The Other Cabernet On Long Island

 

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Cabernet Franc is one of the major red varietals of the world and the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is medium bodied with medium to high acidity and in its historical home, France, it is one of the grapes used in the classic Bordeaux blend and the primary red grape in the Loire region. It’s also a major grape varietal in both the Finger Lakes and Long Island wine regions of New York State.

Out in the Long Island wine region, the early (than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) ripening grape was thought to be a perfect fit for the cooler climate on the North Fork.  It hasn’t dethroned Merlot as the primary grape varietal but most wineries grow it either for blending or bottling on its own.

On a quiet Sunday afternoon I took a drive to wine country to sample a few.

 

Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room  165 Love Lane, Mattituck

This is their satellite tasting room as the tasting room at the winery is now members only. On a two block long commercial area with a cheese shop next door and an Italian deli across the street.

2016 Cabernet Franc: “The Twelve Rows”:  98% Cabernet Franc from the site specific Twelve Rows block. Cloudy medium purple with a purple rim, camphor, crushed red fruit, licorice and dark chocolate on the nose, bright dark fruit with raspberry notes on the crisp finish. 

 

Bedell Cellars  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

A family owned operation with vines planted in 1980 using sustainable farming and “artistic blending”.

2017 Cabernet Franc:  From estate grown grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts, opaque black with a purple rim, cooked berries, raspberry and mike chocolate on the nose, bright red fruit with firm acidity, I thought the finish dropped a bit at the end. 

 

Paumanok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquabogue

Founded in 1983 and entirely owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud, the tasting room is in a turn of the century renovated barn.

2016 Cabernet Franc: 100% Cabernet Franc, opaque dark red, purple rim, slate, crushed rocks and wet dirt on the nose, bright red cherry fruit with wet earth notes on the fruit, low tannin, firm acidity, on the light side. 

 

 

 

Cochon 555 2020

 

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 Cochon 555 is a “nose to tail” culinary event that covers nine cities on its U.S. tour. The organization was created in 2008 with a mission to support family farms and to educate buyers about heritage breed pigs. The signature event featured 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 winemakers in a friendly competition for a cause where the winner is crowned “Princess/Prince of Pork”. Sommeliers were on hand for a to pour wines and to participate in a Somm Smackdown.

The New York City leg of their tour was held on March 8th at the Altman Building event venue at 135 West 18th Street in Manhattan. The venue is a landmark building dating from 1896 and was the carriage house for the B. Altman department store.

This was one of the last events I was able to attend before the virus lockdown and fortunately it was one of those consumer events that had a good crowd enjoying a good mix of food, spirits and wine. They had oysters, cheese and steak tartare for those who were pork adverse though it seemed they didn’t get the logistics of the new venue down right, some of the lines for food were way too long and that was before general admittance was let in. But with a couple of floors of food, drink and music people were enjoying what was probably the last party that were able to attend.

 

La Paulée de New York 2020

 

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This year was the 20th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which was held from March 4-7. The week included seminars, tastings and some very expensive dinners. The Grand Tasting was held on Saturday afternoon at the Pier Sixty event venue located at 60 Chelsea Piers on the far west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson river.

In the U. S., the festival alternates between New York City and San Francisco and showcases the latest vintage of the Burgundian wines to be released. At the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon over 50 wine professionals were on hand to serve the wines from over 40 domains of Burgundy. A team of top-notch chefs prepared “petits plats” for guests to nosh on while they sampled the various wines. Members of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastvin were on hand to serenade (a capella style) the wine drinkers.

The event is Restaurateur and Sommelier Daniel Johnson’s homage to the annual La Paulée de Meursault in Burgundy. That originally began as a end of harvest festival thrown by the Burgundian growers for their guests and field workers and was revived in the early twentieth century as an annual event for the growers and their guests.

The 2017 vintage was a much better year for Burgundy than Bordeaux. The later suffered through epic frost while Burgundy was able haul in the biggest crop since 2009.

This was one of those tastings that I could have spent 2-3 days tasting through all the wines. There were over 150 of some of the most famous (and expensive) wines in the world to taste. I really enjoyed the whites, in general they were very elegant and balanced wines with just enough of the tropical fruit and oak notes to make them interesting. The reds were light in color with restrained fruit and firm acids, very old world style.

Some of what I sampled:

2017 Vintage

Domaine Etienne Sauzet

Puligny Montrachet: Light gold, closed nose lemon curd, nicely balanced fruit.

