Pinot Blanc On Long Island

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Pinot Blanc is a white grape that is a genetic cousin to Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir and has similar characteristics to Chardonnay. It’s a major grape in places like Alsace, France and Friuli, Italy but not widely grown on the North Fork of Long Island. Only a handful of wineries bottle a Pinot Blanc.  On a sunny Saturday afternoon I took a drive out to sample a few.

 

Lieb Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue

Winery established in 1992 with small production, all estate wines.

2016 Pinot Blanc “Reserve”. Their signature wine from some of the oldest vines on the North Fork (circa 1983). 100% fermented in stainless steel with zero percent residual sugar. Medium yellow with white flowers and lemon custard on the nose, crisp and steely with lime notes on the finish

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Shinn Estate Vineyards  2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

A certified sustainable winery with a Bed & Breakfast, new owners took over in 2017 and recently renovated the tasting room including an impressive barrel room tasting area.

2016 Pinot Blanc. Hand harvested and fermented in oak for six months in puncheon barrels, this wine is stylistically 180° from the Lieb Pinot Blanc. Medium to dark gold in color with very ripe peaches and oak on the nose, ripe fruit with cooked notes on the finish,  not nearly as fresh as the Lieb. 96 cases.

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Palmer Vineyards  108 Sound Avenue, Aquabogue

One of the original wineries on the North Fork established in 1983 with 90 acres planted and one of the few if only winery on Long Island to bottle an Albariño.

2017 Pinot Blanc. Medium to light yellow in color with a greenish tint, pineapple and ripe flowers on the nose, crisp with green herb notes on the finish. 124 cases.

 

 

 

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Summer Fancy Food Show 2018

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The Summer Fancy Food Show was held in New York City on June 30-July 2nd and this year an additional day was added. This is the sister event to the Winter show held in San Francisco at the beginning of the year. The event was held at the Javits Convention Center at 655 West 34th Street in Manhattan.

It’s the largest specialty food show in North America and had many countries showcasing that country’s food products in addition to many small and large companies of specialty food products. There were a wide range of food products from A to Z. I strolled around the large venue sampling what I thought would be interesting, cured hams, many from Spain (with all due respect to my paesani, Spain has some of the best cured hams in the world), olives from around the world, and an eclectic selection of cheeses from small producers, many from the United States. There seemed to be many “healthy” snacks being marketed as well.  This years partner country was Greece.

The show wasn’t a wine fest but some producers had wine and cordials to sample.  VinItaly had a tasting bar which featured a rotating selection of regional Italian wines. When I stopped by they were pouring sparkling wines from the Trentino region which are not nearly as well-known as Prosecco.

 

Some wines I sampled:

2017 Macchie S. Maria Fiano di Avellino “Signifer”. Light yellow with a subtle  nose of hazelnuts, roast meat on the fruit, crisp acidity.

2009 Cantina della Vernaccia Vernaccia di Oristano “Juichissa”. Unusual white, clear brown, nutty, almond notes on the nose and fruit, very sherry like.

2016 Salton Winery Marselan. From Brazil’s oldest winery, Marselan is a hybrid blend between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, dark purple with crushed strawberry on the nose and big fruit.

2015 Salton Winery Tannat. Dark red with spice notes on the nose, chewy green nuts on the firm but balanced fruit, stem notes on the finish.

2012 Carash Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva. Dark red, roasted meat on the nose with bitter almond notes on the finish.

2013 Sartori Amarone. Dark red with an amber rim, crushed black fruit and tar on the nose, dense and juicy with bitter almond/cherry on the finish.

 

 

 

Pizza & Prosecco In Bushwick

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The Prosecco DOC Consortium wrapped up Prosecco week with a Prosecco and pizza garden party held at Roberta’s restaurant at 261 Moore Street in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The consortium is an organization which coordinates and manages Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controlatta, the controlled designation of origin).

The Consortium showcased Italy’s most popular sparking wine and Roberta’s, which has been ranked as one of the best pies in the country, provided the pizza so it was a perfect match.

