Tree Trimming Party At Refinery

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Wine tasting events at this time of year usually get put on the back burner while the holiday parties are in full swing. Last Saturday afternoon I attended another one of those holiday parties, a holiday social at the Refinery Hotel located on 63 West 38th Street in Manhattan. The event took place at the rooftop bar which is an event space I’ve never been to before. Brick walls and an outdoor seating area with a great view of the Empire State Building. This afternoon the customers got to trim a real live Christmas tree out on the deck. It was a casual afternoon of ornament hanging, appetizers and the drinking of seasonal beers, eggnog made with Window Jane Distillery Bourbon and mulled cider with rum, bourbon or apple brandy (my favorite). Of course there was  a fireplace and mistletoe.




Saveur Holiday Social

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This past Saturday afternoon I attended Saveur magazines holiday social, “a one day fête to get you into the holiday spirit”. The event took place at the Astor Center at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The event featured one room full of foodie gifts that were available for purchase while the other room was dedicated to food tastings of which my favorites were handmade garanelli pasta with urbani mushrooms in a truffle sauce and tacos de carne asada with pomegranate guacamole. There was also a bar serving holiday inspired craft cocktails, beer and wine. The cooking and cocktail seminars of which I attended took place in the back kitchen and lecture hall.

The event was open to the public and was soon crowded with party goers for most of the afternoon. My drinks of the day were the 2011 Grgich Hills Chardonnay and The Pallini Thyme Out which was a refreshing cocktail made with lemoncello and fresh thyme.

Workshops & Seminars

The Art of Transforming Ingredients with Bethony: Beet Milk Punch

I’ve never had a Milk Punch before, milk-based cocktails with spirits and sweeteners as a way to preserve milk. The cream is curdled and strained resulting in a clear liquid. At this workshop, the Somm from Bethony restaurant made a milk punch from goats milk, beets and gin. The milk was curdled and infused with the beets and strained through a fine sieve several times. It turned out clear and bright red and didn’t taste half bad!

A Classic Reinvented: Beef Wellington by Chef Florian Wehrli of Triomphe.

The reinvention part is from the use of Bison instead of Beef tenderloin in the recipe. The Bison is leaner than the Beef and the dish was very tasty.

His and Hers Wine Tasting from the Nomad and the Breslin

A flight of six wines from the husband and wife Sommelier duo of Thomas Pastuszak and Jessica Brown.

2008 Domain e Rolet Crement du Jura (Jura) Light yellow with a greenish tint with crisp, green apple fruit.

Savart L’overture NV (Champagne) Light gold in color with bread dough on the nose and yeasty, tart finish.

2013 Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) Light yellow with an oily and toasty nose and petroleum and shale on the fruit and a toasty, crisp and tart finish.

2013 Venica & Vencia Collio Sauvignon (Friuli) Light gold with a sweet nose of honeydew, dried flowers and earth on the fruit and nicely balanced.

2012 Tyler Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) Medium red with red dried herbs and red candy on the nose, cola and green stems on the light fruit.

2013 Tami Frappato  (Sicily) Light to medium red in color, bright nose of cherry and forest, dry and tight with mouth-watering acids at the end.



Fest Of The Best

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This past rainy Saturday afternoon, I attended Thrillist’s  Fest of the Best event, “celebrating NYC’s finest dining establishments from 2014”. The event was held at Villian, a warehouse space at 50 N 3rd Street in Williamsburg near the river’s edge.

It was a consumer event. There was no wine poured, only beer and cocktails made with Grey Goose vodka who was one of the sponsors. The event space was smaller than I anticipated and it soon became crowded with the young  hipsters who live in the area. Things didn’t start off on the right foot when a half hour into the event, the venue ran out of the sponsored spirit. Fortunately a shipment of Grey Goose finally arrived to the relief of the patrons and I was able to indulge in my drink of the day, a Moscow Mule which was made with Grey Goose melon vodka and ginger beer. There were several local restaurants serving their signature dishes and we were to vote on our favorites.

My favorite dishes:

Crave Fishbar: Shetland Island Salmon Crudo

Bacchanal: Confit Lamb Shoulder with Mint-Olive Caper Relish

The Monarch Room: Seared Octopus with Fennel and Citrus

Other restaurants at the event

Seoul Chicken: Next day Fried Chicken with Habanero Honey

Horchata: Guacomole De Calabaza with House Made Tortilla Chips

Two Hands: Avo Toast with Smashed Avocado, Olive Oil and Sea Salt

French Louie’s: Snails Merchand De Vins

The Randolph: Warm Grain and Kale Salad

BLT Fishshack: Oysters on the half shell



Autumn Wine Fest 2014

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On Saturday November 22 I attended the 2nd annual NYC Autumn Wine Festival. Last year I attended the first annual Autumn wine fest and had a surprisingly good time so I was looking forward to this event. For a consumer tasting some interesting and good juice were poured at a cool venue in Battery Park. This years event took place at a different venue, the Broad Street Ballroom near the Stock Exchange downtown. It’s another one of those former banks with plenty of marble and mosaics that have been reinvented as an event venue, it’s a much smaller space than the Conrad Hotel where the event was held last year. Another more important difference was the quality of the wines served at the event. Nowhere near the quality of juice served at last years event, though a bit better than last weeks Brooklyn Crush (run by the same company). I was disappointed. There were two sessions and I attended the afternoon session and they got a good crowd.


NV Juve Y Camps Reserva de la Familia Brut

2012 Alta Alella Privat Cava.

2013 Lusenti Pinot Grigio Frizzante “Fiocco di Rose”

2012 Lepage Bourg Cote St. Jacques Gris

2013 Bricco del Sole Chardonnay

2012 Pesquie Cuvee des Terrasses Blanc



2010 Pyramid Valley “Calvert Vineyard” Pinot Noir

2012 Foxglove Zinfandel Paso Robles

2013 Mortilla Frappato “Sephora”

2010 Rouge Bleu Delletent Rhone Blend (Biodynamic)

2013 Monteforche Lo Sfuso di Collina

2012 Vallana Barbera

2011 Kermit Lynch Cypress Cuvee Cotes du Rhone

2011 El Enmigo Cabernet Franc

NV Lini Rosso Lambrusco

2012 Mohua Pinot Noir

2009 Marques de Caceres Reserva

2010 Cybele Rhone Red Blend Paso Robles.