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres: Light gold, nose of fresh herbs, moderate fruit with a firm but juicy finish.

Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet: Light gold, spicy cinnamon on the nose, moderate fruit with a firm, balanced finish. 

Domaine Roulot

Meursault “A Mon Plasir” Clos du Haut Tesson: Light gold with tropical notes on the nose, earthy, tart fruit, good balance. 

Domaine Bernard Moreau

Chassagne Montrachet: Light gold, tropical nose, dusty, tropical notes on the fruit, nice balance. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers: Light gold, rosemary and tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit, pineapple, firm and balanced finish. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot: Medium to light gold, cinnamon and tropical fruit notes on the nose, fruit forward, drops at the end. 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, tropical fruit and cinnamon on the nose, minerally with crisp acids at the end.

Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, tropical fruits and cinnamon on the nose with tropical fruit notes and lemon on the long finish. 

Olivier Laflaive

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot: Medium gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose with tropical fruit notes on the nice balance.

Meursault 1er Cru Blagny Sous le Dos d’Ane: Medium gold, toasty nose, lemon tart fruit with a firm finish. 

Bouchard Pere & Fils

Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, mashed peaches on the nose, moderate peachy fruit, great balance. 

Beaune 1er Cru Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus: Light brick, red leather on the nose, green herb notes on the balanced and long finish.

Joseph Drouhin

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc: Light gold, toasted pineapple on the nose, moderate tropical fruit with oak notes, nice finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge: Clear light red, pretty perfume of spicy berries, silky fruit with a nice balance.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, spicy perfume with oak notes on the light fruit. 

Domaine Genot-Boulanger

Meursault 1er Cru Les Boucheres: Light gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose, spicy, juicy fruit, long finish. 

Domaine de Montille

Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots: : Light gold, green herbs and tropical fruit on the nose, juicy fruit with lime notes, good balance. 

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, toast and tropical fruit on the nose, toasty lime fruit, crisp finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies: Light red, red leather nose, silky red fruit and red leather notes on the firm finish.

Louis Jadot

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Medium gold, sweet candy and toast on the nose, juicy with a firm finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Aux Cras: Light red, roasted earth on the nose, dusty, juicy fruit with firm acids at the finish. 

Domaine Yvon Clerget

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru: Light to medium red, floral nose with sweet fruit and a tight finish.

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

Volnay: Light purple, dried leaves on the nose, crushed rock on the fruit, good grip.

Domaine Jean Grivot

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Ronciere: Light brick, dried herbs on the nose, medium body fruit with good balance and a long finish. 

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, black licorice on the nose, juicy fruit with a nice balance.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras: Clear medium red, toasty tar on the nose, silky fruit and nicely balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Clear medium red, tarry black fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and a firm balanced finish. 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, sweet perfume of strawberries with a tight and silky finish. 

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru: Clear medium purple, pretty nose of sweet, dried herbs, juicy red leather on the fruit, nice balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Medium brick, red leather and herbs on the nose, silky red fruit on the firm and balance finish.

Domaine Dujac

Morey Saint Denis: Light red, red leather nose with moderate juicy fruit, balanced. 

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru: Light red, dried herbs on the nose, dusty red fruit with firm, mouth watering tannins at the finish.

Domaine Duroché

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaut St Jacques: Clear light purple, damp earth and rosemary on the nose with strawberry notes on the fruit ending with firm acidity. 

Echezeaux Grand Cru: Clear light red, strawberry and earth on the nose, red cherry fruit with rosemary notes on the finish. 

Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes: Light clear red, earth and herbs on the nose, silky finish with some heat at the end.

 

Pozole & Mezcal

 

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On Saturday afternoon February 29th, Jimmy Carbone’s Food Karma Projects, a producer of food and craft beverage events, held the first ever Bowl of ‘Zole pozole festival. The event was held at Bibi restaurant at 110 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The event brought together 10 chefs who cooked their versions of Pozole for people to sample and to accompany all that were 50 different Mezcal from 20+ producers. 

Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup (stew), associated with special occasions, festivals and family. Traditionally made with pork and hominy, it comes in three versions, blanco (white), rojo (red), and verde (green). It’s Mexican comfort food, something that grandma would cook for you.

