Milano Wine Week Chianti Tasting

Milano Wine Week was held on October 2-10. It was a series of wine related events based in Milan, Italy. One of the many events that week was the International Master Class Programs which was a series of classes held in various cities around the world that was coordinated with a live video feed from Milan.

In New York City those classes were held at Il Gattopardo restaurant located at 15 West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan.

On October 4th I attended a tasting sponsored by the Consorzio Vino Chianti, “Chianti D.O.C.G.: Quintessence of Tuscany”. It was a blind tasting of seven 2019 Chianti from each of the seven sub districts in Chianti, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Chianti Rufina, Chianti Montalbano and Chianti Montespertoli. Chianti Classico, another sub district was granted its own DOCG.

All of the wines were from the 2019 vintage and were tasted blind and at this point still young.

Artimino Chianti Montalbano

Opaque dark purple with red candy, roast meat and wood notes on the nose, tight, red citrus and red candy fruit notes ending with crisp and crunchy acids.

Tenuta San Vito Chianti Fiorentini

Opaque dark purple, tree bark, black licorice and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight, black licorice and cherry on the tight fruit with bitter almonds on the finish.

Badia Di Morrona Chianti Pisane

Opaque dark purple with a sweet perfume of toasted oak on the nose, red licorice on the fruit with firm acids.

Poggio Al Vento Chianti Senesi

Opaque dark purple, red cherry and tree bark on the nose, firm dusty leather fruit, balanced with a tarry finish.

Podere Dell’Anselmo Chianti Montespertoli

Dark purple to black in color with sweet tar, earth and toast notes on the nose, silky fruit with graphite notes, good balance with a good grip on the moderate to long finish.

Il Palazzo Chianti Arentini

Opaque dark purple, sweet roast meat on the nose, dusty fruit with green herbs on the finish with a firm grip on the end.

Fattoria Lavaccio Chianti Rufina

Opaque dark purple, closed nose of violets and red leather, black cherry notes on the fruit with a firm, dusty grip at the end with bitter almond notes.

CiderFeast 2021

NYC Cider Week was held on October 2-17. It was a couple of weeks of cider events throughout New York State. To kick things off on October 1, Jimmy Carbone’s Food Karma project held it’s annual (but cancelled last year) CiderFeast event. Food Karma Project is responsible for many foodie events such as Pig Island, Bowl of ‘Zole, Brisket King and 5 Boro PicNYC.

The event was held at Biba of Williamsburg located at 110 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the event featured several Ciders plus lite eats

According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, New York State is the 2nd largest producers of apples in the country with 29.5 million bushels produced. It’s not surprising that the State is home to many artisanal cider producers.

The event showcased many NYS producers but there were other regions and countries pouring as well. The amount of vendors at the event was noticeably fewer than at the last event a couple of years ago. That can be blamed on supply issues and skittishness about the virus. Still, they had a great crowd that were enjoying a sunny afternoon of cider and good company.

Something unusual that I tried at the event that I haven’t tried before was fortified cider. Ironbound Cider produced a trio of fortified ciders, Cherry Burdock, Golden Russet Orange and Lemon Beebrush that were very port-like and interesting.

Some of the cider producers that I sampled from, most poured several different versions of their cider:

Ironbound CiderHudson Valley Farmhouse
Orchard HillOmmegang
Barika Basque CiderAustin Eastciders
Original SinFerme de Romilly
Aval CiderIndian Ladder Farmhouse Cider

Westchester Wine & Food Fest 2021

Westchester Magazine’s 10th annual Wine & Food Festival was held on September 21-25. It was five days of a couple of wine dinners, a Burger & Beer Bash, Party on the Pier and lastly, their signature event, the Grand Tasting Village on Saturday, September 25th.

Last years event, which normally took place in June was, not surprisingly, cancelled so I was happy to see that they decided to bring the event back this year.

I was worried that they might have scaled back the scope of the event but when but when I arrived, I was happily surprised to see that they did not. In fact it seemed like they had double the amount of spirits represented this year than at the last event. As usual they had a roped off Connoisseurs tent that featured high end wines not available in General Admission area. I remember being disappointed in the wine selection in that Connoisseurs tent at the last event but they made up for it this year, there was some very nice juice to sample this time.

As in the past, the event was held outdoors under the tents at Kensico Damn Plaza which is a few minutes walk from the Valhalla Metro North train station. That’s a leisurely 50-60 minute train ride from Grand Central Terminal and it was a beautiful late Summer afternoon for a ride to the country.

I think that this is one of the better consumer wine events to attend. It’s at a great venue with tasty food to sample and copious international wines to drink for the General Admission ticket holders.

