Tasting At Le Du

During the year-end Holiday Season, the wine tasting events slack off a bit. Wine shops have a tasting now and then and  I attended one last weekend in Long Island. Last Saturday afternoon I stopped by another wine shop tasting at Le Du wine shop located on 600 Washington Street. I’ve been to a few tastings at this shop and they pour some good juice when they have a big tasting, though it seems they are cutting back at the quantity of wine they are pouring at these events. This time around the theme of the tasting was American wines for the Thanksgiving Day table.


I began with the whites:

2009 Au Bon Climat “Hildegard” White (Santa Maria Valley). A blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc  and a bit of Aligote. It was yellow with green tints with a nose of pineapple and dusty forest floor full fruit up front then tighten up at the end with notes of dried white flowers and citrus.

2009 Le Du’s “Bien Nacido” Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley). Yellow with green tints and had a beautiful nose of ripe peaches and cinnamon and was tight and dusty with spices on the finish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2010 Saintsbury  Chardonnay (Carneros). Light yellow with a nose of earthy peaches and was tight and crisp with some lemony notes on the finish.

2010 Demuth-Kemos “Demuth Vineyard” Chardonnay (Anderson Valley).  Light yellow with green tints with a nose of ripe vegetables, tight fruit, firm with a balanced finish.


2008 Le Du’s Pinot Noir “Hirsch Vineyard” (Santa Maria Valley). Medium red with notes of spicy cola on the nose with velvet fruit with earth notes and moderate crisp acids at the end.

2011 Le Du’s Pinot Noir Santa Maria. Medium red with a nose of stinky cherries and rosemary with moderate bright cherry cola fruit on the finish.

2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red with a nose of crushed red berries, a little chewy and rustic with the finish dropping at the end.

2011 King’s Ridge Pinot Noir (Oregon). Medium red with a light nose of cola, very light fruit with some smokiness on the finish.

2010 Millbrandt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington). Dark red with notes of toasted nuts and bacon on the nose and was chunky with some sweet toasty fruit on the finish.


2011 Demuth-Kemos Syrah “Bei Ranch”. (Sonoma Coast). Dark red with notes of roasted coffee and bubble-gum on the nose with dusty fruit and rosemary on the balanced finish.

2011 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel “Three Valleys” . (Sonoma County). Mostly Zinfandel with five other red grape varietals blended in, and was dark red with a nose of crushed black fruit and was tight and velvety with a dusty finish.


Wine Store Tasting Long Island

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Sometimes I’m not able to attend one of the many trade tastings in town so I go to where the tastings happen and sometimes they happen at a wine shop. Most wine shops will have some sort of tasting, usually on a Saturday but with  three or so wines to sample. At times they will have their “Grand Tastings” in  the shop where the various distributors of wines and spirits will pour some of the wines in their portfolio. On Saturday I attended one of those tastings at the Post Wine &  Spirits located in Syosset. After taking the wrong bus and a brisk two-mile walk, I made it to the event and threw myself into the tasting. Some cheese and crackers were served and there was a glass or two of decent juice to be had. The wines were grouped at tables by the importers who distribute the wines.

Some of what I liked:


2012 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley). Very grassy nose with moderate fruit, balanced acidity.

2011 Starmont Chardonnay (Napa Valley). Light gold with tropical fruits on the nose with toasty fruit and good balance.

2011 Le Renard Bourgogne Blanc (Burgundy). Yellow with a greenish tint with a nose of white flowers and slight tropical fruit, medium bodied with some sweetness at the finish.

2011 Naveran Brut (Spain). A nice Cava, greenish tint, dry and crisp with notes of green apple on the finish.


2011 David Bruce Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with cola, cinnamon and spices on the nose with moderate, dusty fruit, a bit tart but good mouth-feel.

2008 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a big nose of crushed red fruit and mint and was tight and smokey with firm acids and a moderate to long finish.

2010 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red with a beautiful nose of bell pepper, slate and mint with concentrated mineral fruit with great balance on the long finish. Very nice.

2009 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon. (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with smoky dark fruits and chocolate on the nose and was chunky and dusty with gritty mouth-feel and balance. Very good.

2011 Flora Springs Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red with notes of smoke and red plums on the nose and fruit with moderate to long finish and good balance.

2009 Confidences de Prieure Lichine (Bordeaux). Black in color with stewed fruit on the nose and was chewy and minty with good balance and a long finish.

2010 St. Cosme Chateauneauf du Pape (Rhone). Dark red to black with notes of tobacco, bacon and crushed black fruit with firm and balanced finish.

2011 Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile). Dark red with a nose of bay leaf and bell pepper with good fruit and some mint notes on the long finish. Some heat but good budget Cab.

