Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2016


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The 36th annual Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience was held on October 20-22. It was “a joyous three-day festival of great wines”, an opportunity to taste the world’s finest wines. Thursday and Friday consisted of wine seminars during the afternoon capped off with the critics’ choice Grand Tasting in the evening where over 250 wines rated 90 points or higher on their rating scale were served. The Wine Spectator magazine, which is celebrating its 40th year this year and its 100 point rating scale is one of the most influential  wine magazines in the wine world. Many consider it the “Bible” of the industry.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel at 1535 Broadway in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan. I attended Friday evening and it was an outstanding tasting, an embarrassment of riches with a huge selection of some of the worlds best wines to sample.  I decided to focus on California Cabernet and Bordeaux with an Italian here and there. One day was certainly not enough to sample everything I would have wanted, so much juice so little time.

Some of what I sampled:


2007 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Martha’s Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark red, perfume of red leather and tar, chewy black licorice and red cherry fruit on the balanced finish.

2007 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Hillside Select” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, toasty black fruit on the nose, tarry finish.

2012 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy with tobacco notes on the balanced finish.

2012 Harlan Estates Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, silky fruit, silky tannin.

2013 Ovid Hexameter (Napa Valley). Black with a purple robe, stewed fruit on the nose, juicy and jammy.

1999 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mtns). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, sweet red candy and graphite on the nose, dusty, smoky fruit that tightens up at the finish.

2010 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Gravelly Meadow” (Napa Valley). Dark red, red candy nose with red cherry fruit.

2013 Peter Michael Cabernet Sauvignon “Au Paradis” (Oakville). Dark red with a purple rim, cola and red cherry on the nose, juicy with firm herb notes on the finish.

2012 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Oakville). Dark red with a purple robe, toast sour cherry on the nose, tight and concentrated with fresh rosemary on the balanced finish.

2012 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black in color, minty graphite on the nose with thick and chewy red fruit.

2013 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon “Special Select” (Napa Valley). Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and syrupy.


2011 Bouchard Pere & Fils Volnay Caillerets (Burgundy). Brick color, brick dust on the nose, chewy with red cherry and smoke on the fruit, firm acids.

2013 Domaine Faiveley Corton (Burgundy). Medium light red, forest floor on the nose, tight, moderate fruit.

2001 Chateau Margaux (Bordeaux). Dark brick, big perfume of black olives and tar, smoky, tobacco notes on the fruit, balanced, long smoky finish.

2006 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Bordeaux). Dark red with a brown robe, beautiful perfume of violets, green olive notes on the concentrated dusty fruit, turns tight with crisp acidity at the end.

2006 Chateau Haut-Brion (Bordeaux). Dark red, closed nose of bacon, silky green olives on the fruit, balance with a long finish.

2006 Ducru Beaucaillou (Bordeaux). Dark red in color, closed nose with mint notes, tight fruit, tannins on the end.

2009 Chateau Figeac (Bordeaux). Dark red to black, cook fruit, dried leaf on the nose, tight with smoke and toast notes on the fruit, firm tannins on the finish.

2004 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Bordeaux). Medium brick, cigar box nose, silky graphite notes on the fruit and on the finish, great balance.

2008 Chateau Palmer (Bordeaux). Dark red with a purple robe, toast notes on the nose, concentrated, dusty, toasty fruit, good balance.

2011 Chateau Angelus (Bordeaux). Dark red to black, closed nose of black fruit, mint, silky green olives and toast notes on the fruit, firm finish.

2010 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (Bordeaux). Black in color, crushed red fruit and Asian spices on the nose, thick and juicy with nice tannins to balance it out.

2011 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie Chateau d’Ampuis (Rhone). Dark red, big roasted meat and floral notes on the nose, big and chewy meat notes on the fruit, tightens up a the end.


2006 Solaia (Tuscany). Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, pretty perfume of red roses, violets with dark silky fruit and a beautiful finish.

2012 Sassicaia (Tuscany). Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, medium purple, closed nose, juicy red cherry fruit. Boring.

2009 Ornellaia (Tuscany). Medium red with a brick robe, cooked vegetable on the nose, dusty, tobacco fruit, balanced, cigarette smoke on the finish.

