Judgement Of Brooklyn

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Saturday evening I attended the Judgement of Brooklyn social event in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. The the theme of the event was to replicate the famous Judgement of Paris wine tasting event that took place in 1976 in Paris in which wines from the Napa Valley outscored their French counterparts in a blind tasting. That event put Napa Valley in particular and American wines in general on the international map. Saturdays event featured the winners of blind tastings that were held between American wines (and beer) and their French counterparts based on grape varietals.

The event was held at Skylight One Hanson building. The event space is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank, once the tallest building in the borough. I grew up not too far from there and when I was a kid I would tell time by the clock which towered over the neighborhood. The building itself is a spectacular event space with vaulted ceilings and beautiful mosaics. It was built “to be regarded as a cathedral dedicated to the furtherance of thrift and prosperity”. That’s how they did things back in the day.

The wines (and beer) were paired off between an American bottle and a French one which made for a fun tasting. It was a consumer event with a nice crowd, some cool jazz and plenty of juice to keep things flowing.

Some of what I sampled:

2011 Schramsburg Blanc du Noir Serge / Mathieu Cuvée Prestige NV 

I picked the French, it was crisp with some RS and more rounded than the Schramsburg which was grapey.

 2012 Domaine Felix St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc  (Burgundy) /  2012 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc  (Sonoma)

I picked American wine, the St. bris was grassy and floral on the nose with moderate, citrus fruit on the firm finish while the Matanzas Creek had a big grassy nose with canned peaches with mushrooms on the moderate fruit with good balance and a lingering finish.

2011 Domaine de La Chezate Cuvée Prestige Sancerre (Loire)  / 2012 Peirson Meyer Sauvignon Blanc “Ryan’s Vineyard”  (Napa Valley).  

I picked the American wine, the Chezate had a toasty and oily nose with full, rich and ripe fruit of flowers with lime notes on the finish while the Meyer had a nose of cotton candy and cinnamon with moderate fruit with notes of lemon custard with some toast notes on the finish.

2011 Kuentz-Bas Riesling (Alsace) / 2011 Dunham Cellars Riesling “Lewis Vineyard” (Walla-Walla).

I picked the American wine. The Kuentz had yeasty notes on the nose while the Dunham had the classic Riesling nose of petroleum with some rs balancing the wine out, very drinkable.

2012 Red Tail Ridge Winery Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Finger Lakes) /  2011 Domaine Cornin Macon-Chaintré (Burgundy).

I picked France on this one. The Red Tail had mango and oak on the nose with the vanilla and cinnamon from the oak coming through on the fruit while the Cornin had a floral nose with good grip, nicely balanced with moderate to long finish.

 2009 Chateau LaRoche Chablis 1er Cru Vaillon (Burgundy) / 2012 Keenan Chardonnay (Napa Valley).

A tie, both ripe Chardonnay, the Chablis had a pretty nose of ripe kiwi with unusually ripe fruit while the Keenan had a ton of oak notes on the nose and toasted oak on the tight finish.

2011 Simon Bize  Savigny Les Beaune “Les Bourgeots” (Burgundy) / 2010 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir “Isabelle” (California).

A tie, both nice Pinot. The Savigny had notes of earth and dark cherry on the nose with crushed fruit flavors and a nice grip while the Climat had more new world notes of cola and black cherry on the nose and was chunky but balanced with some earth notes on the fruit.

2011 Rotie Cellars”Southern Blend” (Walla-Walla) / 2011 Domaine Du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape 1er Cru Reserve (Rhone).

The Rhone was the best red of the night, a big nose of violets and damp earth with silky fruit with mint and crushed black fruit on the balanced and long finish while the Rhone blend Rotie was juicy and ripe.

2012 Pont de Gassac Pays de L’Herault (Languedoc-Roussillon) / 2010 Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla-Walla).

Both nice wines, the Gassac had a toasty and smoky berry nose with crushed rocks and slate on the firm finish while the Canoe Ridge had dusty blueberries on the nose with tight, mint and dusty fruit on the mineraly finish.




Livio Felluga Terre Alte Vertical

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI like going to night wine tastings. The vibe is more casual that the day tastings and they end up being a lot of fun. Thursday night I attended one of those tastings. The Friulian wines of Livio Felluga who is celebrating the 30th vintage of their signature wine, Terre Alte. They’re doing the celebrating with a vertical tasting of the wines. Terre Alte is a white wine from Friuli that is a blend of the varietals, Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon mature in stainless steel while the Friulano stays in small oak casks.

