Spain’s Great Match New York 2021

On November 15th I attended the 27th annual Spain’s Great Match, a food & wine event in which importers and distributors showcased the new vintages in their portfolios to members of the trade and to consumers. Over 300 wines were available to sample.

The event was held at Mercado Little Spain at 10 Hudson Yards. Mercado is essentially the Spanish version of Eataly, a food and wine theme park. It was opened by Chef José Andrés and the Adrian Brothers to showcase “the best of Spanish food, drink and culture”.

Spain is one of the world’s leading producers of wine and some of their top wine regions include Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Rias Baixas, Penedes and Jerez.

There were two sessions, an afternoon session for the trade and an evening session for consumers. I attended the trade session in the afternoon. As usual there were more wines available than I could have sampled in one afternoon, so I decided to focus my attention on one region and type of wine. At this event that focus was on the Reserva and Gran Reserva wines from Rioja. Those wines are primarily made from the Tempranillo grape and the Reserva must be age for three years with at least one year in oak and the Gran Reserva for five years with at least two in oak before release. I would have liked to sample wines from the other regions but perhaps another time.

It was an afternoon of good wine and plenty of tasty tapas (especially the ham).

Some of what I sampled:

2005 Martinez Lacuesta Campeador Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, silky fruit with a nice balance.

2008 Bodegas Frontaura Reserva (Toro): Opaque dark brick, mint and tar on the nose, dusty and tight with firm tannins.

2009 Manzanos Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red, black pepper, mint and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, dusty and silky fruit with a good grip and some heat at the end.

2010 Felix Martinez Lacuesta Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, bright red fruit with a bitter, chewy finish.

2010 Bodegas Añaras Gran Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red with a brick rim, crushed rocks on the nose, tight and silky with earth notes on the fruit followed with crisp acids.

2011 Cerro Añon Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick in color, black leather on the nose with chewy bright red fruit.

2012 Marquis de Caceres Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, perfume of red flowers, crushed red fruit with tight, bright red fruit on the finish.

2014 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva (Rioja): Black in color, slate notes on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2015 Lopez E Haro Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with a spicy nose and silky red fruit.

2015 Bodegas Añaras Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick with crushed rocks on the nose, tight red fruit and nicely balanced.

2015 Vina Pomal Reserva (Rioja): Dark brick, red leather and tar on the nose, chewy, dusty fruit, nice grip with some citrusy acids on the finish.

2015 Vina Lanciano Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a purple rim, camphor and crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty and tight with slate notes on the firm finish.

2015 Culmen Reserva (Rioja): Black with a purple rim, crushed ripe black fruit and mint on the nose, juicy, chewy and silky minerally fruit ending with a long finish.

2015 Bodegas Ugalde “Ugalde” Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with a brick rim, black pepper and crushed plum on the nose, nice silky fruit with mint notes on the firm finish.

2015 Bodegas LLeiroso Reserva (Ribero del Duero): Dark red, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with bitter almonds on the finish, nice balance.

2016 Baron De Lay Reserva (Rioja): Dark red, tar and crushed black fruit on the nose, bright, silky black fruit, firm finish.

2017 Cerro Añon Reserva (Rioja): Opaque medium brick, tar and mint on the nose, chewy tarry fruit with a nice balance.

2017 Sierra Cantabria Gran Reserva (Rioja): Dark red with floral and tobacco notes on the nose, silky dark fruit with good acidity on the finish.

2017 Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Penedes): Dark red with tar and leather on the nose, juicy red fruit with a mouthwatering tannic finish.

Wines of Uruguay Tasting

On November 11th I attended a tasting of wines from Uruguay sponsored by Uruguay Wines. This is the first time I’ve been to a comprehensive wine tasting of wines from Uruguay, in the past I’ve had a bottle of Tannat here and there but never a tasting where I could try several.

Tannat is the star grape in Uruguay, the varietal is a native of South West France and the main grape in the Madiran AOC of that country. It was brought into Uruguay by Basque settlers. This tasting was a great opportunity to sample several in one sitting.