2011 Gaja Sperss (Piedmont). Medium brick, cherry tar on the nose, tight, silky tannin, finishes with lip smacking tannins.

2011 San Felice “Vigorello” (Tuscany). Dark purple, cigarette smoke on the nose, thick and chewy black fruit with some mint notes on the balanced finish.

2006 Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona Brunello di Montalcino “Riserva” (Tuscany). Magnum, medium brick, tar and pencil shavings on the nose and fruit, great balance.




A Grand Tasting, Porchetta & Mario

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The 9th annual Food Network Wine and Food festival whose motto is “eat, drink, end hunger” was held on October 13-16. It’s the largest food and wine festival in New York City with proceeds to help fight hunger benefiting no kid hungry and the food bank of New York City.  With over 100 events including dinners, seminars, hands-on classes, wine tastings and late night parties held at different venues throughout Manhattan, it’s four days of serious culinary partying.

On Saturday I attended the Porchetta, Pigs and Pints event hosted by Mario Batali. The event was held at the Standard Highline hotel Biergarten at the corner of Washington Street and Little West 12th Street in the trendy Meatpacking District of Manhattan. It was an evening of pig-centric food washed down with Italian wine, Mexican beer and cocktails with Four Roses Whiskey. Mario Batali was on hand for photos and to sign his cookbook.

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Grand Tasting at Pier 94 at 55th Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. An airplane hangar sized “130,000 square foot culinary wonderland” of food samples from local restaurants, wines and spirits and culinary demonstrations from culinary stars from the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. There was also the GEMS collection room presented by the Wine Spectator which featured high-end wines not available in the main hall. It was an afternoon of hundreds of people enjoying eating and drinking.

Some of the wines I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

2013 Lazy Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). Dark purple, brambly, dried herbs on the nose, thick and syrupy.

2012 Thomas George Pinot Noir “Bakers Ridge” (Russian River Valley). Medium brick, stewed fruit on the nose, juicy raspberry, low tannins and acids, easy drinking.

2014 Siduri Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). Medium to dark red, closed nose of roasted meat with cola on the moderate finish.

2012 Heritance Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford). Black in color, black cherry on the nose, dark and concentrated black fruit with nice balance.

2013 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Roasted nuts on the nose, chewy and chunky with dusty, mouth filling tannins with mint notes on the finish.

2012 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley).  Their flagship wine, a Bordeaux blend, dark purple to black in color, roasted meat and nuts on the nose, silky, minty fruit with a big mouthful of tannin at the finish.

2012 Stags Leap Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Fay” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, closed nose, silky, dark fruit with great balance.

2012 Ferarri-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon PreVail “Back Forty” (Alexander Valley). 100% Cab, black in color with mint and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, roasted meat and tobacco on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “Pom” (Paso Robles). Decanted, primarily Merlot, dark red to black, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy but framed with firm tannins, good balance.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “St. E” (Paso Robles). Decanted, bordeaux blend, dark black, smoky, toasty, green olives on the nose, deeply concentrated black fruit, silky tannin on the firm finish.

2012 The Prisoner Wine Co. Merlot “Thorn” (Napa Valley), Dark red to black in color, strawberry jam on the nose, juicy fruit with coffee notes on the moderate finish.

2006 Bertani Amarone (Veneto). Dark brick, amber robe, red cherry and mint on the nose, silky, dark fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2010 Umani Ronchi Campo San Georgio Conero Riserva (Marche). Dark brick, tar, graphite on the nose, silky, concentrated, mint and tar notes on the fruit, moderate structure and a long finish.

2011 Castello D’Albola “Acciaiolo” (Tuscany). Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, black in color, strawberry jam on the nose and fruit, moderate tannins.

2010 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione “Il Solatio” (Tuscany). Medium brick, fresh herbs on the nose, concentrated, dusty fruit, finishing with a bit of astringency.

2011 Antinori “Guado al Tasso” (Tuscany). Bordeaux blend, dark red to black, roast meat on the nose, roasted nuts on the fruit, a hit of a mouthful of tannin at the end.

2008 Trefianco Carmignano Riserva (Tuscany). Dark brick, tight tannin, bacon, roast meat noteson the medium finish.

2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany). Magnum. Medium brick, spicy cherry nose, juicy, black cherry on the fruit with nice tannins on the balanced finish.

