Best Of France 2015 Edition

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This weekend, Best of France which is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to “promote the image of France abroad, through major events which highlight the expertise and “Savoir-Faire” of France”, held their 2015 festival in New York City. It was to promote Franco-American friendship and to showcase French art, culture, fashion, technology, gastronomy and of course, wine.

The last time this event was held in New York was a couple of years ago when it was called “Taste of France” and took place under the big tents at Bryant Park. This year the Grand Wine Tastings in which over 100 French wines from the leading French wine regions were poured, were held on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon in the AXA Equitable Center at 787 7th Avenue near Times Square in Manhattan. I attended the Saturday evening session. As to be expected, excellent bread and cheeses (and cookies) were served to accompany the wines.


NV Drappier Rosé Brut “Nature Zero Dozage”. Light red, crisp and earthy.

NV J.L. Vergnon Blanc de Blancs “Conversation”. Crisp with citrus notes.

2005 Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs “Le Mont Aime”.  With doughy and yeasty notes.


2012 Domaine Guillot-Broux “Genievrieres”. Organic, gold in color with butter-scotch on the nose, tight and crisp with some funkiness at the end.

2012 Domaine Thierry & Pascal Matrot Meursault. Gold with ripe tropical fruits on the nose, chewy for a white wine with some salinity on the long finish.

2012 Joseph Drouhin Pugliny-Montrachet “Folatieres”. Light gold with ripe pineapple on the nose, full ripe tropical fruit, balanced with good acidity.

2012 Domaine Michel Juillot Mercurey “Clos des Barraults”. Light red in color, closed nose of black cherry.

2012 Domaine Petitot Cotes de Nuits Villages. Bright red with smoke and minerals on the nose, bright red cherry fruit and a hit of tannin at the end.

2012 Domaine Lecheneaut Morey St. Denis. Bright medium red in color with barnyard on the nose, tight with oyster, saline notes on the finish.

2010 Domaine Aurelien Verdet Chambolle Musigny. Brick to light red in color with warm black cherry on the nose, silky black fruit on the long and balanced finish.


2012 Malartic Lagraviere Grave Blanc. Light gold with ripe kiwi on the nose, nice fruit and crispness on the long finish, very drinkable.

2005 Chateau Sudiraut Sauternes. Beautiful wine.

2007 Branaire Ducru St. Julien. Dark red, bell pepper, dried leaf on the nose, dense and tight with a firm finish.

2008 Duluc de Branaire Ducru St. Julien. Dark red with an amber robe with cooked red berry on the nose, chunky, dried leaf on the fruit with moderate acids.

2012 La Croix de Beaucaillou St. Julien. Dark red with dusty dark berry and mint on the nose, silky with crisp acidity.

2010 Chateau d’Armaihac Pauillac. Dark red to black with a warm nose of crushed nuts, dusty fruit with some earth on the firm, long finish.

2008 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Pauillac. Black in color with a perfume of red licorice, chunky, minty fruit.

2007 Chateau Palmer Margaux. Dark red, warm black cherry on the nose, tight silky tannin on the finish.

2004 Chateau d’Issan Margaux. Dark red with some funky barnyard on the nose, dense and firm.

2011 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere St. Emilion. Dark red, smoky black cherry on the nose, silky black licorice on the great balance.

2005 Chateau Gazin Pomerol. Black in color with a piney nose with tons of chunky fruit.


2012 Domain Ogier Condrieu “La Combe de Malleval”. Yellow in color with a nose of sweet peaches, full body of canned peaches with moderate to low tannins.

2010 Chateau du Trignon Vacqueyras. Medium red, black cherry on the nose, silky black licorice fruit, firm and balanced.


2011 La Fond del’Olivier Carignan “Vieilles Vignes”. From Carignan that are over a hundred years old, black in color with slate and black fruit on the nose, dense, chunky and chewy, like a good baguette, nice glass.


Pig Island NYC 2015

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As the Summer is winding down, the trade tasting season is starting to heat up. That’s when the various wine and spirits importers, distributors and trade associations hold their portfolio or specialized wines and spirits tastings. There are plenty of consumer events as well. This Saturday I attended the 6th annual Pig Island pork Bacchanalia. Over 20 area Chefs created dishes using hogs raised by Flying Pigs Farms, a farm in Washington county upstate New York that raises heritage breeds of pigs. New York State declared Pig Island a “Taste NY” event for their commitment to support New York farms. Of course as well as the swine, the event had on hand beer, wine, cider and local and regional spirits.