The tasting was held at Estancia 460, a cozy Argentinian restaurant at 460 Greenwich Street in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan and the event was open to consumers.

Most of the reds were of course Tannat or Tannat blended wines, though I did try a couple of Cabernet Franc bottled on their own. They were pouring a few whites, it seemed that Viognier and Albarino are the trending whites, I also sampled a couple of Orange wines and interestingly, a red and a rosé vermouth from Vermuth Flores.

If you like California style fruit forward and accessible wines you will love the Tannats coming out of Uruguay. Generally black in color with aromas of crushed rock, slate, gun-metal and blueberries with good structure that are ready to drink.

Some of the wines I sampled:

2018 Antigua Bodega Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Medium purple with a dusty nose, juicy dark fruit with red licorice and dusty notes on the nice balance.

2020 El Capricho Aguara Tannat: Clear red with a purple rim, crushed red fruit and slate on the nose, bright fruit with forest floor and slate on the fruit, good grip at the end.

2017 El Capricho Tannat Reserve: Clear red fruit, crushed rocks and forest floor on the nose, bright red fruit with slate and earth notes on the fruit with a nice grip at the finish.

2018 Bouza Monte Vide Eu Tannat/Merlot: Opaque dark black, crushed red berry and gun metal on the nose, chewy, thick with dark chocolate notes, nice balance.

2018 Bouza Tannat A6 Parcela Unica: Black in color, closed nose of green herbs, chewy and thick with dark chocolate notes on the nice balance.

2019 Familia Traversa Tannat: Clear medium, crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and bitter almond notes on the balanced finish.

2018 Pedregal Roble Tannat/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon: Clear medium red, dusty slate, earth on the nose, silky red fruit and balanced.

2018 Pedregal Prima Donna Tannat: Dark red to black, bright red fruit and earth on the nose with tobacco notes on the balanced finish.

2017 Artesana Tannat/Merlot/Zinfandel: Opaque dark red to black in color, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, silky black licorice fruit with green olives and a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2016 Alto de la Ballena Tannat/Viognier: Opaque dark red, overripe fruit on the nose, chewy fruit with crisp acids

2020 Bracco Bosca Tannat Clasico: Opaque medium red with some stinky notes on the nose, clean bright red fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids

2019 Bracco Bosca Cabernet Franc: Opaque medium red, cigar box and red fruit on the nose, sweet dusty red fruit, nice balance.

2019 Famiglia Deicas Bizarra Extravaganza Orange: Cloudy rusty orange, tangerine notes on the nose, chewy fruit with good balance at the end.

Grand Crus of St-Emilion Tasting

The Association De Grand Crus Classes De Saint-Emillion held their 2021 tasting tour in the USA on November 8th in New York City and in San Francisco on the 10th.

In New York the event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion event space at 123 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Bordeaux is one of the most famous wine regions in the world with many well known classified growth wines. The Appellations and vineyards are on the right and left bank of the Gironde estuary. The wines are blends of legally permitted varietals but mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot.

On the Right Bank the most famous communes are Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. While they are permitted to use the classic Bordeaux varietals, a distinguishable characteristic of the wines of the Right Bank is that Merlot is the predominate grape in the blend.

At the tasting the Chateau were showcasing their 2018’s along with another older vintage. I was getting a lot of nice aromatics but not surprisingly the wines were hard as nails at this point. Like most Bordeaux they will need a few more years in the bottle to become approciable.

Some of the wines I sampled:

Chateau Chauvin

2015: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with an amber rim, black fruit and crushed rock on the nose, silky fruit with green olive notes on the dusty finish.

2018: 88% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed black fruit and spices on the nose, juicy black fruit with firm tannins.

Clos des Jacobins

2016: 80% Merlot. Clear medium brick, perfume of black olives and oak, tight dusty tannins on the red fruit.