The event was held at Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark restaurant at 450 E 29 Street with the congenial winemaker, Andrea Felluga in attendance to talk about his wines. The wines in the vertical were all poured from magnums.


2011 Rozzato. The starter wine, a blend of five white varietles with a pretty nose, very floral with dried mushroom, balanced with good acidity.

2011 Terre Alte. First wine of the vertical, ripe white flowers, lychee and cinnamon on the nose with moderate fruit, some lime notes, crisp and balance with touch of heat at the end.

2009 Terre Alte.  Moderate yellow with burnt rubber notes on the nose with tight, light fruit, crisp, a little one-dimensional but drinkable. My least favorite in the vertical.

2007 Terre Alte. Dark gold in color with a very pretty nose of aromatic white peaches with mouth filling fruit, balanced with nice mouth-watering acidity on the moderate to long finish.

2006 Terre Alte. Medium gold with white flowers and canned peaches on the nose with OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhoneyed fruit, well-balanced with nice acidity on the long, honey finish. Lots of layers of flavors going on. My favorite of the flight.

2001 Terre Alte. Medium yellow with a complex nose of spice and earth, moderate body with some lime and earth on the crisp finish, tight on the back end. Tasty.

1998 Terre Alte. Golden in color with dusty, barnyard on the nose with moderate, complex fruit, tight, tart, mouth puckering at the finish with some of the alcohol peeking through at the end. Still an interesting wine at this stage.

Very enjoyable vertical of nice juice.


Philly Wine And Food Fest

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On Saturday I took a road trip to Philadelphia to attend Philadelphia Magazine’s annual Wine and Food fest. It was advertised as an opportunity to “sample over 600 exclusive wines from around the world” plus food from local vendors. The event took place at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum. It was a huge space, the size of an airplane hangar filled with vintage autos. A pretty spectacular venue for a tasting. My only gripe was that it was in the middle of nowhere in south Philadelphia. To get there by mass transit involved taking a trolley and walking a mile (just in time for a rainstorm) through industrial nothingness to get to the place, a situation that made me splurge on a cab for the ride back to town. In my opinion, a large-scale wine event should have access to mass transit, I can only imagine the chaos at the end of the event with scores of cars leaving the area and people attempting to grab a cab.

In any case it was a fun event with tables upon tables of wines from around the world to be sampled with a crowd that was there to have fun.

Some of what I liked:

2012 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir “Carter Vineyard” (Oregon). Closed nose of plums and violets with silky, dusty fruit and great balance.

2010 Cade Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple with dusty plum on the nose and was juicy with dark chocolate notes with firm tannin and acids.

2010 Cade Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain). Dark purple with a pretty nose of sweet violets and sweet fruit with a touch of oak and was nicely balanced.

2010 Shafer Vineyards Merlot (Napa Valley). Dark red, brambly with herbs and violet on the nose with roasted coffee on the balanced fruit with some smokiness on the long finish. Nice.

2011 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “One Point Five” (Stag’s Leap District). Dark purple with ripe black berries and red licorice on the nose with tight, concentrated fruit with red cherry tartness on the finish.

2010 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges de LaTour” (Napa Valley). Medium, clear red with a big perfume of camphor and pencil shavings with dusty, plum fruit, great grip and a long finish.

2010 Dominus Estate “Napanook” (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend and was medium to dark red with stewed red fruit on the nose and was juicy with some mint on the finish.

2010 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, with dusty mint and plums on the nose and was tight and concentrated with a very firm finish.

2011 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Selection” (Napa Valley). Black in color, closed nose of slate and crushed rocks and was chewy with black licorice notes on the fruit with dark chocolate on the finish.

2007 Rivetto Barolo “Leon Riserva” (Piedmont). Dark amber with ripe red cherries and tar on the nose with roasted meat notes on the silky fruit with mouth-smacking tannins at the finish.

2008 Rivetto Barolo “Briccolina” (Piedmont). I was told by the winemaker, Enrico Rivetto that only 1,700 bottles of this wine was produced for this vintage from a 1/2 hectare parcel of land. Dark amber with a closed nose of violets, tar and sweet fruit with silky and firm tannin and a long finish.

2008 Damilano Barolo “Cannubi” (Piedmont). Had the ’09 vintage of this wine not too long ago which I enjoyed and they continue with this vintage. Medium red with a nose of sweet pencil shavings, sweet tar on the firm fruit with a tight finish. Great balance.

2006 Damilano Barolo “Brunate” (Piedmont). Medium to dark red with sweet tar on the nose with deep black fruit, firm and balanced with nice silky tannin at the end.