The industrial area of Bushwick has been one of the last neighborhoods in New York City to be homesteaded, its empty, industry rich infrastructure given new life with trendy restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries to name a few. It’s also known for its street art (a.k.a. graffiti)

It was a nice warm afternoon for a garden party and about 10 different Prosecco were poured and though the line for the pizza was long, it was pretty tasty pizza.

 

Some of the Prosecco served:

Zonin

Villa Sandi

Mionetio

Carati 075 Millesimato

Ca’ di Rajo

La Marca

Astoria

Castello di Roncade

 

 

Westchester Magazine’s Wine & Food Fest 2018

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Westchester magazine held their 8th annual  Wine & Food Festival from June 5-10. It was a week of foodie events that included a burger & beer bash, an Italian wine tasting and a Chefs food and wine pairing. On Saturday the 9th they held their signature event, the grand tasting village.

The grand tasting village was an outdoor, under the tents event that featured 200+ wines and spirits and food from over 50 local restaurants. The event was held this year as in last at the Kensico Dam Plaza, a park in the village of Valhalla which is about a 40 minute train ride north from New York City.

In addition to the general admission they had a separate “connoisseur tent” which was away from the crowd and had some special wines with food to go with them.

In my opinion, this is one of the best consumer wine tastings out there for the number and variety of quantity wines that were poured with plenty of food tastings to go along with them.

Some of what I sampled:

 

NV Laurent-Perrier “Ultra Brut” (Champagne) A no-dosage champagne that was bone dry and crisp and was the recommended pairing with the raw oysters served.

2015 JP & M Auvigue Pouilly Fuisse “Soltutre” (Burgundy) Medium gold with honey and pineapple on the nose, moderate juicy with tropical fruit notes on the fruit and a nice balance.

2015 Vincent Pouilly Fuisse “Marie Antoinette” (Burgundy)  Light gold, tropical fruit on the nose, tight, sweet fruit with moderate to low acids on the finish.

2014 Vrignaud Chablis (Burgundy) Gold in color with a perfume of tropical fruits with tight, lime notes on the fruit and nice astringency on the finish.

2015 Bodega Catena Chardonnay White Stones “Adrianna Vineyard” (Mendoza) Light yellow, green herbs on the nose with floral and citrus fruit on the tight finish.

2016 Rombauer Vineyards Chardonnay (Carneros) Medium gold with a perfume of green herbs, with juicy tropical fruit notes.

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NV Velenosi Vernaccia di Serrapetrona Secco (Marche) A fizzy red, medium brick, tar and fresh herbs on the nose, off dry with slate and herb notes on the finish.

2014 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, warm cooked berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with slate notes on the nice balance.

2014 Hewitt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark purple, warm crushed dark fruit on the nose, dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with crisp acids at the finish.

2014 Rombauer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Diamond Selection) (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, concentrated and juicy.

2015 Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Dark red to black with plummy stones on the nose, concentrated and chewy with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel “Sonoma” (Sonoma County) Dark red to black, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with red leather on the firm but balanced finish.

2015 Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyards Grenache (Santa Lucia Highlands) Medium red with damp earth notes on the nose, some green stem notes on the moderate fruit.

2015 Archery Summit Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley) Medium red with ripe red berry on the nose, red cherry and cola notes on the fruit with firm acids.

2016 Tua Rita Rosso dei Notri (Tuscany) Medium red with crushed rocks on the nose, tight red licorice and black cherry on the fruit, firm finish.

2012 La Togata Winery Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium brick, toasty tar on the nose, tight black licorice fruit with firm acids on the finish.

2013 Tenuta Helena Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso (Friuli) Medium brick with red cherry tar on the nose, leather fruit with a tight finish.

 

 

La Nuit en Rosé 2018

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La Nuit en Rosé is the “world’s first festival dedicated exclusively to rosé wine” whose mission is to showcase the versatility and diversity of rosé. In addition to the event in New York City they have held the festival in Miami, Los Angeles and the Hamptons.

In New York the event was held on May 18 & 19 on the Hornblower yacht which is docked at Pier 40 on the west side of Manhattan.  They featured 100+ rosé plus food stations. Most of the wines poured were French with other countries thrown in here and there.