2018: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, graphite and crushed red fruit on the nose, peppery black fruit with firm tannins.

Couvent des Jacobins

2015: 85% Merlot. Dark red to black with a purple rim, sweet perfume of tar and tobacco, silky black fruit with bitter almonds on the firm finish.

Chateau Dassault

2016: 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, tar and black plum on the nose, chewy black fruit with olive notes on the firm but balanced finish.

2018:75% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume with burnt notes with ripe vegetable on the finish.

Chateau de Ferrand

2016: 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, crushed rocks and graphite on the nose, chewy black fruit followed by big tannins.

2018 73% Merlot. Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, green olives on the fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Faugeres

2011 85% Merlot. Opaque dark red, black olives, mint and tar on the nose, minty red fruit, getting some heat at the end.

Chateau Fleur Cardinale

2016 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, ripe fruit notes on the nose, silky red fruit, moderate long balanced finish.

2018 74% Merlot. Clear dark red, perfume of crushed red fruit, juicy with bitter almonds and firm tannins on the finish.

Chateau Fonplégade

2015 95% Merlot. Clear dark brick with an amber rim, black olives and tar on the nose, tight, dark fruit with a mouthful of tannin.

2018 90% Merlot. Opaque dark purple, sweet perfume of violets, tight red licorice fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Franc Mayne

2011 90% Merlot. Opaque dark brick with an amber rim, perfume of black olives and violets, dusty firm tannins with gun metal notes on the fruit.

2018 90% Merlot. Dark red to black, crushed dark fruit and black licorice on the nose, juicy and tannic.

Chateau La Marzelle

2012 75% Merlot. Black in color with a purple rim, toasty notes on the nose, chewy, juicy dark fruit with firm tannins on the long finish.

2018 75% Merlot. Dark red with a purple rim, cooked fruit and crushed rocks on the nose with red fruit on the crisp finish.

Chateau Villemaurine

2016 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, perfume of tobacco and crushed dark plums, green herbs on the red fruit with firm tannins.

2018 80% Merlot. Opaque dark red, red flowers on the nose, concentrated red fruit with firm tannins.

Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2021

After cancelling last year, the best consumer wine tasting event of the year was back. The 40th anniversary Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience was held on October 21-23. The event featured wine seminars given by some of the leading wine makers/owners in the world and a Grand Tasting held on Thursday and Friday evenings that had over 200 participating international wineries pouring wines rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator magazine.

The first Wine Experience was held in 1981 in San Francisco. For many years the event alternated between San Francisco and New York City until they made the decision a few years ago to have New York City and the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square as the permanent host city and venue for the event.

The Wine Experience is sponsored by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

This year for the first time I was fortunate enough to attend both nights of the tasting. With such a staggering amount of good juice I had to focus my efforts on the red wines of Bordeaux and Napa Valley with few outliers thrown in.

That only put small dent in the amount of wines that were offered, I could have easily spent a couple more evenings sampling the rest of the wines. There were plenty of Italy’s finest, Brunello’s, Super Tuscans, Barolos and Barbaresco’s to sample and a copious amount of wines from the other wine producing countries.

In years past they would end the event with an award banquet that included live music from the likes of Chicago, The Beach Boys, Huey Lewis and the News, John Legend and Neal Sedaka to name a few but they forgo the banquet this year.

Some of my highlights:

Napa Valley

1995 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “S.L.V.” (Napa Valley): Medium brick, warm baking spices, tar and leather on the nose, tight with dried leaf notes on the finish.

2006 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Selection” (Napa Valley): Black in color, crushed black fruit, mint and strawberry on the nose, thick dark chocolate and coffee notes on the fruit, bitter dark chocolate on the long finish. Nice.

2007 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon “Howell Mt” (Napa Valley): Black with a purple rim, ripe red fruit on the nose, silky, chewy with a nice grip at the end.

2013 Opus One Red Blend (Napa Valley): Thick black in color, crushed black fruit, cedar and pickle juice on the nose, silky dark chocolate fruit with a chewy finish, nice balance.

