Secret Summer Cocktail Party 2018

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On Sunday, August 12th I attended the 4th annual Secret Summer cocktail festival. It’s the country’s only “farm to bar” cocktail festival where this years spirit companies consisting of Suntory Whisky, Brugal rum, Brockman’s gin, Hanger 1 vodka and Blue Point brewery concocted cocktails using locally grown ingrediants.

The event was held at the The Foundry, a restored 19th century foundry located at 42-38 9th Street in Long Island City in the shadow of Queensborough bridge .

Party goers were able to stroll the open air courtyard plus any of the five rooms in the building and stop at one of the cocktail stations for a drink. A DJ played in the main room while strolling musicians played in the courtyard. Food trucks were on hand to feed hungry patrons.

The weather forecast was not optimal as rain was forecast for the weekend but on this Sunday, the rain clouds stayed away and it was sunny, hot and humid on this August afternoon.

 

Some cocktails I sampled:

Tasogore Toki

Toki whiskey, sparkling sake, Bernard Ranches’ sustainably grown citrus, green tea & koppert cress pequino syrup.

Lavender Lemonade

Hanger 1 vodka, “grow nyc” lavender reduction, Bernard Ranches sustainable citrus lemonade, sparkling water, market lavender stalks.

Spicy Mai Tai

Brugal extra dry rum, market lime, homemade almond Orgeat reduction, Shaquanda hot sauce, Andrew’s rooftop honey, brugal 1888 float.

Perfect Serve

Brockman’s gin, Fentman’s tonic, blueberries, grapefruit peel.

Plum Gose-arita

Chipotle tequila, Umeshu plum wine, lemon, plum preserves, salt, blue point beach plum gose.

 

Musical lineup:

DJ Kieren Taylor

Hungry March Band

Sitar & Tabla

Moon Hooch

Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Drums

 

 

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Chefs & Champagne 2018

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On Saturday July 28th I attended the 28th annual James Beard Foundation’s Chef & Champagne gala. It’s a huge foodie fest with 35+ Chef tastings washed down with free-flowing wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyards, beer from Heineken and cocktails with Tito’s vodka. This years Champagne sponsor was Boizel which poured their Brut Reserve. At the event they held a silent auction and announced the recipient of the 2018 Christian Wölffer scholarship. The guest host this year was Padma Lakshmi.

The gala is part of JBF’s year-long “rise” celebration; “a salute to the countless ways our food community rises to meet the world’s challenges and make it more delicious, diverse and sustainable place for all”. The foundation was named after cookbook author, teacher and champion of American cuisine, James Beard. They maintain the James Beard House at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

The festivities, as usual, were held on the grounds of the Wölffer Estate Vineyards on the South Fork of Long Island just east of the town of Bridgehampton at 183 Sagg Road in Sagaponack.

It was a typically hot and steamy July evening but fortunately the rains stayed away.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Gregory Goudet  SAGE RESTAURANT GROUP: Grilled Oregon Albacore with lemongrass, galangal, chile and lime. (My favorite)

Audrey Villages  2 SPRING: Shrimp Po’Boy with lemon aioli and lettuce cup.

Barbara Sibley  LA PALAPA: Tacos de Barbacoa, guajillo braised brisket tacos.

Alex Baker  YVE’S: Mussels Provencal with cherry tomatoes, garlic croutons and parsley.

Angie Rito, Scott Tacinelli  DON ANGIE: Vitello Tonnato.

Roxanne Spruance  KINGSLEY: Grilled Angus Beef short ribs with pecan Barbacoa sauce, heirloom lettuce, buttermilk and goat cheese.

Janice Booth, Jeff Mcinnis  ROOT & BONE: Wood grilled oysters with greenneck butter and charred bread.

Ayesha Nurdjaja  SHUKA: Whipped Feta with watermelon and pistachio Dukkah.

Patti Jackson  DELAWARE & HUDSON: Duck Bratwurst with spiced peaches, mustard, chowchow and turnip sauerkraut on pretzel roll.

