Malbec On Long Island

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Malbec is one of the varietals allowed in the Bordeaux blend but not widely grown there today. It is however, the most important grape in Cahors in the south-western part of France and in Argentina where it usually makes for a beefier wine than in Cahors. Out on Long Island production is limited and a few wineries bottle it on its own. I drove out one Sunday afternoon to try some. These cool weather wines had more in common with Cahors than Argentina.

 

Lenz Winery 38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz is celebrating its 39th year which makes it ancient on the north fork. They are known for their Merlot but they bottle a Malbec as well.

2014 Malbec: Black with a purple rim, slate and black fruit on the nose, graphite and slate notes on the juicy fruit ending with dusty tannins.

 

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

Family owned winery with an always crowded tasting room.

2016 Malbec: Dark purple with a purple rim, crushed stone and cooked fruit on the nose with mint notes starting to show as the wine opened in the glass, tight, sour cherry notes on the light finish.

 

Shinn Estate Vineyard 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Established in 2000 and whose motto is “heritage, history & heart”, they recently changed ownership.

2013 Malbec: About 38 cases produced, black in color, sweet berry, mint and dark violets on the nose, dark and concentrated fruit with tart blueberry notes.

 

 

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Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.

 

Italian Holiday Tasting

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Another Thanksgiving Day has come and gone and we are now on the home stretch of the holiday season with Christmas right around the corner. Italian Wine Merchants, a wine shop specializing in Italian wines located at 108 East 16th Street in Manhattan, threw a “mini grand” tasting on Saturday November 25th.

The wine shop throws many wine themed events throughout the year and their tastings are usually pretty solid with quality wines poured. This was their Black Friday edition which meant a nice discount from the regular price.  It was a walk-around tasting featuring 26 wines from an all Italian list (and one Champagne). It was a well thought out list with a nice variety of premium wines.

The wine shop is just down the block from Union Square Park, an historic intersection where New York City’s first commercial theater district was located. At this time of year a Christmas market is set up in the park and during the day one of the best farmers markets in the city selling local produce and products.

 

What I sampled:

NV Barone Pizzini Brut Franciacorta “Aminante” (Lombardy). Gold in color, honey, floral nose with green apple notes on the fruit.

NV Roger Coulon Brut Reserve de l’Hommée (Champagne). The non-Italian outlier of the tasting, light gold with green vegetable and bread dough on the nose, crisp.

 

2015 Antinori Castello della Sala Pinot Nero (Umbria). Medium red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, leather fruit with some tar on the finish.

2014 Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany). Medium red, tar, leather  on the nose, tight fruit with green herbs, firm finish.

2012 Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (Tuscany). Medium red, tar, leather, violet on the nose, tight, bitter cherry fruit, firm finish.

2011 Castello dei Rampolla “Sammarco” (Tuscany). Dark red in color, nice perfume of pencil shavings, tar and red fruit, dusty crushed black fruit with a long, firm finish.

2015 Tenuta San Guido “Guidalberto” (Tuscany). Medium red, green bell pepper on the nose with tart red cherry fruit.

2014 Cerbaiona Rosso di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium red, tar and crushed red cherry on the nose, dusty, black licorice fruit, balanced with tar notes on the finish.

2015 Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato” (Tuscany). Medium red, red cherry and green herbs on the nose, tight, tree bark notes on the fruit, big astringent at the finish.

2014 Cerbaina Rosso IGT (Tuscany). Medium red, tar, graphite on the nose, red licorice and dusty tar on the firm, moderate to long finish.

2014 Le Mortelle “Bortrosecco” (Tuscany). Medium to dark red, green herbs, sour green bell pepper of the nose, tight with herb and leather notes, toast on the firm finish.

2012 Pian Delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium brick, tar on the nose, silky fruit with bitter cherry and crisp acids on the finish.

2012 Cerbaiona Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany). Medium brick, tar, graphite on the nose with silky tar and toasty notes on the medium fruit.

2013 Poderi Aldon Conterno Langhe Rosso (Piedmont). Medium red, cooked fruit notes, couldn’t get a handle on this wine, not sure if the bottle was bad or not.

2014 Prunotto Barbera d’Alba “Pian Romualdo” (Piedmont). Medium red, closed, plummy nose, tight and tart.

2010 Prunotto Barolo Bussia Riserva “Vigna Colonnello” (Piedmont). Light brick, big perfume of tar, camphor, tight and firm, tart finish.

2012 Poderi Aldo Conterno Barolo “Colonnello” (Piedmont). Medium brick with a sweet perfume of tar, graphite and sweet cherry, tight and dusty with big tannins at the end.

2013 Ada Nada Barberesco “Valeirano” (Piedmont). Brick in color with a pretty perfume of violets and roast meat, tight, roast nut notes on the fruit, ending with firm tannins.

2011 Bruno Giacosa Barberesco “Santo Stefano” (Piedmont). Light brick, tar, red cherry on the nose with dusty red cherry fruit ending with moderate tannin and acids.

2014 Nicolis Valpolicella Classico (Veneto). Medium brick, red flowers on the nose, moderate to light, tart fruit.

2011 Brigaldara Amarone “Casa Vecie” (Veneto). Medium amber, green fruit on the nose, bitter plum and dusty bell pepper on the fruit.

2012 Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo (Puglia). Medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, concentrated, dark and dusty fruit ending with bitter black cherry notes.