2014 Promontory Red Blend (Napa Valley): Opaque dark purple, raspberry and cooked vegetable on the nose, sweet fruit finishing with bitter cherry notes.

2015 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon “Trailside Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Clear medium red, sweet tar on the nose, juicy black fruit ending with moderate tannins and acids.

2016 Kerr Cellars Red Blend “Reserve” (Napa Valley): Thick black in color, crushed rocks and black fruit on the nose, thick and chewy dark chocolate and mint on the fruit, good grip on the medium to long finish.

2016 Bond St Eden Red Wine (Napa Valley): Cloudy dark red with an amber rim, warm spices on the nose, silky bitter almonds on the fruit with a long finish.

2016 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall” (Napa Valley): Black in color, sweet dried leaf on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit with a nice grip on the chocolatey finish.

2016 Pahlmeyer Red Blend (Napa Valley): Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with tight tannins on the finish

2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “The Reserve” (Napa Valley): Dark red, crushed raspberry and oak on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice grip on the finish.

2017 Staglin Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Black in color, smoky bacon fat and red licorice on the nose, tight concentrated fruit with some earth notes with lip smacking, firm balanced finish.

2017 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Dark red to black, closed nose of cherry and dirt, firm tannins.

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Clear dark red, red licorice and toasted earth on the nose, tight and concentrated with green herbs on the finish.

2018 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Dark red to black in color, toasted green herbs on the nose, tight red berry fruit with youthful firm acids.

2018 Ovid Red Blend (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, slate and crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with a nice grip at the end.

2018 Continuum Estate Sage Mt Vineyard (Napa Valley): Cloudy dark red with a purple rim, dried herbs and crushed red fruit on the nose, tight, dusty silky fruit with a firm, long finish.

2018 Diamond Creek “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley): Dark red with a purple rim, tea, sweet red candy, crushed red berry on the nose, chewy red fruit, nice tannin grip on the long finish.

2018 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, smoky cooked asparagus on the nose, tight red fruit with fresh herbs on the finish.

2018 Mt Brave Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Black with purple rim, toasted oak on the nose, tight black fruit with crisp acids at the end.

Other California

2001 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello ( Santa Cruz Mts): Cloudy brick with an amber rim, sweet tar on the nose, silky fruit, grippy tannings and great balance on the long finish. Tasty.

2018 Peter Michael Winery “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley): Clear medium red, toasted red fruit on the nose, tight, sweet black fruit with a firm, balanced finish.

Bordeaux

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Brick in color with a pretty perfume of tar and leather, silky, chewy dark fruit with tree bark on the nicely balanced, long finish.

2010 Chateau La Fleur-Petrus (Pomerol): Clear dark red with an amber rim, tobacco and tar on the nose with tight black fruit.

2010 Chateau Pichon Longueville Lalande (Pauillac): Opaque dark red with sweet red fruit on the nose, tight with dusty tannins.

2011 Chateau Cheval Blanc (St Emilion): Opaque medium red, sweet smoke on the nose, firm red fruit that tightens up with a smoky notes on the balanced finish.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Opaque dark brick in color, cedar and sweet tar on the nose, tight with firm tannins.

2014 Chateau Leoville Barton (St Julien): Medium purple with a perfume of black licorice and tree bark, tight with firm acids on the finish

2015 Chateau Leoville Las Cases (St Julien): Dark black with mint and red cherry on the nose with crisp red fruit on the finish.

2015 Chateau Montrose (St Estephe): Medium purple with an amber rim, toasted, sweet wood notes on the nose, tight red berry fruit with a moderate to light finish.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St Emilion): Clear medium purple, stewed vegetable on the nose, nice silky black fruit with bitter almonds on the finish. Nice balance.

2016 Chateau Canon-La Gaffeliere (St Emilion): Dark red to black, bacon fat on the nose, tight silky fruit with green herbs on the finish.