Mezcal is an alcoholic spirit from Mexico made from the agave plant. It is similar to tequila and while technically all tequila are mezcal, not all mezcal are tequila. Tequila must use a single varietal of agave (blue agave) and be made in the state of Jalisco, while Mezcal can be made using up to 28 different varieties of agave and mostly produced around the city of Oaxaca put produced in other States as well. With tequila the agave heads are baked in above ground ovens while in Mezcal the agave is cooked in the traditional method in pits dug into the ground. Cooking in those in-ground pits is what gives the Mezcal its smoky flavor profile. The permitted use of many types of agave and wider geographic production area results in a greater variety of styles of the spirit than in tequila. Many are still made in the traditional method at small production family run operations which means that with the exception of a small handful of labels, many of the brands are not widely distributed and were not familiar to me. 

I have to admit that this was the first time I had a comprehensive tasting of Pozole as it’s an under the radar Mexican food choice. They are traditionally made with pork but there were versions made with chicken and seafood as well. I was able to sample the different versions of the stew and it was the perfect food choice to have on a chilly Winter Saturday afternoon. 

Some of the Pozole I sampled:

La Esquina chef Gonzalo Rivera: Vuelve a la Vida Pozole, Maine lobster, mussels, clams, organic hominy, fennel, toasted sesame, & chile de arbol oil, smoky hoja santa broth.

Balvanera chef Fernando Navas: Pozole rojo with radishes, avocado and fresh oregano.

Bacado chef Ivy Stark: Pozole rojo with braised short rib.

Hotel Indigo chef Chai Trivedi Kitsch: Rojo, matzo ball Pozole. 

Mesa Coyoacan chef Ivan Garcia: Shredded pork, hominy, guajillo, ancho chile broth, radish, oregano. 

Toloache chef Julian Medina: Pozole verde, heirloom hominy, green curry, coconut milk broth, thai basi, lemongrass, salsa macha, been sprouts. 

While Mezcal can be made from several types of agave, the “workhorse” is the Espadin varietal and many of the spirits on hand were made from that type of agave. I tried to sample as many made from agave other than Espadin.

Some of the Mezcal I sampled:

Ilegal Mezcal, espadin Fidencio, tepextate
Machetazo, cupreata Sombra, espadin
Banuelos, masparillo, tepemate El Silencio, joven, black
Del Maguey, arroqueno. wild tetextate Wahaka, tabala, madre cuishe
El Buho, tepeztate, jabal, ensamble Siete Misterios, arroqueno
AC, agave de cortez Mezcal Vago, cuixn, ensamble

 

 

Beer Bash Brooklyn

 

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New York City Beer Week began on Saturday, February 22nd. It was the start of 10 days of craft beer events with beer tastings, beer themed food pairings and seminars throughout the city.

The beer week kicked off with the Opening Bash on Saturday afternoon and evening. That event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center, an event venue at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It’s becoming a popular spot for hosting beer/wine/spirit events.

The opening bash was sponsored by the New York City Brewers Guild whose mission is to advance New York City’s brewing industry and thereby “lessen human misery”.

It was a huge event with 75+ breweries from New York City, New York State and from around the country pouring their beer to sample with all styles represented. There was even a brewery on hand from Sweden.

At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, there were so many breweries in New York that New York State was the largest grower of hops in the country. Prohibition brought that all to an end. The last couple of decades has seen a resurgence for the beer industry in New York City and Data from the State Liquor Authority (2018) had 41 breweries throughout the five boroughs.

With such a massive amount of beer to sample, I focused my efforts on sampling any beer that was out of the ordinary. For the most part on that night that meant sampling sour beers which were usually infused with all sorts of fruits and botanicals, and any beer that was aged in various barrels which included wine, whiskey and rum barrels. For a change of pace I sampled stouts which themselves were flavored with coffee, chocolate, coconut and vanilla to name a few of the ingredients used. Surprisingly, I could only find one cider company in the house.

Some of what sampled:

 

Mikkeller:Jammy Buggers” fruited sour ale.

KCBC: “Cosmic Zombie” barrel aged fruited sour ale with coffee.

Bronx Brewery: “Long Island” sour IPA, “Blacktop Stout” imperial stout.

Graft: “Lost Tropic” hop mimosa cider, “Book of Nomad” cabernet franc, black current cider.

Oxbow: “Pinkette” mixed fermented farmhouse ale with cherries

Grimm: “Purple Prose” Foeder fermented sour ale with black current and raspberries.