Wines I sampled in the Connoisseurs tent:

NV Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage Champagne2017 Vincent Giradin Chassagne-Montrachet
2018 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay2015 Robert Mondavi Reserve Fume Blanc
2017 Tablas Creek Esprit Blanc2018 Penner-Ash Estate Pinot Noir
2015 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Sycamore Vineyard2016 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon Monte Rosso Vineyard
2018 Pahlmeyer Cabernet Sauvignon “Jayson”2018 Mt. Veeder Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
2015 Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir “Machado”2017 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon
2018 Lucienne Pinot Noir2018 Orin Swift Papillon Red Blend
2017 Booker Oublie Grenache Blend2018 Caymus-Suisun Grand Durif
2018 Chateau La Gaffeliere2019 Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello Banfi Summus Toscana2016 Castello Banfi Excelsus Toscana
2016 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino2016 Mastroberadino Taurasi Radici
2016 Castello Banfi Poggio Alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino2018 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino

Eataly End of Summer Festa

Eataly is a chain of large space supermarkets that got its start in a former vermouth factory in Turin, Italy (which I’ve been to). They’ve expanded worldwide opening stores in North America in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto.

The first New York City store was opened in 2010 in the Toy Building on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron District of Manhattan and became an immediate success. A second store, Eataly Downtown was opened at 101 Liberty Street across from the Freedom Tower.

Periodically, at the Downtown location they host a food and wine festival and, after a year long hiatus, hosted the End of Summer Wine & Food Festa on September 17th. The Festa featured over 40 Italian wines that were paired with appetizer portions of food.

The Festa was held in the store with various stations of food and wine scattered around the store. This made for an experience that had you walking around the store to sample the various wines and food. This was much more fun experience than having everyone crammed into one room.

Some wines I sampled:

2020 Firriato Etna Bianco2018 Domenico Clericco Langhe Nebbiolo Capisme
2013 Cesani Merlot “Cellori”2020 Marziano Abbona Roero Arneis “Tistin”
2020 Tornatore Etna Bianco 2019 Allegrini Valpolicella
2017 Allegrini La Grola2018 Poggop al Tesoro Toscana Mediterra
2019 Tredeberri Barbera d’Alba2014 Il Pavone Barolo
2016 Il Pavone Langhe Nebbiolo2016 Il Pavone Barbera d’Alba Superiore
2016 Pasque Amarone della Valpoicella2015 Villa Cafaggio Cortaccio Cabernet Sauvignon
2017 Castello d’Ama San LorenzoNV Il Mosnel Franciacorta
Chianti Classico Gran Selezione

Eats:

Nodini Di Mozzarella E PestoParmigiano Reggiano E Prosciutto
Focaccia ClassicaFocaccia Rossa
AranciniBresaola E Rucola
Arista Di MaialeAgnolotti Con Tartufo
Castagnole Con GelatoTiramisu Della Nonna

The Whisky X

The Whisky X is a Whisky “experience” promoting “whisky, music, food and style”. It’s a traveling whiskey and concert event stopping in Chicago, Austin, Denver and Las Vegas.

On September 10th the tour stopped in Brooklyn. It was held at Industry City which is a huge arts and entertainment center near the waterfront in Sunset Park featuring “eats, drinks and play”.

There were 60+ whiskies and cocktails to sample at the outdoor courtyard and indoors with a good selection of American whiskies, Irish whiskies, Scotch whiskies and for some reason, a table of rum. If you were in the mood for haircut with your whisky, there were a couple of barbers on hand to give you one.

Unlike most of these events there was a live band performing later in the evening. That band that evening was “Guster” and while I didn’t stick around for the concert, they did have an impressive collection of musical instruments on stage.

Some whiskies (and an outlier rum) that I sampled:

Calumet: small batch blend, straight bourbon, 15yr bourbonHudson Whiskey NY: Do the rye thing, bright lights big bourbon
Blackened: Kentucky straight rye, whisky blendWoodinville: 100% Rye, straight bourbon
Roe & Co: Irish whiskeyThe Irishman: Single malt
Busker: Single grain Irish whiskeyTeeling: Single batch Irish whiskey
McConnel“s: Irish WhiskeyJim Beam: Kentucky straight bourbon
Basi Hayden’s: Kentucky straight bourbonKnob Creek: Kentucky straight bourbon
Whistle Pig: Piggy back 6yrClyde May’s: Straight rye, straight bourbon
Gosling’s: Old rum, papa sealLegent: Bourbon

Rum Fest 2021

RumLab is a website dedicate to rum and to the people involved with it. They sponsor a travelling Rum festival stopping in San Juan, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami Beach and after a year hiatus, in New York City on August 21st.

It was a tasting that featured 100+ rums from several countries in all styles. There were also several seminars throughout the afternoon.

The event was held at the popular event space, the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

Rum is made from molasses or free run sugar cane juice which is then fermented and distilled in either a column still or a pot still. Not surprisingly, production is centered in the Caribbean countries though it’s made worldwide as well. The rum comes out of the still clear and aging (or adding additives like caramel color) adds color to the rum. The various styles of rum include light rum, gold rum, dark rum, black rum and spiced rum.

Personally, I save the white rums for the pina coladas and rum and Coke while I believe that aged rum is one of the most underrated spirits in the world. It’s something you sip neat while watching the sun go down with bonus points if you are smoking a good cigar.