2016 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac): Dark red to black, stinky, tar, floral nose, tight, silky dark fruit, firm finish.

2016 Chateau Lynch Bages (Pauillac): Brick with an amber rim, pretty perfume of cedar, tar and cigar box, tight bell pepper fruit with a long peppery finish.

2016 Chateau Pichon Baron (Pauillac): Opaque dark red, roasted meat and sweet violets on the nose, silky black fruit with a velvety finish and great balance.

Others

2001 Gaja Barberesco (Piedmont): Medium brick, sweet tar and leather on the nose, silky, tarry, smoky green herbs on the fruit with a mouthful, long finish. Tasty.

2010 Marquis de Murrieta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva (Rioja): Medium brick closed nose of baking spices, silky cooked fruit with a firm finish.

2011 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Unico (Ribera del Duero): Clear medium red color, green blueberries and crushed red fruit on the nose, tight with bitter cherry on the finish.

2015 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Light brick with a closed nose of crushed blueberries and black licorice, tight with green herbs on the fruit and crisp acids at the end.

2015 Penfolds Shiraz Grange (South Australia): Dark red with a brick rim, warm cherry tar on the nose, tight black fruit, crisp acids.

NYCWFF Grand Tasting 2021

The 14th annual Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival, “the ultimate New York City food and drink extravaganza” was held on October 14-17 after cancelling last year.

It was four days of walk-around tastings, intimate dinners, late-night parties, pier parties, master classes and a Grand Tasting.

The events were held at various venues in the city with the intention of raising money for charitable organizations such as God’s Love We Deliver and the Food Bank for NYC.

One of the events I attended was the Grand Tasting, a city block long mini village of wine. spirits and food booths. The Grand Tasting was a three day event with Saturday and Sunday afternoons open to the public and Friday afternoon as “Trade Day” which was exclusively open to members of the Hospitality Industry.

The event was held at a new venue this year at Hudson River Park Pier 76 on the Hudson River across the road from the Javits Convention Center on the West side of Manhattan,

It was an outdoor venue (it was a beautiful Autumn afternoon) that really resembled a small village with many spirit, wine and food booths scattered around the park.

One part of that village held the GEMS collection hosted by Wine Spectator magazine (the wine industry Bible) which showcased higher-end premium wines to sample.

Some of the GEM collection wines I sampled:

2015 Siduri “Rosella’s Vineyard” Pinot Noir2018 La Crema “Fog Veil” Pinot Noir
2011 Belle Glos “Taylor Lane” Pinot Noir2017 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Charles Krug “Generations” Cabernet Sauvignon2019 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2019 Orin Swift “The Prisoner” Cabernet Sauvignon2017 Landmark Vineyards Hop Kiln Estate Pinot Noir
2018 Justin Vineyars “Isoseles”2017 Gaya “Sito Moresco”
2013 Castello Giocondo Brunelle di Montalcino2017 Sergio Alighieri Amarone
2006 Chateau de Beaucastel ChateauNeuf du Pape2017 Ruffino “Modus”
2019 Phillipe Colin Chassagne-Montrachet2018 Mason Les Alexandrins Crozes-Hermitage
2012 Marquis de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva2011 Berona Rioja Gran Reserva

Milano Wine Week Chianti Tasting

Milano Wine Week was held on October 2-10. It was a series of wine related events based in Milan, Italy. One of the many events that week was the International Master Class Programs which was a series of classes held in various cities around the world that was coordinated with a live video feed from Milan.

In New York City those classes were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant located at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

On October 4th I attended a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Vino Chianti, “Chianti D.O.C.G.: Quintessence of Tuscany”. It was a blind tasting of seven 2019 Chianti from each of the seven sub districts in Chianti, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli. Chianti Classico, another sub district was granted its own DOCG.

All of the wines were from the 2019 vintage and were tasted blind and at this point still young.