To me, rosé are like the sweatpants of the wine world, casual and comfortable and nothing to make a fuss about, if it’s dry I’ll drink it. On this Saturday afternoon Mother Nature did not cooperate as is was cold and rainy, but with a boatload of all you can drink rosé, a DJ and a dancefloor, the weather didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves.

Some of what I sampled:

 

French

NV Veuve Ambal Brut

NV De Chanceny Cremont de Loire Brut

NV GH Mumm Brut Rosé

NV Veuve du Vernay

NV Leoube

2017 AIX (Methuselah)

2017 Remy Pannier Rosé de Loire

2017 Listel Grain de Gris

2017 Domaine D’Hondrant Elle & Lui

2017 Diving Into Hampton Water

2017 Triennes

2017 La Chapelle Gordonne

2016 Mouton Cadet

2017 Romance du Loire Saumur

2017 Cantarelle Riviera Bistro

2017 Domaine Montrose

2017 Aime Roquesante

2017 Lurton Fumees Blanches

Others

2017 Day Owl

2017 Bonterra

2017 Frescobaldi Alie

2017 Danzante

 

 

Brooklyn Crush Spring 2018

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Brooklyn Crush is a biannual wine fest presented by NY Wine Events which hosts several wine-themed events throughout the year. The event showcased global wines and samplings of foods from local vendors.

The fest was held at Industry City, a large complex of reconverted warehouses located on 36th Street on the far west side in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The complex has a mix of commercial businesses where you could spend the day eating, drinking and shopping. It’s a destination venue in itself.

The event was held on May 12th and was open to the consumer for an afternoon and evening session. I attended that afternoon and this consumer event had more interesting wines than many of the similar wine fests I’ve attended so far this year.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Some nice Brazilian wines:

NV Cave Amadeu Rosé Brut

2013 Cave Geisse Nature

2016 Cave Geisse Brut

2013 Salton Winery Cabernet Franc

2015 Casa Perini Tannat

Others:

2015 Sparkling Point Brut

2015 Sparkling Point Topaz Imperial Brut Rosé

2017 90+ Cellars Lot 33 Rosé

2015 Ironside Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Ferreira Carpenter Winery Montelpulciano

2016 Piazza Brothers Wine Room Amerone

2014 Jamesport Vineyards East End Cabernet Franc

2013 Dancing Coyote Petite Syrah

2017 Rhonea Vacqueyras White

2015 Atha Ruju Cannonau di Sardegna

2015 Castelucci Miano Perricone

2014 Don Tony Perez Petit Verdot

2014 Don Tony Perez Syrah

2015 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2015 Ruffino Il Ducale Red

2016 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti

Spirits:

Brooklyn Kura #14 Ginjo Nama Genshu (locally made saki)

Pallini Lemoncello

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

Taconic Distillery Founders Rye

Taconic Distillery Private Reserve Bourbon

Interesting Nibbles:

Ends Meat (charcuterie made in Industry City)

Buli Olive Oil (from Tuscany)

Les Trois Petits Conchon (paté)

 

 

Wine On Wheels Fundraiser 2018

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On April 28th I attended the 7th annual Wheeling Forward Wine on Wheels grand tasting and auction. Wheeling Forward is an organization that helps people with disabilities live life to the fullest through advocacy, mentorship and support services. One of the founding members, Yannick Benjamin is a Sommelier so it’s not surprising that they have many wine themed fundraising events throughout the year.

This event was held at City Winery, a music venue and urban winery located at 155 Varick Street in lower Manhattan. Many distributors/importers donated well over 100 wines from most of the major wine regions in the world. Pouring at the event were dozens of Sommeliers who volunteered their time and it really was “great wines for a great cause”.

It was an eclectic list of old and new world wines with everything from great Champagne to Pet-Nats. Before the general public were let in they had a premium wine room that poured some interesting older vintages some of which I sampled:

 

2014 Cucamon Granache A Tribute to Grace “Hofer Vineyard” (Cucamonga Valley). Light red, leather notes on the nose with cherry red leather fruit.

