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.