Artimino Chianti Montalbano

Opaque dark purple with red candy, roast meat and wood notes on the nose, tight, red citrus and red candy fruit notes ending with crisp and crunchy acids.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti Fiorentini

Opaque dark purple, tree bark, black licorice and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight, black licorice and cherry on the tight fruit with bitter almonds on the finish.

Badia Di Morrona Chianti Pisane

Opaque dark purple with a sweet perfume of toasted oak on the nose, red licorice on the fruit with firm acids.

Poggio Al Vento Chianti Senesi

Opaque dark purple, red cherry and tree bark on the nose, firm dusty leather fruit, balanced with a tarry finish.

Podere Dell’Anselmo Chianti Montespertoli

Dark purple to black in color with sweet tar, earth and toast notes on the nose, silky fruit with graphite notes, good balance with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

Il Palazzo Chianti Arentini

Opaque dark purple, sweet roast meat on the nose, dusty fruit with green herbs on the finish with a firm grip on the end.

Fattoria Lavaccio Chianti Rufina

Opaque dark purple, closed nose of violets and red leather, black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm, dusty grip at the end with bitter almond notes.

CiderFeast 2021

NYC Cider Week was held on October 2-17. It was a couple of weeks of cider events throughout New York State. To kick things off on October 1, Jimmy Carbone’s Food Karma project held it’s annual (but cancelled last year) CiderFeast event. Food Karma Project is responsible for many foodie events such as Pig Island, Bowl of ‘Zole, Brisket King and 5 Boro PicNYC.

The event was held at Biba of Williamsburg located at 110 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the event featured several Ciders plus lite eats

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York State is the 2nd largest producers of apples in the country with 29.5 million bushels produced. It’s not surprising that the State is home to many artisanal cider producers.

The event showcased many NYS producers but there were other regions and countries pouring as well. The amount of vendors at the event was noticeably fewer than at the last event a couple of years ago. That can be blamed on supply issues and skittishness about the virus. Still, they had a great crowd that were enjoying a sunny afternoon of cider and good company.

Something unusual that I tried at the event that I haven’t tried before was fortified cider. Ironbound Cider produced a trio of fortified ciders, Cherry Burdock, Golden Russet Orange and Lemon Beebrush that were very port-like and interesting.

Some of the cider producers that I sampled from, most poured several different versions of their cider:

Ironbound CiderHudson Valley Farmhouse
Orchard HillOmmegang
Barika Basque CiderAustin Eastciders
Original SinFerme de Romilly
Aval CiderIndian Ladder Farmhouse Cider

Westchester Wine & Food Fest 2021

Westchester Magazine’s 10th annual Wine & Food Festival was held on September 21-25. It was five days of a couple of wine dinners, a Burger & Beer Bash, Party on the Pier and lastly, their signature event, the Grand Tasting Village on Saturday, September 25th.

Last years event, which normally took place in June was, not surprisingly, cancelled so I was happy to see that they decided to bring the event back this year.

I was worried that they might have scaled back the scope of the event but when but when I arrived, I was happily surprised to see that they did not. In fact it seemed like they had double the amount of spirits represented this year than at the last event. As usual they had a roped off Connoisseurs tent that featured high end wines not available in General Admission area. I remember being disappointed in the wine selection in that Connoisseurs tent at the last event but they made up for it this year, there was some very nice juice to sample this time.

As in the past, the event was held outdoors under the tents at Kensico Damn Plaza which is a few minutes walk from the Valhalla Metro North train station. That’s a leisurely 50-60 minute train ride from Grand Central Terminal and it was a beautiful late Summer afternoon for a ride to the country.

I think that this is one of the better consumer wine events to attend. It’s at a great venue with tasty food to sample and copious international wines to drink for the General Admission ticket holders.