1985 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Medium amber with an amber rim, closed nose of roasted meat, dusty black cherry fruit, firm silky tannins. Still drinking nicely.

1991 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignon “Cherryblock” (Sonoma Valley). Amber in color, ripe plums, bell pepper and mint on the nose, chewy black leather fruit and dried leaf notes on the finish.

2010 Cerretto Barolo (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and leather on the nose with moderate tannins on the firm finish.

Others that I sampled:

2015 Joseph Drouhin Chassange Montrachet

2013 Domaine Faiveley 1er Cru Clos de l’Ecu Monopole 1.5L

2013 Domaine de la Chapelle Corton Bressandes

2014 Chateau Mont Redon Chateauneuf du Pape 1.5L

2000 Chateau La Louviere

2005 Calon-Segur

2005 Chateau d’Issan

1999 Chateau Lagrange

2011 Brane-Cantenac

2011 Chateau Phelan Segur

2013 Bruno Giacosa Barolo “Le Rocche del Falletto”

2013 Mount Eden Chardonnay “Estate”

2015 DeLoach Vineyards Pinot Noir RRV

2009 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Raymond Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve”

2014 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo”

2015 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel

 

 

 

Wine Spectator Grand Tour 2018

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Wine Spectator magazine held their 17th annual Spring Grand Tour wine tasting event. The tour travels to three cities in the Untied States and this year the tour stopped in Las Vegas, Washington DC and in New York City on April 24th. While not to be confused with the Spectator’s New York wine experience held in October which is three days of tastings, seminars and dinner, the Grand Tour still offered the opportunity to taste over 200 wines rated 90+ on the Spectator scale. Plenty of good juice to be sampled, too many for one evening but I tried my best.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square at 1535 Broadway.

Some of what I tasted:

 

New World

2005 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Moderate to dark cloudy red, nice perfume of pencil shavings and tar, cherry mint on the fruit with a long finish. Tasty.

2013 Hall Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, dark cherry fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Adobe Road Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, black cherry on the nose, chewy dark chocolates on the juicy fruit, moderate finish.

2013 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de Latour Private Reserve” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted meat and dark chocolate on the nose, concentrated dark fruit and mint on the chewy fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Crown Point Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Happy Canyon” (Santa Barbara). Black with a purple rim, green herbs on the nose, silky tannins with juicy dark fruit and black licorice notes.

2014 Guarachi Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Inky black, vanilla and crushed black fruit on the nose, big juicy black fruit with dark chocolate on the finish.

2010 Rodney Strong Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Brothers Ridge” (Alexander Valley). Inky black, cooked meat on the nose, chunky, mint fruit ending with firm acids to balance the fruit.

2014 Round Pound Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Rutherford). Dark red, red cherry and roasted meat on the nose, bright cherry fruit, moderate finish.

2015 Fess Parker Pinot Noir “Bien Nacido Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with nice earth notes on the nose, silky, chewy fruit with cola notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Domaine Della Pinot Noir “Keefer Ranch” (Russian River Valley). Medium clear red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, spicy red fruit, moderate to low acids at the end.

2009 Col Solare (Columbia Valley). Inky black, cooked fruit and mint notes on the nose, dusty and tight.

2015 Penfolds Cabernet-Shiraz “Bin 389” (South Australia). Black with a red rim, crushed ripe berry on the nose, juicy and ripe with cedar and cooked fruit notes, moderate finish.

2013 Cheval des Andes (Mendoza). Dark red with earth notes on the nose, tight with dark slate on the fruit, firm, long finish.

 

Old World

2012 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium amber in color, green peppers, sweet herbs and cherry mint on the nose, dusty, silky fruit, great balance with dark chocolate on the finish. Tasty.

2011 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan). Medium red, toasty nose, silky red fruit finishing with firm tannins.

2005 Chateau Calon-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark brick with a beautiful perfume of violets and crushed red fruit, silky fruit with green pepper and dark chocolate notes, nice balance and a long finish.