Icarus Brewing: “AW Raspberry” Barrel aged Russian imperial stout, “A Tale of Two Printers” Rye aged Russian imperial stout. 

Interboro: “Cocotaso” Rum barrel aged imperial stout. 

Collective Arts:Origin of Darkness” Barrel aged cannoli stout, blueberry sour with cocoa nibs. 

Fonta Flora Brewery: “Rhythm Rug” Appalachian wild ale conditioned on local organic strawberries.  

Killsboro:Gimme Gimme Blackberry Peach” Dessert sour.

Brooklyn Brewery: “Rosé de Ville” Spritz sour ale brewed with tart raspberry. 

Screaming Hill Farm Brewery: “Ol’ Barn” Sour series wildberry. 

Threes Brewing:Dare To Know” Fruit punch, rock candy, jamba juice medley, grapefruit essence. 

Widowmaker Brewing: “There’s No Wrong Way” Peanut butter stout. 

Monday Night Brewing: “Situational Ethics” Praline stout. 

Kent Falls Brewing Co.: “Non Linear Thought” Farmhouse pale ale with peaches and apricots. 

Amor Artis: Colonel stout.

 

 

Hops & Props

 

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Hops & Props was a beer festival that was held on February 8th. The event took place at the Cradle of Aviation Museum which is located on Charles Lindberg Boulevard in Garden City, Long Island.

The event featured 100+ craft beer and cider scattered throughout the galleries of the museum.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum is dedicated to the history of flight with galleries showcasing exhibits from the first hot air balloons to the space program. The museum houses many restored World War II fighter planes as well as an authentic Apollo-era lunar module. That lunar module was built by the Grumman Corp. which is based in nearby Bethpage and was scheduled to fly to the moon on the Apollo 18 mission. That mission was cancelled and the craft is now on exhibit in the museum. It was a cool venue to have a beer fest.

The museum sits on the Hempstead plains, a flat and treeless (at the beginning of the 20th century at least) part of central Nassau county on Long Island which made it a natural airfield. At the dawn of the aviation age, many flight schools and flying clubs made their homes in the area. Charles Lindbergh’s took off on his famous 1927 transatlantic flight from nearby Roosevelt Field which is now a shopping mall.

 

 

Sake & Amaro

 

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I go to a lot of wine/spirit/cocktail events and I have different expectations for every event I go to. There are the events that are geared for industry professionals and non industry enthusiasts. They usually serve the higher end and eclectic spirits. Many are open to consumers and spirit neophytes and those tend to focus on quantity more than quality. But they are a good way for the neophyte to learn more about wine ands spirits and they usually make for a fun party. I’ve had my expectations met, I’ve had them exceeded and sometimes the event did not live up to my expectations.

I recently attended an event that was more the latter than the former. It was a “Best Of” beer and food event in Brooklyn. Buying a ticket gained you entrance into a spartan, bare bones industrial floor space with a handful of beer vendors and food vendors that you had to purchase food to sample. It didn’t keep my interest peaked for too long and I spent less time at the event than on the commute to get there.

Fortunately the event was held at Industry City located at 36th Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Industry Center is a complex of commercial buildings dating from the 1890’s that has been repurposed as a retail and commercial space. You can easily spend that day shopping, eating and drinking and when the weather is nice, relaxing in the outdoor spaces.  It’s also home to breweries and distilleries.

The Craft New York Act of 2014 eased the regulations for opening a brewery or distillery in New York State which has resulted in a boom of those businesses in the state especially if they use local agriculture to make their products. Distilleries and Breweries have opened once again in New York City.

In Industry City if you walk over to building 5/6 you’ll find a few and since I didn’t spend too much time at the beer and food event, I stopped by a couple to sample a few spirits.

 

Standard Wormwood Distillery

This distillery produces sprits and liquors using New York State grown ingredients particularly wormwood as a base. Wormwood was a formally banned ingredient traditionally use in the production of Absinthe. I had a flight of spirits/liquor which included a Rye, an Agave, an Amaro, an Apertivo and a Wermut (vermouth).

 

Brooklyn Kura

This is the State’s first Sake brewery. They make several craft Sake and serve them on tap in their minimalist tasting room complete with a view of the brewing vats in the background.

I had a glass of the Bluedoor Junmai which was described as “umani laden, rich, clean”.

 

Oldies Bar

Next door to the Sake bar, they have the largest selection of New York spirits in the city, in fact those are the only spirits they are allowed to serve. I had a craft old fashioned.