Food Network Grand Tasting & Outdoor BBQ 2017

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The 10th annual Food Network New York Food & Wine Festival was held on October 12-15. It was four days of 100+ events including dinners, wine tastings, classes, seminars and late night parties with 100% of the net proceeds going to the Food Bank for New York and the No Kid Hungry campaign.

I began the festivities on Thursday evening by attending the Tacos & Tequila late-night party held at the boutique Hudson Hotel at 237 58th Street in Manhattan. It was hosted by taco aficionado Aaron Sanchez and featured many styles of tacos and much tequila infused cocktails.

On Sunday I attended a couple of events, I began at the Grand Tasting held at Pier 94 at 55th street and the West Side highway. The event space was a 130,000 sq. foot “culinary wonderland” of food, wine, spirits and culinary demonstrations by Food Network and Cooking Channel stars.

I have covered this event in the past and was somewhat disappointed this year. In past years there was a separate room that featured higher end wines that were not available on the main floor. That was not the case this year, they omitted that room which for me took away much of the excitement of the event. It became just another large consumer event with a lot of mid-level wines.

Afterwards I walked next door to the Coca-Cola Backyard BBQ event held at the top floor of an unused multilevel parking garage. The event was hosted by Andrew Zimmern, Chef and host to the Travel Channel show, Bizarre Foods, and by Pat LaFrieda of Pat LaFrieda Meats. The event had pit masters grilling all sorts of meat, and even squid which was washed down with cold beer, wine and cocktails. An excellent live band provided the music and as this years event was “family friendly”, there were plenty of kids enjoying the event as well.

 

Some of what I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

Tablas Creek Winery. Winery in Paso Robles California that specializes in Rhone varietals.

2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc: Gold in color, honey notes on the nose, kiwi, melon on the fruit, nice balance.

2014 Esprit de Tablas Noir: black in color, black olives on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, nice grip, good balance.

2014 Patelin de Tablas: Dark amber, closed nose of crushed herbs, tight with firm acids and tannin on the bitter red cherry finish.

Kendall-Jackson Winery

2015 Pinot Gris: Medium yellow with cantaloupe on the nose, dried herb on the finish with nice acidity.

2015 Grand Reserve Chardonnay : Medium gold, toasty nose, with big oak notes on the fruit.

2013 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark black, slightly closed nose of crushed dark berries, very concentrated with dusty, silky tannins and good balance.

2014 Ferrari-Carano Siena: Dark red to black, closed nose, juicy and concentrated, tree bark on the fruit, good, firm finish.

2014 Ferrari-Carano  Cabernet Sauvignon: Black, crushed ripe plums on the nose, thick and concentrated with some mint notes, balanced.

2014 Cambia Winery Pinot Noir “Benchbreak”: Medium amber, crushed blueberry and mint on the nose, tight, smoky finish.

 

 

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Toast Of France

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On October 8th I attended the Toast of France wine event. The tasting was a fundraiser in which 100% of proceeds benefit Wheeling Forward and Hurricane Relief.

The event was held at Le Dû’s wine shop at 600 Washington Street in lower Manhattan where I’ve been to many a wine tasting in the past. It was hosted by Somms, Yannick Benjamin, one of the co-founders of Wheeling Forward and by Jean-Luc Le Dû.

All of the French wine regions were represented with a table of wines served by volunteer Sommeliers. There was a live and silent auction, oysters in the Champagne room, cheese and paté in the main room, and some French guy strolling around playing the accordion. It was an enjoyable afternoon of sampling wines from all of France.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Champagne

NV Krug “Grand Cuvee” En Jeroboam

NV Larmandier-Bernier “Longitude” En Magnum

NV Marc Hebert Brut Rosé

Bourgogne

2014 Domaine Christine Moreau Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos”

2014 Pierre Morey Meursault

2014 Domaine Antonin Guyon Pugliny-Montrachet 1er Cru “Pucelles”

2013 Domaine Armand Rousseau Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Cazetiers”

Beaujolais

2015 Domaine des Billards Saint Amour

2015 Domaine de Haute Combe Julienas

2013 Chateau des Jacques Moulin a Vent “La Roche”

Bordeaux

2009 Le Petit Caillou de Ducru

2009 Chateau Bourgneuf

2014 Chateau Cartier

2012 Sirene de Giscours

2012 Chateau de Sales

Loire

2016 Domaine Pabiot Puilly Fume

2012 Domaine de la Chevalerie Bourgueil “Galichets”

Savoie/Jura

2008 Chateau d’Arlay Vin Jaune

2012 Domaine Berthet-Bondet “Tradition”

Alsace

2010 Domaine Trimbach Pinot Gris

2012 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris “Clos Windsbuhl”