I particularly enjoy the Rum Agricole that are produced in the French West Indies. They generally have more character with earthy and grassy notes and a lighter texture than rums made from molasses.

Last years tour was another victim of the pandemic so a good crowd showed to the event to sample what was offered, though I did notice that there were fewer producers on hand this time around than in previous years.

Some rums I sampled:

El Dorado 15yr, 21yrClement 10yr, 15yr
Chairman’s Reserve Legacy, 1931Bounty Officer’s Release, Dark Rum
Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Ron Abuelo 7yr, 12yr
Maggie’s Farm Single BarrelRhum JM 2002, VSOP
Montanya Oro, ExclusivaBarcelo Imperial
Long Pond 15yr Single MaltClement Canne Bleue, XO
Holme’s Cay Guyana 2005, Belize 2006, Barbados 2005Plantation Jamaica, Australia, Trinidad
Don Q Anejo, XO

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2021

On July 31st and August 1st, the 11th annual Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival was held in Brooklyn at the Expo Center, a venue space located at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint.

It’s a year long traveling BBQ festival with tour dates in Virginia, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and of course, Brooklyn, New York.

It’s a big party with pitmasters cooking up their specialties with an abundance of whiskey, beer, cider and a lot of hard seltzer which seems to be the new spirit trend in the country this year.

The even was held on Saturday afternoon and evening and on Sunday afternoon. I attended the Saturday afternoon session because the afternoon sessions are usually less crowded and more manageable than the evening sessions and at that time they haven’t run out of any particular spirit.

There was an outdoor seating area with vendors, games and a DJ that quickly filled up with people relaxing with their whisky and cigars.

I did attend a seminar for Garrison Brothers whiskey from Texas. At the event there was a nice selection of American whiskey and local beers and as I mentioned, a larger than usual selection of hard seltzer.

If one thing stood out for me at the event was that I was a little disappointed in the food served compare to the last time I went to this event in January of 2020. Maybe some of the pitmasters were still jittery about traveling

Some of the Whiskey I sampled:

George Dickel: 8yr sour mash, 12yr sour mash

Four Roses: Small Batch, Single Barrell

Virginia Distilling Co.: Single Malt Whisky

Balcone’s: Texas 100°, True Blue 100°, Lineage

Evan Williams: 1783

Markers Mark: Cask Strength, 46, 101 Limited Release

Basil Hayden’s: Straight Bourbon

Knob Creek: 15yr Bourbon, Kentucky Straight Rye

Excelsior: NY Straight Rye

Coppersea: NY Straight Rye Malt Whisky

A Couple of Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is an exotic grape varietal with an equally exotic aroma with the distinctive smells of grapefruit, lychee, peaches, and ginger rising up from the glass.

The grape makes a big presence in the Alsatian wine region of France but it’s grown throughout the wine producing world including the North Fork of Long Island wine region.

One afternoon I took a drive to the North Fork wine country and revisited a couple of the wineries where I had sampled Gewürztraminer before.

I stopped by One Women Winery, a small winery producing estate bottled wines, and Lenz Winery, one of the oldest wineries on the North Fork.

One Women Winery 5195 Old North Road, Southold

2018 Gewürztraminer

Dark gold in color with an oily nose of ripe peaches and lychee, dry with melon notes on the finish, moderate to low acids.

Lenz Winery 38355 Route 25, Peconic

2016 Gewürztraminer

Dark gold in color, closed nose of toasty ripe peaches, tight with moderate apple fruit notes and firm tannins.

Bice Cucina Restaurant Opening

Bice is a family run restaurant group that began with the first restaurant in Milan, Italy in 1926. They are now a worldwide business with restaurants in several countries.

They have a restaurant in New York City, Bice Cucina at 62 West 55th Street in midtown Manhattan. They decided to open another branch at 15 Watts Street in the trendy Soho district of lower Manhattan.

On July 7th they held a preopening party at their new Soho restaurant, Bice Cucina.

Coming off of over a year of lockdowns and restrictions, people are hungry for a good time and for the people who were lucky enough to get an invite to the opening, they were treated to a party with flowing spirits, food, and a few model types strolling around the venue.

I wish them luck at their new venue.

Bourbon, Brew & BBQ 2021

Back in June, Route 66 Smokehouse restaurant located at 46 Stone Street in the Financial District of lower Manhattan threw its annual Bourbon, Brew & BBQ event .

Not surprisingly, last years event was cancelled. Normally it was held indoors but this year they decided to hold the event outdoors on the cobblestone streets which are lined with many restaurants and taverns. It made for a festive atmosphere.

Stone Street is in an historic district just down the block from the historic Fraunces Tavern which itself is one of the oldest restaurants in New York City and the site of George Washington’s farewell address to his officers. Stone Street is also one of the oldest streets in New York and in 1658 it became the first cobbled stone street in New Amsterdam.

The event featured several whiskeys, beer, cider, small bites and games. It had a good crowd of people out to socialize and enjoy in pre pandemic conditions.