2011 Decero Malbec (Argentina). Black in color with a nose of ripe black fruit and was juicy and concentrated with dusty slate on the balanced finish though some heat.

2010 Argiolas Costera (Sardinia) Dark red with red cherry and smoke on the nose with firm, dusty fruit.

2009 Silvio Grasso Barolo (Piedmont). Dark amber with a brown robe and a nose of cigar-box and camphor with big dusty fruit of crushed berries with silky tannin on the finish.

2009 Felisina Chianti Classico Riserva “Rancia” (Piedmont). 100% Sangiovese, dark amber with a nose of stewed fruit and mint with tight, dusty and velvety fruit with firm acids at the finish.

NYC Autumn Wine Fest

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This past Saturday I attended the NYC Autumn Wine Festival. It was a huge consumer event which was held at the Conrad Hotel located at 102 North End Avenue at Battery Park. The Conrad is a new hotel and one that I haven’t been to before and was a gorgeous space to have a large consumer event such as this one and certainly a much nicer venue than the Best Buy Theater in Times Square where the Winter Wine Fest was held last February. In fact not only was the venue and the food superior this time around but the wines served were definitely a step up in quality, some nice juice was to be had and they were served in a proper Reidel glass as well! There were two sessions, one in the afternoon and another later that evening. I attended the afternoon session which I think make for a more civilized drinking experience since I didn’t have to elbow my way through a mob of people every time I wanted a glass of wine.

There was certainly enough wine to go around, 47 tables pouring over 200 wines. With some live music in the background there was a lot of tasting to be had. Some of the wines I enjoyed:

  2007 Hine Bonfils “Domaine Du Gour De Chaule Cuvee Tradition” Gigondas (Rhone). Medium red with a nose of crushed red berries with dusty, minty fruit.

 2010 Chateau La Croix Romane Lalande de Pomeral (Bordeaux). Dark red to black with a nose of toasted cherry and black licorice with silky dusty fruit and good balance

 2009 La Grand Enclos du Chateau De Cerons Graves (Bordeaux). Dark red to black with notes of toasted black fruit, mint and was concentrated and chewy with a firm, balanced finish.

 2010 Domaine Jean-Michel Guillon Et Fils “Clos Des Portes” Marsannay (Burgundy). Dark red with notes of red cherry and earth on the nose with black licorice on the finish.

 2009 Domaine Du Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf Du Pape “La Crau” (Rhone). Medium red with notes of cooked fruit and black licorice and was chewy and smoky on the balanced finish.

 2010 Chateau Maucoil Chateauneuf Du Pape (Rhone). Inky black with a nose of toasty barnyard and was rustic and chewy with silky tannins.

 2002 Chateau Musar (Bekaa Valley, Lebanon). Very unique wine, they always release older vintages, this one was medium red with a big nose of mint and plums and moderate fruit.

 2011 Cos Pithos Rosso (Sicily). Medium red with a very stinky nose with dusty, bright fruit with that stinkines coming through on the finish.

 2009 Fontodi Chianti Classico (Tuscany). Medium red in color with notes of red roses and mint on the nose with full, chewy and velvety fruit.

 2011 Valdicava Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany). Bright red in color with a nose of pencil shavings and mint with silky fruit on the great balance.

 2007 Josetta Saffirio Barolo (Piedmont). Dark amber with a nose of toasty oak, red cigar-box with red licorice notes on the silky, balanced finish. Some heat at the end.

2011 Mount Eden Chardonnay “Wolff Vineyard” (Santa Cruz). Dark yellow with a nose of toasted oak and tropical fruit.

2011 Talbott Chardonnay “Sleepy Hollow” (Monterey). Light yellow with a floral nose of canned peaches with good fruit and acidity

 2009 Mount Eden Cabernet Sauvignon Estate (Santa Cruz). Dark red with a nose of bell pepper and dried leaf with good fruit and crisp acids on the finish.

 2009 Wolf Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Phaedrus” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with hints of dried mushroom and barnyard on the nose with mouth coating tannin on the finish.

2009 Demuth-Kemos Cabernet Sauvignon “Bei Ranch” (Sonoma). Dark red with a nose of cigar-box and red flowers with dusty fruit and a firm balance.

 2010 Midsummer Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack Peak Vineyards”. (Napa Valley). Dark red in color with toasty notes on the nose and was tight and silky with great balance.

2010 Wind Gap Syrah (Sonoma). Dark red with notes of black olive on the nose and was tight and tart.

 2011 Ponzi Pinot Noir (Oregon). Medium light red with cola and wild flower notes on the nose with silky fruit

 2011 Bergstrom Pinot Noir “Cumberland Reserve” (Oregon). Medium red with notes of cola and dusty earth on the nose, starts out light on the palate but turns chewy and nicely balanced.