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The 9th annual Albany Chef’s Food & Wine Festival was held on January 11-13. The event raised money for the arts in Albany and was three days of seminars, dinners, grand tastings and culinary and bartender competitions which included a cooking challenge and a Bloody Mary contest.

This year the event partnered with the Indonesian Diaspora Network which inspired the artwork on the poster and provided the food theme for the dinners.

The event was held at the Empire State Plaza, a 1970s era complex of monolithic state government buildings which cost around $2 billion to build at the time. I attended the grand tasting on Saturday afternoon which featured food from local restaurants, wine, spirits and craft beer as well as the chefs and bartenders competition. There was also a one seminar which I attended.  Like many consumer tastings, there was a lot of mid level wines but there was a table with some high end juice and I tasted some interesting whiskey.

Albany is the capitol of the state of New York but it’s a small town and the downtown area was pretty much a ghost town on the Saturday afternoon I was there.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Whiskey

Jack Daniels’s: single barrel rye, single barrel select, Sinatra select

Hudson: Manhattan rye, four grain bourbon

Eagle Rare bourbon 10yr

Ironweed rye

 

Wine

2015 Steele Chardonnay Cuvee

2015 Cartlidge & Browne Pinot Noir

2013 Twonmey Cellars Merlot

2013 Gaja “Sori Tilden”

2012 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino

2014 Chateau La Nerthe Chateauneuf du Pape

2016 19 Crimes Red Blend

 

Seminar: Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Horizontal

The tasting room is just south of the city of Salem, Oregon and is one of the larger producing wineries in the state. I did stop by the huge tasting room when I visited Willamette Valley last Spring.

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate”. A blend of grapes from several vineyards, clear, dark red with a delicate perfume of dark cherry, some earth and petroleum, dusty fruit ending with tart black cherry.

2014 Pinot Noir “Tualatin”. Clear, medium dark red, red licorice on the nose, tight, bright delicate fruit with smoky notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Elton”. Clear, dark purple, cherry and leather on the nose, tight fruit, firm acids with charred notes on the finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Bernau Block”. Clear, dark red with mint, green herbs and strawberry jam on the nose, delicate and earthy notes and black licorice on the finish.

 

 

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