Harvest East End

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On Saturday evening I attended the fifth annual Harvest East End food and wine event with 40 wineries and 30 East End chefs pairing local grapes with local flavors featuring locally sourced (lots of corn and tomatoes) seasonal dishes.  The event was organized by Dan’s Papers and the Long Island Wine Council to raise money for charities such as the Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation and the Peconic Land Trust. It was hosted by Sommelier Josh Wesson and honored New York Times dining columnist, Florence Fabricant. Macari Vineyards was presented with the Governor’s Cup “Winery of the Year” award.

The event took place at the McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue on the North Fork. It is not only a working winery but a farm using organic and natural practices to raise grass-fed Charolais, an historic breed of cattle from France and central Europe. In fact, there was a herd of them grazing next to the Pinot Noir vines at the event. It was a beautiful evening and a good time was had by all.

All the wines served were from Long Island

Sparking Point NV “Topaz Imperial”. My starter wine, sparkling, pink salmon in color with a persistent foam, dry and crisp with hints of strawberry and apple.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Anomoly”. Rosè from 100% Pinot Noir, pale pink with a pretty floral nose with tart, mouth-watering acids on the finish.

2013 Anthony Nappa Wines “Sciardonne”. 100% Chardonnay made with wild yeast, light gold in color with white flowers on the nose, floral earth on the fruit with crisp acidity. Reminded me of a nice Chablis.

2013 Channing Daughters Pinot Grigio “Ramato”. 100% Pinot Grigio, the most interesting wine of the night, an orange wine, orange-salmon in color with orange notes on the fruit with nice balance.

2013 Palmer Vineyards Pinot Blanc. Light yellow with damp earth on the nose with crisp, green apple fruit, ends with some butterines.

2010 Harmony Vineyards “Harmonious Red Blend” First time I’ve seen this winery, in Stony Brook much closer to the city border than the rest of the wineries out East, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose and was ripe and juicy with crushed red berries and mint on the crisp finish.

2010 Macari Vineyards Cabernet Franc. From a magnum, the award-winning wine of the year, medium red with an amber robe with slate and tobacco on the nose and was concentrated and silky with meaty and smoky notes on the long finish with nice balance.

2010 Jamesport Vineyards Cabernet Franc “MTK”. Medium to dark red with crushed blueberries on the nose, concentrated and silky with notes of dried herbs on the finish. Some heat at the end but manageable.

2009 Water’s Crest “Campania Rosso”. A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, medium red with an amber robe with dried herbs and crushed stone on the nose, tight fruit and a firm finish.

2010 Channing Daughters Blaufränkisch “Mudd West Vineyard”. Medium red with a stinky nose with ripe and stinky fruit.

2010 Osprey’s Dominion Cabernet Franc. Black in color, pencil shavings and bell pepper on the nose, concentrated and chewy with black licorice on the fruit with good balance.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards “Prime Number”.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, black in color with ripe vegetal notes on the nose with very toasty and smoky fruit.

2010 Roanoke Vineyards Gabby’s Cabernet Franc. Black with an amber robe, cooked fruit on the nose with notes of mineral and crushed rocks on the sweet fruit.




Atlantic City Italian

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On Saturday August 16th I ventured down to Atlantic City to attend the third annual     Cal-Ital Summer Winefest. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is just off the boardwalk on the Marina. The fest was billed as “a celebration of California and Italian wine” or more specifically, Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritages. It was a consumer event with over 200 wines poured. Some light food was served and a very good jazz band serenaded the crowd and instead of the usual sales persons/volunteers manning the pouring stations, the event organizer decided to use a modeling agency to staff the event which made for good optics.

The event space was huge and it never got over crowded. Some of what I like:


2011 Sbragia Family Vineyards Chardonnay “Home Ranch” (Dry Creek Valley). Dark gold with tropical fruit on the nose and earth and tropical fruit on the ripe and juicy finish.

2012 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay (Napa Valley). Medium gold in color with pineapple on the nose with some oak on the juicy fruit with some nice acidity at the end.

2013 Pedroncelli Winery Rosé of Zinfandel (Sonoma County). Cherry red in color with notes of strawberry on the nose and fruit and was off dry.

2012 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir (Napa Valley). Light red with a cherry-barnyard nose, juicy with red cherry fruit on the balanced finish.

2012 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with red licorice on the nose with some cola on the moderate fruit with good balance.

2012 Parducci Pinot Noir “Small Lot Blend” (California). Light red with spice red fruit on the nose and was juicy but nicely balanced with notes of cherry cough drops on the finish.

2011 Seghesio Vineyards Barbera (Alexander Valley). Dark purple with cigar-box on the nose with chewy and chunky red fruit and nice acidity on the finish.

2012 Ferrari-Carano Vineyards “Siena” (Sonoma County). Medium red in color with a stinky nose, nice acidity with dark cherry chocolate on the finish.