2010 Seco-Bertani “Original Vintage Edition” (Veneto). Something new from these guys, made from a recipe, style and taste “from days gone by” packaged in an old style 1930’s hefty wine bottle and made from 80% Corvina with the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah. Medium red with dusty, ripe plums on the nose and was rustic, chunky and chewy with notes of damp earth coming through on the finish with great balance. Tasty.

2006 Bertani Amarone (Veneto). Medium red with floral and roasted meat on the nose and was juicy with bitter-sweet almonds on the finish.

2007 Carpineto “Farnito” (Tuscany). Made from Cabernet Sauvignon, medium to dark red with mint and black berry on the nose with chewy, tarry and earthy fruit on the long finish.

2010 Lapostolle “Borobo” (Chile). A blend of five grape varietals, medium to dark red with plums and crushed black fruit on the nose and was very fruit forward, chewy and chunky with mint notes with a nice grip and good balance.



Wine And Spirits Top Of The List

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On Thursday evening I attended the annual tasting of Wine and Spirits magazine poll of America’s most popular restaurant wines. The event was open to the consumer and benefited the NY/NJ Baykeeper, an organization that promotes conservation of the Hudson-Raritan estuary. The event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, the scene of many a wine tasting, and the Hospitality Industry folk were let in an hour before the consumers. Several local restaurants and purveyors provided food. The majority of the wines were American with some Italian, French and Greek wines thrown in the mix.


2009 Au Bon Climat Estate Chardonnay “Nuits-Blanches au Rouge” (Santa Maria Valley). Gold in color with notes of butterscotch on the nose as well as on the full fruit but finished crisp with lime notes.

2012 Jordan Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River Valley). Light gold in color with citrus and honey notes on the nose with crisp tartness on the finish.

2011 La Follette Chardonnay “Sangiacamo Vineyard” (Sonoma Coast). Gold in color with cinnamon on the nose with full tropical fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2011 Flowers Winery Estate Chardonnay “Camp Meeting Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Light gold in color with a nose of spicy earth, tight and lemon tart at the end, good balance.

2012 Storybook Mountain Viognier (Napa Valley). Light yellow with a floral nose with ripe, floral fruit and nice balance.

2013 Abbazzia di Novacella Kerner (Alto Adige). From Italy’s northernmost winery founded in 1142, the Kerner grape is a cross between the Trollinger and Reisling varietals. Light yellow with a floral nose of honeysuckle with moderate fruit with some lime notes on the finish and had good balance and very drinkable.


2012 Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County). Medium red with cooked earth on the nose and was tight and silky with a long finish of slate and earth with a good grip at the end.

2011 LaFollette Pinot Noir “Sangiacamo” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with smoke, crushed rock and rose petals on the nose and was tight and silky and lip smacking tannin with nice acidity on the moderate to long finish.

2011 LaFollette Pinot Noir “Van Der Kamp” (Sonoma Mtn.). Medium red with sage and dried herbs on the nose with smoky fruit, tight, crisp with some cola notes on the finish.

2009 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red with a nice perfume of earth and dark chocolate, tight and firm with a dusty, chocolate finish.

2005 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red with a nice perfume of dark chocolate and crushed dark berries with concentrated fruit with chocolate mint on the lingering finish.

2010 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Dark red with toasty red berries on the nose, very concentrated and firm with good balance and tart cherry on the finish.

2010 Groth Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Oakville). Dark red to black with brambly, toasty notes on the nose and was chunky and minty with silky tannin with a mouth-puckering grip at the end.

2010 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Fay Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red with dried herbs and crushed dark berries on the nose with dusty, bright fruit with herb notes on the finish.

2005 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon “Sycamore” (Rutherford). Black in color with bell pepper on the nose with sweet fruit and black licorice, chewy with bright cherry acidity on the finish.

2009 Damilano Barolo “Cannubi” (Piedmont). Medium red with a classic nose of tar and cigar box with silky fruit and silky tannin on the moderate to long finish.

2007 Chateau Vignot (St. Emillion). Decanted. Medium to dark red, slightly cloudy with a pretty nose of damp earth with ripe concentrated licorice fruit  and was firm with a long finish.

2007 Lassegue (St. Emillion). Decanted. Medium to dark red, toasty, smoky nose tight with sweet fruit and salty notes on the finish.

2005 Lassegue (St. Emillion). Decanted. Dark black with crushed black berries on the nose, concentrated, black licorice and mint with a good grip.