2005 Fontanfredda Barolo “La Rosa” (Piedmont). Brown brick with a brown robe, big tar nose, moderate tar and leather notes on the fruit, firm tarry finish.

2007 Nervo Barberesco (Piedmont). Magnum. Dark brick with a brown robe, tarry, red cherry nose, moderate fruit, tar, graphite on the moderate to long finish with firm tannins at the end.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Coste di Rose” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, tar, dried herbs on the nose, dusty fruit with big tannins and astringency on the finish.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Sarmassa” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, medium brick, red cherry and violet on the nose, tight with big tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Cannubi” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, dried leaf and camphor on the nose, smoky tobacco on the finish with firm tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Barolo di Barolo” (Piedmont). Blend from various vineyards, dark purple with a brick robe, nice perfume of roses and fresh rosemary, tight with big dusty tannin at the end.

2013 Domaine Ponsot Clos del al Roche (Burgundy). Medium purple, roasted nuts on the nose, moderate red cherry fruit.

Red Blends On Long Island


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Last Sunday was a miserable, rainy afternoon. Why not a drive to wine country? This time around I met a few friends out there to help me sample the local wines.

I had planned on having Sauvignon Blanc tasting but circumstances dictated that I modify my plans. I ended drinking red blends. We stopped at three wine tasting rooms this afternoon.

The first stop of the day was at the Winemakers Studio by Anthony Nappa Wines at 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic on the north fork of Long Island. It’s a cooperative tasting room featuring the wines of Anthony Nappa and some local wineries that don’t have a tasting room.

2014 Anthony Nappa “Ripasso”. This is the first wine made in this style that I have seen made in Long Island Normally it’s done with Valpolicela in Italy. Ripasso which means repassed in Italian, is when Valpolicela is made using the left over pomace from the fermentation of grapes used to make Amarone. Is usually adds some body and complexity to the wine. In this case Merlot was repassed over the leftover skins of Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes.

Dark red to black with a purple robe, dark chocolate and black cherry on the nose, concentrated, mint notes, tight and dusty with some astringency on the finish. Interesting wine.


2010 Osprey’s Dominion Meritage “Flight”. 44075 Main Road, Peconic. Whereas the Winemakers Studio was a sedate drinking experience, this large tasting room was mobbed with plenty of people out enjoying the holiday weekend.

A blend of Merlot, Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. It was nice to try a red with some bottle aging, black in color, crushed blueberries on the nose, chewy fruit with some bell pepper notes, dark chocolate and bell pepper on the moderate finish. Tasty.


2010 Pugliese Vineyards Meritage “Sunset”. 34515 Main Road, Cutchogue. Established in 1980 which makes it one of the founding fathers of the wine industry out East, family owned and operated.

A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Black in color, closed nose of dark chocolate, chewy and chunky with licorice and coffee notes on the balanced finish. A fine effort.



Oystoberfest New York City

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September 16-October 1st was Oyster Week in New York City. It was actually a couple of weeks oyster centric events at various venues throughout the city that celebrated the significant role of the oyster in the history, culture and economy of New York.

The geography of New York City harbor estuary was conducive to the production of oysters. In 1860 12 million of them were sold in New York markets . They became the classic New York snack by the 1800’s, the first real street food, cheap and plentiful and sold by street carts. By 1900 over-fishing and pollution caused them to disappear from the harbor.

I attended the grand finale event, Oystoberfest on Saturday evening. It was held on the cobblestone streets of the South Street Seaport in front of the old Fulton Fish Market. It was a casual, outdoor event with stalls of oysters being shucked all night. The oysters were served raw on the half shell and I added a mignonette of red wine vinegar, chopped onions and pepper to each oyster I sample in order to be consistent. Beer and wine were served and I made due with a generic white wine.

Excellent live music was provided by the band, “The National”.

What I sampled:

East Coast

Cape May Salt (New Jersey)

Fishers Island (New York)

Empire (New York)

Big Rock (Massachusetts)

Beach Soleil (New Brunswick)

Lucky Lime (Prince Edward Island)

Grand Isle (Louisiana)


West Coast

Olympic (Washington)

Purple Haze (Washington)

Little Skookum (Washington)

Imperial (California)

Beach Angels (British Columbia)

Kusshi (British Columbia)