Wines I sampled in the Connoisseurs tent:

NV Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne2017 Vincent Giradin Chassagne-Montrachet
2018 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay2015 Robert Mondavi Reserve Fume Blanc
2017 Tablas Creek Esprit Blanc2018 Penner-Ash Estate Pinot Noir
2015 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyard2016 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard
2018 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon “Jayson”2018 Mt. Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2015 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir “Machado”2017 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon
2018 Lucienne Pinot Noir2018 Orin Swift Papillon Red Blend
2017 Booker Oublie Grenache Blend2018 Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif
2018 Chateau La Gaffeliere2019 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello Banfi Summus Toscana2016 Castello Banfi Excelsus Toscana
2016 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino2016 Mastroberadino Taurasi Radici
2016 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino2018 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

Eataly End of Summer Festa

Eataly is a chain of large space supermarkets that got its start in a former vermouth factory in Turin, Italy (which I’ve been to). They’ve expanded worldwide opening stores in North America in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto.

The first New York City store was opened in 2010 in the Toy Building on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan and became an immediate success. A second store, Eataly Downtown was opened at 101 Liberty Street across from the Freedom Tower.

Periodically, at the Downtown location they host a food and wine festival and, after a year long hiatus, hosted the End of Summer Wine & Food Festa on September 17th. The Festa featured over 40 Italian wines that were paired with appetizer portions of food.

The Festa was held in the store with various stations of food and wine scattered around the store. This made for an experience that had you walking around the store to sample the various wines and food. This was much more fun experience than having everyone crammed into one room.

Some wines I sampled:

2020 Firriato Etna Bianco2018 Domenico Clericco Langhe Nebbiolo Capisme
2013 Cesani Merlot “Cellori”2020 Marziano Abbona Roero Arneis “Tistin”
2020 Tornatore Etna Bianco 2019 Allegrini Valpolicella
2017 Allegrini La Grola2018 Poggop al Tesoro Toscana Mediterra
2019 Tredeberri Barbera d’Alba2014 Il Pavone Barolo
2016 Il Pavone Langhe Nebbiolo2016 Il Pavone Barbera d’Alba Superiore
2016 Pasque Amarone della Valpoicella2015 Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello d’Ama San LorenzoNV Il Mosnel Franciacorta
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Eats:

Nodini Di Mozzarella E PestoParmigiano Reggiano E Prosciutto
Focaccia ClassicaFocaccia Rossa
AranciniBresaola E Rucola
Arista Di MaialeAgnolotti Con Tartufo
Castagnole Con GelatoTiramisu Della Nonna

The Whisky X

The Whisky X is a Whisky “experience” promoting “whisky, music, food and style”. It’s a traveling whiskey and concert event stopping in Chicago, Austin, Denver and Las Vegas.

On September 10th the tour stopped in Brooklyn. It was held at Industry City which is a huge arts and entertainment center near the waterfront in Sunset Park featuring “eats, drinks and play”.

There were 60+ whiskies and cocktails to sample at the outdoor courtyard and indoors with a good selection of American whiskies, Irish whiskies, Scotch whiskies and for some reason, a table of rum. If you were in the mood for haircut with your whisky, there were a couple of barbers on hand to give you one.

Unlike most of these events there was a live band performing later in the evening. That band that evening was “Guster” and while I didn’t stick around for the concert, they did have an impressive collection of musical instruments on stage.

Some whiskies (and an outlier rum) that I sampled:

Calumet: small batch blend, straight bourbon, 15yr bourbonHudson Whiskey NY: Do the rye thing, bright lights big bourbon
Blackened: Kentucky straight rye, whisky blendWoodinville: 100% Rye, straight bourbon
Roe & Co: Irish whiskeyThe Irishman: Single malt
Busker: Single grain Irish whiskeyTeeling: Single batch Irish whiskey
McConnel“s: Irish WhiskeyJim Beam: Kentucky straight bourbon
Basi Hayden’s: Kentucky straight bourbonKnob Creek: Kentucky straight bourbon
Whistle Pig: Piggy back 6yrClyde May’s: Straight rye, straight bourbon
Gosling’s: Old rum, papa sealLegent: Bourbon