Tom Fraker  MELISSA’S PRODUCE: Tropical crab crostini with mango jelly.

Emma Bengtsson  AQUAVIT: Grilled Isterband sausage sliders.

Stephan Bogardus  NORTH FORK TABLE & INN: Corn soup with truffles.

Hillary Sterling  VIC’S: Marinated Albacore tuna with harissa, black olives, hazelnuts and mint.

Matthew Woolf  RAINBOW ROOM & BAR 65: Olive oil poached King salmon with charred leek emulsion, jersey corn puree, black garlic and corn crackling.

Jessica Craig  L’ARTUSI: Blueberry tartlette with lemon thyme and almonds.

 

 

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks 2018

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Dan’s Papers is a weekly lifestyle magazine of all things Hampton’s. Every Summer they host/sponsor several parties out in the East End including Rosé Soirée, Chefs of the North Fork, Grill Hampton and Montaco.

On Saturday July 21st they held their 8th annual Taste of Two Forks event. A food and spirits party that showcased the “bounty of both the North and South Fork of Long Island”.

The event was held under the big tents overlooking Mecox Bay at Mecox Farms located at 19 horsemill lane in Bridgehampton, Long Island.

In addition to bites provided by local restaurants, there were local wines and wine from Italy, California and Chile, beer from Corona and Blue Moon, and several cocktail stations including the Jack Daniel line of whiskeys, the ever-present Tito’s vodka, Aperol, Campari and Espolõn tequila to name a few.

The celebrity host this year was David Burtka, the music provided by DJ Phresh and a portion of the ticket price went to benefit the all for the East End charity.

The weather was a concern since a big storm was forecast but the rains held off for most of the evening.

 

Some of the food I sampled:

The Basil House & Hotel: Basil soaked mozzarella,  heirloom tomato chutney, zucchini.

Simons Center Café: Long Island Fluke, citrus, watermelon, green peppercorn.

Buoy One Seafood: Local corn, fresh blue claw crab and black bean salad.

Shucker’s Lobster & Clam Bar: Blackened shrimp, guacamole, cucumber and jalapeno relish.

Topping Rose House: Local catch ceviche, coconut milk, calamansi gelee, crisp chicharron, shiso and spicy corn cake.

Claudio’s: Pan seared day boat scallops with cioppino broth and summer vegetables.

Events by Peter Ambrose: Carolina low country Paella.

Southampton Social Club: Sushi roll, scallion, avocado, cucumber, toro, sashimi, wasabi tobiko.

Little Red: Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with ricotta salata, basil oil and balsamic reduction.

The Frisky Oyster: Peconic gold oysters Friskafella with garlic chipotle spinach and parmigiana aioli.

North Fork Roasting Co.: Sunkissed melon salad, Mexican mint, dehydrated lemon crystals, edible flowers.

Insatiable Eats Catering: Sicilian meatballs two ways.

North Sea Tavern: Shrimp ceviche.

Smoking Wolf BBQ: Slow smoked BBQ pulled pork sliders with pickles and onions.

SAAZ: Chicken tiki masala, mix vegetables, naan bread and basmati rice.

 

 

FIAF Bastille Day Party 2018

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July 14th is the French National Day, or Bastille Day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French revolution.

In New York City on Sunday July 15th, FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) has celebrated Bastille Day for over twenty years with a three-block long party on 60th Street in Manhattan.

FIAF is a private not for profit created in 1898 to “promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture” through cinema, lectures and language classes.

The fête featured live entertainment, street art, a French-themed market and a couple of wine tastings; a  jazz and Champagne event and a tasting of wines from the south of France provided by Sud de France. The tastings took place at their office at 22 East 60th Street.

As luck would have it, this year France made it to the finals of the World Cup which was played on this Sunday afternoon which added to the festivities of the day.

There was an after-party at Amali restaurant at 115 East 60th Street with free-flowing wine from the south of France , rum from Martinique and cider from Normandy.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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)