2008 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Dark red to black in color, pencil shavings on the nose with silky and smoky ripe fruit on the nice balance.

2010 Sbragia Family Vineyards Merlot “Home Ranch” (Dry Creek Valley). Medium red with earth and pencil shavings on the nose with nice acidity and chocolate notes on the long finish.

2010 Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red with toasty black cherry on the nose, tight fruit with moderate to long finish.


2012 Pieropan Soave Classico (Veneto). Light yellow with notes of tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit with nice acidity.

2012 Pieropan Soave Classico “La Rocca” (Veneto). A single vineyard Soave, light yellow in color with floral and sweet earth on the nose, firm acidity with lime notes on the finish.

2008 Pieropan Soave Classico “Calvarino” (Veneto). From a hillside vineyard in the Classico zone, gold in color with saffron and earth on the nose, tight with lip-smacking acidity on the finish.

2011 Jermann “Dreams” (Friuli). Chardonnay, dark gold with tropical fruit on the nose and was clean and crisp with buttery notes on the finish.

2009 Rocca della Macie “Ser Gioveto” (Tuscany). Mostly Sangiovese with some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon thrown in, very dark red in color with smoky, toasty and plum notes on the finish.

2011 Marchese Antinori Villa Antinori Rosso (Tuscany). Mostly Sangiovese, dark red with tobacco and cigar-box on the nose and was silky and chewy with nice balance.

2009 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium red with red licorice on the nose, delicate fruit with a floral finish.

2008 Castel Giacondo Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany).  Medium red with an amber robe, cigar-box and tobacco on the nose, firm with more of that tobacco on the finish.

Chefs And Champagne 2014

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Last Saturday evening I attended the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne fundraiser event that had Bobby Flay as the guest honoree. The event featured more than 40 chefs who were on had to serve bites of their signature dishes. There was also a silent auction. The event was held out East under the big tents at the Wöllfer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack.

Wines were supplied by Wöllfer Estate, Champagne by Tattinger, beer from Belgium including Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden and cocktails by Tito’s vodka. Since it was a long drive back home I had to moderate the wine consumption and limited myself to glasses of Champagne and rosé

Tattinger Brut “La Francaise” NV (Champagne). My Champagne of the day.

2013 Wöllfer Estate Rosé (Long Island). Their “regular” rosé, Merlot based, light salmon pink in color with strawberry notes on the nose and fruit with moderate acids and was easy drinking.

2013 Wöllfer Estate Rosé “Grandioso” (Long Island). The base varietal Merlot was fermented in six-year old French oak barrels. Pale copper in color, earthier on the nose than the regular rose with notes of wildflowers and was tight and crisp.

Other wines from Wöllfer that were poured:

2011 Chardonnay

2012 Diosa Late Harvest Chardonnay

2011 Merlot

2011 Fatalis Fatum

2006 Grapes of Roth Merlot

Couldn’t drink a lot at the event but I could certainly eat plenty,  signature dishes that I sampled and the Chefs that created them included:

Lindsay Autry: Deviled Crab with Summer Vegetable Slaw, Melba Toast and Hot Sauce.

Steven Deveraux Greene: Watermelon Gazpacho with Peekytoe Crab, Jalepeno, Coriander and Yuzu.

Chris Jaeckle: Tuna Crudo with Kizami Wasabi, Olives and Basil.

Brian Loiacono: Lettuce-Cucumber Gazpacho with Poached Langoustines, Pink Peppercorns and Cilantro.

Chad Brauze: Apricot-Fossil Farms Quail Ballontine with Paprikash Vinaigrette.

Todd Mitgang: Seared Black Bass with Sun Gold Tomatoes, Wild Arugula, Salsa Verde and Crispy Artichoke Leaves.

David Santos: Charred Portuguese Octopus with Cured Tomatoes, Olive Petals and Almond Foam.

Alex Guarnaschelli: Homemade Riccota Crostini with Heirloom Tomatoes, Flying Pigs Farm Bacon and Ancho Chile Salt.

Jason Hall: Crispy Suckling Pig Pressé with Farofa and Stone Fruit Mostarda.

James Carpenter: House-Cured Gravlax with Black River Caviar and Aquaponic Greens.

Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth: Blue Crab Waldorf Salad, Sliced Green Apple Wrapped Pecans, Grapes, Celery, Lemon and Blue Crab with Buttermilk Yogurt.

Hugh Magnum: Smoked Bone-In Beef Ribs with Chimichurri and Picked Ramp Raita.

John Greeley: Cherry Smoked Fossil Farms Duck with Rocket, Sweet Corn, Pine Island Onion-Ash, Salt and Barrel-Aged Pepper Sauce.

Coby Farrow: Scallop Crudo with Preserved Lemon Custard.

Shane McBride: Smoked Leg of Fossil Farms Lamb Hogie with Pickled Sweet Corn.

Rufino Rengifo: Za’atar Grilled Lamb Chops with Tabbouleh and Greek Yogurt.