2011 Chateau Angelus (St-Emillion). Medium red, black olives on the nose, dusty dark fruit, moderate to long dusty finish.

2011 Chateau Brane-Cantenac (Margaux). Dark red in color, pretty perfume of earth and violets, chewy red fruit with firm tannins.

2009 Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Paulliac). Medium brick, roasted sour pickles? on the nose, dusty black fruit with moderate tannins.

2014 Chateau Talbot (St-Julien). Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit, slate notes on the moderate finish.

2012 Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Clear medium brick, pretty nose of violets, tar and leather, silky red fruit, great balance with moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2012 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa” (Tuscany). Clear medium red, dried leaf and dark plums on the nose with chewy red leather fruit.

2011 Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino “Vigna del Fiore” (Tuscany). Medium brick, dried leaf and roasted meat on the nose, velvety fruit with some cinnamon notes on the finish.

2013 Mazzei “Tenuta Belguardo” (Tuscany). Clear dark red with a perfume of violets and roasted meat, big dark chocolate fruit followed by firm acids.

2004 Paolo Scavino Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio” (Piedmont). Light red in color, tar and red cherry on the nose, tight red fruit with pencil shavings on the finish, moderate acids.

2013 Pio Cesare Barolo (Piedmont). Brick in color, cherry tar on the nose, moderate chewy, red licorice fruit, moderate tannins and acids at the end.

2013 Aldo Conterno Barolo “Bussia” (Piedmont). Medium amber, tar and petroleum on the nose, dusty tight fruit, firm finish.

2010 Bodegas Bilbainas “Vina Pomal Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Medium red, stinky damp earth on the nose with dusty tart fruit.

2011 CVNE “Imperial Gran Reserva” (Rioja). Dark red to black, roasted bacon on the nose, concentrated dark fruit with mint notes, firm finish.

 

 

Petit Verdot On Long Island

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Petit Verdot is one of the classic varieties used in blending in Bordeaux. It’s an early ripening varietal and its dense fruit, dark color and high tannins mean “a little goes a long way” when used in the blend.

It’s grown on Long Island in small amounts used primarily as a blending grape as well but a few wineries bottle it on its own and when you go to the tasting room, it’s usually the most expensive wine by the glass option.

On a sunny Sunday afternoon I drove out to wine country to sample a few.

 

Sannino Bella Vita Vineyards  7490 Alvans Lane, Cutchogue

This winery practices sustainable viticulture and has a Bed & Breakfast on property

2014 Petit Verdot “Spotlight”. Black in color with a purple rim, crushed raspberry on the nose with slate and crushed rock notes on the tight and tart finish, moderate tannins.

2013 Petit Verdot “Spotlight”. Inky black with a purple rim, mint and cooked fruit on the nose, chewy dusty dark chocolate on the fruit with nice acidity. More fruit forward than the ’14.

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Pellegrini Vineyards  23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

This winery was founded in 1991 and features a two-story oak beamed tasting room.

2012 Petit Verdot “Estate”. Black with a purple rim, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose, crushed red berries and some smoke on the fruit, moderate tannins and low acid with lavender notes on the finish.

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Osprey’s Dominion Vineyards  44075 Main Road, Peconic

The first vines at this vineyard were planted in 1983, this was the most crowded tasting room the day I visited.

2013 Petit Verdot “Reserve”. Inky black, corked?, closed nose with smoky, dense fruit with moderate acids. Corked notes blew off after a few minutes in the glass.

 

 

Brooklyn Wine Fest 2018

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On Saturday April 14th I attended the Brooklyn Wine Fest which was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center located at 72 Noble Street in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

The event was opened to the public and consisted of an afternoon and an evening tasting. I attended in the afternoon.

These wine fests follow pretty much the same standard template, plenty of nondescript wines, food stalls/food trucks, a few sponsored cocktail booths, a cider booth, a beer booth and live music. I would call these events more of a wine party than a serious tasting but on this warm Saturday afternoon, the venue was full of local hipsters enjoying the wine, food and dancing to the live music. None of the wines excited me so my go to drink of the afternoon was a Bombay Sapphire Negroni.