceviche



Tap & Cork Brooklyn


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This past Saturday afternoon I attended the Tap & Cork Brooklyn Beer and Wine Festival held at Restoration Plaza located at 1360 Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

I had attended the event a couple of years ago and it was a different event this year. The event I attended a couple of years ago took place in Brooklyn as well but at an indoor venue. There were many more wine (and beer) stations which were staffed by someone involved either with the importer or distributer of the product they were pouring.

This years event was more neighborhood block party and Summer festival than a wine tasting. It was held outdoors, under tents with less product and staffed by enthusiastic volunteers instead of salespeople. And a block party it was, a huge crowd of people were having fun enjoying wine, beer and the DJ on hot August afternoon in Brooklyn.

A couple of wines out of the ordinary were the 2014 True Wine Connoisseurs White and the 2013 True Wine Connoisseurs Red. These wines, made in Brazil, were from the Brooklyn duo of Will Davis and Sadat X who produce a wine tasting video series and the wines were nice and easy drinking.

Cider Saturday


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This past Saturday I attended the 2015 Summer Ciderfeast event which was held outdoors at the Solar One event space in East River Park at 24-20 FDR Drive in Manhattan. I’ve been to several events at this space and essentially its a parking lot under the highway overlooking the East River.

This event was from the producers of Pig Island NYC, Brisket King NYC and Hot Sauce Expo and co-produced with the United States of Cider and Copenhagen Street Dogs. They  had over 12 producers pouring over 30 regional, national and international ciders.

I enjoy a good cider but most bars you walk into have the usual mass-produced suspects that are too sweet for my taste. At this event, even the ciders that were “off dry” were dryer than the mass-produced ones with more character.

It was a young, casual crowd who came out to enjoy a sunny Summer afternoon, with some live music and nibbles from local restaurants. The Danish-style hot dogs, a “pølse” from Copenhagen Street Dogs were tasty, they were served on a mini bun slathered with various sauces and topped with chopped raw onions and pickles.

These are what I sampled in the order I sampled them:

Aval Cidre Artisanal 6% (France) Dark pale, very dry with tasty character.

Moa French Oaked Aged Cider 5.6% (New Zealand) Light pale, very dry.

Aspall English Cider “John Barrinton” 8.4% (England) Light pale, light body.

Aspall English Cider “Perronelle’s Blush” 5.7% (England) Blush pink, dry.

E.Z. Orchards “Poire” 5.9% (Oregon) Cloudy yellow, dry, neutral.

E.Z. Orchards “Hawk Haus” 6.6% (Oregon) Yellow, dry, neutral.

E.Z. Orchards “Roman Beauty” 6.1% (Oregon)

Big Apple Cider “Sour Cherry” 7.3% (New York State) Copper with some oak notes.

Big Apple Cider “Bourbon Maple” 7.3% (New York State) Very dry with cooked fruit notes on the finish.

Big Apple Cider “Hipster” 7.3% (New York State) Cloudy, medium orange, slight fizz, some sweetness but finishes dry.

Descendant Cider Co. “Pom-Pomme” (New York City) With Pomegranate and Hibiscus 6.5% (New York State) Rust color.

Descendant Cider Co. “Dry” Heritage Cider 6.9% (New York City) Pale rust in color, very dry and light bodied with some oak notes on the finish.

Embark Craft Cider Works “American Heirloom” 7.5% (New York State) Made with seven varieties of heirloom apple, pale yellow with crisp acidity.

Emabark Craft Cider Works “The Crab Series Vol. 1” 7.2% (New York State) Made from crabapples, pale rust in color, very dry, with lip smacking tannin.

Emabark Craft Cider Works “The Pippin” 7.8% (New York State) Light yellow, light body, crisp.

Reverend Nat’s “Hallelujah Hopricot” 6.7% (Oregon) Made with Cascade hops, Rust color with crisp orange notes on the fruit.

Shacksbury “Farmhouse” (Vermont) 6.5% Made in Vermont from apples grown in England, sparkling, light rust in color, crisp and earthy.

Shacksbury “Basque” (Vermont)  6.2% Make in collaboration with a Spanish cider house, cloudy, light rust color, tart with sour notes on the finish.

Doc’s Draft Dry Hopped Cider 6% ( New York State) Doc’s is pretty much available in a lot of supermarkets, unfortunately, most times they don’t carry this version. Dry and crisp with hoppy tannin notes on the finish.

Austin’s Eastciders “Original” 5% (Texas) Rust color, dry, drinkable.

Citizen Cider “The Full Nelson” 6.9% (Vermont) A good basic, drinkable cider.

Citizen Cider “Northern Spy” 6.9% (Vermont) A single varietal cider, pale yellow, bone dry with a citrus zing at the end.

Cocktails & Fairies


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This past Sunday I attended the Secret Summer food and cocktail festival. They promised “inventive mixology and farm to table eats while advocating forward thinking ideas about locality and sustainability”. Ok.

It was held a the event space, The Foundry at 42-38 9th Street in Long Island City down the block from the East River and in the shadows of the Queensboro Bridge. The Foundry is a 8 room ivy covered brick building with a large garden courtyard .

The theme of the evening was Shakespeare’s A MidSummer Night’s Dream. Winged Fairies pranced around the courtyard sprinkling rose petals and pixie dust on the guests while strolling troubadours entertained the crowd. Members of the Shrunken Shakespeare Company would break out in spontaneous performances of Shakespeare’s play, or at least I thought they were actors and not young couples have a rough day. There was also a “ginormous” beer pong to keep people busy.