Rhone

2014 Chateau de Beaucastel Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc

2013 Pierre Gaillard Cote Rotie

2014 Domaine J. Despesse Cornas

2012 Domaine de Beaurenard  Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge

Provence/Languedoc

2009 Domaine Hauvette Baux de Provence “Cornaline”

2012 Chateau de Pibarnon Bandol

2014 Mas Daumas Gassace Rouge

Roussellon

2014 Domaine du Clos des Fees Les Sorcieres

2014 Chateau Haute Serre

 

 

Rum Fest New York

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The 1st annual New York Rum Festival was held on September 30th.  The event showcased over 40 rums from large, micro and boutique distilleries   including producers from various countries in the Caribbean, South America and the United States. The event was produced by the Rum Lab which hosted similar events in Chicago and San Francisco.

The Fest was held at S. O. B.’s (Sounds of Brazil), a live music venue at 204 Varick Street in the SoHo district of lower Manhattan which was an appropriate venue to host a rum event since they specialize in Afro-Latino music acts.

The event had a good mix of styles of rum from various countries and with this overwhelming amount of spirits to sample, I stayed away from white Rums and fruity cocktails and focused on aged rums which in my opinion are some of the most underrated spirits in the world. It was a good crowd of people enjoying the afternoon sipping on rum.

Seminar: Don Q Rum Master Class with Jaiker Soto (Puerto Rico)

Añejo: 3-8 year old rums, amber with grassy and oak notes on the finish.

151°: 3-5 year old rums, grassy, oily nose, big hit of alcohol with some honey notes on the finish.

Single Barrel: 9 year old rum, light amber, closed nose, dry finish with oak notes.

Spiced: 3-6 year old rums, light amber, vanilla on the nose, subtle flavors with a hit of heat at the finish, 90°.

Gran Añejo: 9-12year old rums, light amber, unusual sweet cotton candy and chocolate on the nose with chocolate notes on the finish.

Some of what I sampled:

Lost Spirits (California) Navy Style Rum

Montanya (Colorado) Oro

Boukman  (Haiti) Botanical Rum

Chairman’s Reserve (St. Lucia) The Forgotten Casks

Foursquare Distillery (Barbados) 2004, Criterion, Zinfandel Cask Blend

Mount Gay (Barbados) Black Barrel, XO

Plantation (Barbados) 20th Anniversary

Plantation (Jamaica) 2002

Denizen’s Merchant’s Reserve (Jamaica) 8 year

Rhum J.M. (Martinique) V.O., V.S.O.P.

Clement (Martinique) Select Barrel, 10 year

Brugal (Dominican Republic) Gran Reserva  888

Abuelo (Panama) XV

Parce Rum (Columbia) 8 year, 12 year

Flor de Caña (Nicaragua) 12 year, 18 year

Diplomatico  (Venezuela) Mantuano Extra Aged, Reserva Exclusiva

Don Pappa (Philippines) Small Batch

 

 

 

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Fest 2017

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The 12th annual Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held September 21-24th in Newport Rhode Island. Newport is about a three and a half hour drive northeast from New York City. The event was a fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Newport County, a cultural organization that protects and preserves Newport’s architectural heritage. Sponsors included Food & Wine magazine and Maserati.

The event was held at the Marble House, one of many gilded-age mansions in Newport at 596 Bellevue Avenue. It was built between 1888-1892 for Mr. and Mrs William K. Vanderbilt at a then cost of $11 million, $7 million of which was spent on marble. Subtle is not a word to describe the interior rooms of the mansion.

The fest was four days of wine dinners, seminars, chefs demos with grand tastings on Saturday and Sunday. I attended Sunday afternoon and the event actually took place on the back lawn of the mansion overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Local and regional Chefs provided food, a favorite of mine was a green gazpacho with jalapeno oil topped with lump crabmeat and any of the beef and pork that the Dole & Bailey meat purveyors were grilling. In the sweltering heat of the afternoon those grill masters manage to sling the meat while maintaining a borsht- belt chatter with the guests. In the authentic Chinese tea house on the lawn, it was “rosé all day” with wines from Chateau d’Esclans.

As far as consumer wine and food fests go, this is one of the nicer ones with a great venue, a good selection of wines and spirits and tasty food from the locals.

The afternoon started out hot and sweltering so I focused on rosé and sparkling wines and managed to try a few reds at the end of the day.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2016 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Garrus

2016 Notorious Pink Grenache

2016 Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir

NV Gosset Brut Grande Reserve

2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

2010 Pichon-Longueville

2014 Justin Isosceles

2014 Justin Justification