The event was held next door to an IKEA mega-store at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook Brooklyn. The park is in a remote area of the borough surrounded by the rusting and decaying remnants of its waterfront past which made for a dramatic backdrop to the festival.

At the Beaujolais tent:

2014 Domaine Romy Rosé

2013 Chateau de Lacarelle Beaujolais Blanc Cuvée Grande Reserve

2011 Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages

2013 Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages

2013 Domaine des Billards Saint-Amour

2013 Chateau du Châtelard Moulin-a-Vent

Local and Rum & Whiskey:

Van Brunt Stillhouse

Widow Jane Distillery

Hudson Whiskey


DownEast Cider

Original Sin



Cal-Ital At The Golden Nugget

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This past Saturday evening I hopped on a bus to Atlantic City to attend the Cal-Ital Summer Winefest, “a celebration of California and Italian wine”. The event was held at the Golden Nugget casino which is located off the boardwalk on the Marina at Huron Avenue and Brigantine Boulevard. It celebrated Italian wines and California wines with Italian heritage with more than 120 poured while a band played light jazz in the background.  Much of the early California wine industry was started by Italian immigrants who brought their wine culture and winemaking skills to the New World.

A wine tasting in a casino is a fun venue and I had some time to kill before the event so I decided to try my hand at the tables and perhaps recoup the cost of the bus ride down. It was not to be. But I did learn my lesson from the first time I attended this event and that lesson was gamble before the wine event and not after it.


2013 Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley) Yellow with classic melon and grass notes on the nose, lemony tartness but not too much, easy drinking.

2013 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay (Sonoma County) Gold in color, honey on the nose with ripe melon on the fruit and good acidity.

2012 Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay (Carneros) Ripe mango on the nose with lime notes on the fruit.

2013 Terra d’Ora Winery Chenin Blanc/Viognier (Clarksburg) Gold in color with a honeyed nose with nice, clean acidity.

2013 Simi Winery Chardonnay Reserve (Russian River) Gold in color with toasty honey on the nose with oak flavors on the fruit.

2014 Planeta “La Segreta Blanco” (Sicily) Gold, turned earth on the nose with melon notes on the moderate to light fruit.


2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville District” (Napa Valley) Medium red to black, roasted nuts on the nose, chunky.

2011 Robert Mondavi BDX “Oakville District (Napa Valley) Medium red with ripe black cherry on the nose and dried herbs on the chewy finish with silky acidity.

2012 Ferrari-Carano “Siena” (Sonoma County) Medium red, bottle must of been off, getting sour, cooked fruit notes.

2010 Trinchero Family Estates Cabernet Sauvignon “Haystack” (Napa Valley) Dark red with crushed red berries on the nose, chunky and dusty with nice firm acidity on the finish.

2012 Parducci Petite Sirah “True Grit” (Mendocino County) Dark red to black with black herbs on the nose, tight and firm.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) Light red with ripe vegetable and earth on the nose and crisp acids.

2013 Sebastiani Vineyards “Gravel Bed Red” (Sonoma County) Medium red with juicy red berry on the nose with juicy dried herbs on the fruit.

2010 Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Gran Selezione (Tuscany) An old standby, medium red with an amber robe, smoky, turned earth on the nose, tight with dried herbs, tar and bitter cherry on the finish. Tasty.

2010 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Classico (Tuscany) Medium red, dried herbs on the moderate fruit, firm.

2011 Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany) Medium red, white flowers and dark chocolate on the nose, chunky and chewy with great balance. One of my favorites of the night.

2013 Brancaia “Tre” (Tuscany) From grapes from three of their estates, medium red, bubblegum on the nose, silky with earth notes on the finish, balanced.

2010 Brancaia “Ilatraia” (Tuscany) A Bordeaux blend, dark red with a big nose of violet and dark chocolate, silky with firm acids on the finish.

2008 Brancaia “Il Blu” (Tuscany) First bottle I tried was corked, second bottle much better, dark red, tar and violet on the nose, deep, chewy, balanced, long finish. Very nice.

2010 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Medium red, tar and cooked fruit on the nose, tight with dark chocolate on the fruit with firm acids.

2011 Castello Banfi “Belnero” (Tuscany) Dark red, warm, crushed slate on the nose, crushed rock on the moderate fruit with a firm finish.

2013 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany) Light red, cooked fruit on the nose, light and tart.

2010 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany) Brick in color with smoky violet on the nose, tight and tart.