Chianti In Chelsea

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This year is the 300th anniversary of what is considered the first wine region in the world. In 1716, the Grand Duke Cosimo III set the borders of the Black Rooster production zone for Chianti Classico. The “Classico” zone is one of the eight sub-zones of Chianti in Tuscany.

This past Sunday, Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Manhattan held a Chianti fundraiser/tasting for the Wheeling Forward organization. It was a sit-down tasting of nine Chianti Classico and Riserva with commentary by wine educator, Robin Kelly O’Connor.


2014 Castellare Chianti Classico

Medium red with a purple rim, toast and a sweet perfume of violets on the nose, tight with light fruit and low tannins and acids.

2014 Santo Stefano Chianti Classico

Dark red with a light brick rim, crushed black fruit and wood notes on the nose, dusty black cherry fruit with moderate tannins and acid.

2013 Lorano Chianti Classico

Medium red, purple rim, big perfume of red cherry and baking spices, moderate red cherry fruit, balanced tannin and acids on the finish. Very drinkable.

2012 Fattoria La Ripa Chianti Classico

Medium red, big perfume of tar and sweet cherry, moderate red cherry fruit upfront and finishes with lip smacking tannins.

2013 Bibbiano Chianti Classico Riserva “Montonello”

Dark red with a pretty perfume of tar and violets, big black cherry fruit with firm tannins on the finish.

2013 Castello di Radda Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a brick rim with tar, leather and pencil shavings on the nose, moderate juicy fruit, sour cherry notes on the finish, moderate tannin and acid.

2013 Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico Riserva “Agostino Petri”

Medium red, toasty oak notes on the nose with red and black cherry notes on the fruit, good balance.

2012 Rocca Della Macie Chianti Classico Riserva “Famiglia Zingarelli”

Dark red with a slightly closed nose of black fruit and spice, chunky red fruit with bitter cherry notes and a nice balance of tannins and acids on the finish.

2012 Vecchie Terre di Montefili Chianti Classico Riserva

Medium red with a perfume of tar, graphite, tight fruit finishing with firm tannins and tart fruit.





Better Together Gala


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Another holiday party for the season. On Sunday I attended the Better Together Gala benefitting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It was an afternoon of wine, cocktails, fashion shows and general partying for a good cause.

The event was held at Pier A Harbor House, a recently renovated pier house literally located on the most southern tip of Manhattan island. If you walked out the door and stepped right you were on the East side of the island, step left and you were on the West side. It’s a huge, multi level bar/restaurant/event space over looking New York harbor that should get very busy when the weather warms up.

In between fashion shows I kept myself busy with Finger Lakes Riesling, Chardonnay and the occasional cocktail.



2015 Wagner Vineyards Riesling

2013 Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay “Kaiser Vineyard”



Better Together Signature Drink: Vodka, fresh lime, triple sec, cranberry juice, simple syrup

Positively Pink: Old Scout, strawberry, sweet vermouth, lime

Breast In Show: Bourbon, Angostura bitters, orange bitters, simple syrup

Second Base: Tequila, fresh lemon, ginger, crème de cassis

Diane: Teeling whiskey, fresh lime, ginger

Think Pink: Vodka, ginger, lime



Syrah On Long Island

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Syrah (Shiraz in Australia), is a varietal found to be indigenous to France. It’s used as a backbone grape for many big and bold wines from the Cote du Rhone and Australia as well as grown in other regions. I remember at one time it was thought it would be the next standout varietal in California but that never panned out and there was a lot of Cali Syrah being sold on those discount mail-order wine sites these past few years. Out East it’s not a big player but there are a few acres of it planted and on this Sunday afternoon I sampled a few. In the cooler growing season in this wine region, I wasn’t expecting big and bold wines.


2014 Pindar Vineyards Syrah  37645 Route 25, Peconic.

Pindar Vineyards which opened in the 1980’s is the largest vineyard on Long Island with over 500 acres with 17 varietals planted. It’s one of the more popular stops on the east end wine route and the tasting room was crowded even on this quiet, post holiday Sunday afternoon. It had been awhile since I stopped by this tasting room.

Black in color with roast meat and black licorice on the nose, medium body with sour black fruit and crisp acids. Felt a bit unfinished.



2014 Bedell Cellars Syrah  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue.

Winery with vines planted in the 1980’s and now owned by film executive Michael Lynne.

Dark red to black in color with a purple rim, roasted meat, dirt on the nose, tight, tart, concentrated dark fruit, neutral flavors with firm tannin at the end.



2014 Clovis Point Winery Syrah  1935 Main Road, Jamesport.

One of the newer wineries out east with 10 acres of farm land, named after pre-historic native arrow and spear points found on Long Island. One of the wineries that serve their wines in proper wine glasses.

Dark red with a purple rim, notes of asparagus and roast meat on the nose, concentrated and dusty ending with a mouth tightening tannin.