In the courtyard were tubs of soft drinks, Heineken beer, Rekorderlig Cider and Perrier Jouet Grand Brut NV Champagne to go along with grilled food and grilled cheese sandwiches provided by the Morris Food Truck. I was able to grab some sausage, vegetables and a grilled cheese sandwich before the line became impossibly long.

Indoors had live ragtime music by The Ida Blue Band and several cocktail stations.

I was happy to stroll around with a glass of Brut or a pear cider in my hand but in the interest of research I sample several of the cocktails which included:

Herradura Tequila

Pamplona: Herradura, blood orange, dry curacao and ginger beer.

Sundown: Herradura, clementine and house acai grenadine.

Templo Mayor: Herradura, jalapeno, cacao, cornmilk, agave nectar and lemon.

Cachaça 51

Cai Tai: Cachaca 51, house falernum, acai grenadine and dry curacao.

Morango: Cachaca 51, market strawberries, sage and aromatic.

ColaDA: Cachaca 51, bitter cola syrup, coconut milk and fresh pineapple.

Jack Daniel’s

Doc Brown: Jack Daniel’s, market cherry sarsaparilla and micro bubble soda.

Shiso: Jack Daniel’s, saiso leaf, raw cane and leaf bouquet.

Bless your heart, but….: Jack Daniel’s, summer peach, market fennel and lemon.

It was a fun way to spend a sunny, Summer late evening.

Chefs & Champagne 2015


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On Saturday, July 25th I attended the James Beard Foundation’s 25th annual Chefs & Champagne foodie event which this year honored Chef and cookbook author Carla Hall.

The event was held at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, on the South Fork of Long Island.

It was a gorgeous day with Chefs from over 40 restaurants cooking their specialty dishes served with free-flowing champagne from Tattinger, wines from Wöllffer Estate, beer from Belgium and vodka from Tito’s. And with an appearance from Miss USA, it was enjoyable day out in the Hampton’s.

I spent the day with a flute or two of Tattinger Brut La Francaise NV in my hand and sampling dishes prepared by these Chefs:

Noah Schwartz: Oysters with Soy mignonette and micro wasabi.

Titti Qvarnström: Allerum präst quiche with elderberry pickled green strawberries, kavring crumble and east end pea sprouts.

Jamie Leeds: Grilled oysters.

Marc Anthony Bynum: Octopus with yellow eye beans, picholine olives, tomatoes, lemon balsamic and paprika oil.

Georges Mendes: Portuguese fossil farms pork cutlet sandwich with piri-piri.

Jason Weiner: Smoked duck breast with silver queen corn and white miso.

Todd Mitgang: Local scallop tartare with black garlic, white soy and marinated broccoli.

Patti Jackson: House smoked bluefish pate with radish salad.

A.J. Schaller: Crab cakes with tomato jam and castelvetrano olives.

Christopher Lavey: Tomato sweet pepper gazpacho with grilled chanterelle and purple basil.

Shannon Shafer: Smoked pork belly with braised cabbage and mustard cream.

Leah Cohen: Chilled thai coconut lemongrass soup with shrimp.

Nick Wallace: Mississippi candy striped beets with preserved goat cheese and Mississippi honeycomb.

Harold Moore: Beer can fossil farms chicken.

Michael Vignola: Barrel smoked aged new york strip with sunchoke salad and sunflower sprouts.

Anthony Bucco: Barnegat lighthouse fluke with smoked yogurt, compressed peaches and pickled blueberries.  

Amanda Cohen: Tomato tarts with smoked feta.

Michael Ferraro: Fennel pollen dusted gulf shrimp with charred corn salad, tomato confit and smoked chili oil.

Harvest Restaurant: Vermont pork with watermelon, peaches, labneh and basil.

South African Sunday


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Sunday July 19th was a brutally hot day. During the afternoon the temperature shot up to 93° (about 34° for the metric folk out there) so it was as good as time as any to spend the time in a cool spot indoors, drinking some wine.

Wines provided by Babylonstoren, a winery/hotel and one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the country located in the Drakentein Valley in the heart of wine land about 60km from Cape Town, South Africa.

The event was held at the Silverstone loft at 58 Gansevoort Street. It was the type of event space that when the people walked in, they all thought out loud ‘gee, I wish this was my apartment”, brick walls, skylight in the kitchen and a killer sound system right smack in the middle of one of the hottest neighborhoods in Manhattan and the wines were tasty as well.

2015 Chenin Blanc. Green herbs on the nose, lime notes on the fruit, good balance and easy drinking.

2013 Viognier. Medium yellow, floral and earth notes on the nose with fresh green herbs on the fruit.

2015 Mouvèdre Rosé. Pale bright pink with notes of fresh herbs and cotton candy on the fruit.

2012 Chardonnay. The bottles are individually numbered, the first one I sampled, number 7232 was off with oxidized, sherry-like flavors. Another bottle was opened and that was a different animal altogether , floral and green herbs (which was a reoccurring flavor profile) on the nose, tight with good mouth feel with saffron notes on the finish.

2013 “Babel Red”. A Bordeaux blend, dark red to black in color with a muted nose of crushed red berries, silky tannin and astringent at the end.

2012 Shiraz. Black in color, fresh rosemary on the nose, chunky and chewy, nice tannin with some metallic notes on the finish.

2012 “Nebukadnesar”. Their flagship wine, another Bordeaux blend, dark, thick red in color, with crushed red berries on the nose, dried herbs, camphor and crushed black berries on the fruit.


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