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.

Whiskey & Barrel Nite 2021

The Covid restrictions in New York were finally lifted on June 16th which meant the return of in-person wine and spirit events.

The Whiskey & Barrel Nite tasting event was held on June 17th. It was a night to sample from a choice of dozens of worldwide whiskey though most were American Whiskey which included Rye, Bourbon and blended whiskey. The countries of Scotland, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan and India were represented as well and a handful of brandy, rum, gin and vodka were on hand for those who got tired of whiskey.

The event was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion, a well known event space located at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

To keep people busy while they were sipping on spirits a live Jazz Band was in hand and a buffet to feed the hungry. There was also a separate “VIP Experience” room for VIP ticket holders that poured some extra special spirits.

It was a great night to finally experience a pre pandemic event and the event space was so large that the room never became overcrowded though I have to think that the organizers might have limited thicket sales to keep the crowd down or that many people were still skittish about attending a public event. Probably a little of both.

There was an excellent selection of spirits to try, I’m not a fan of Scotch so I didn’t sample very many of those but I am a fan of Rye so I did sample quite a few of those.

I was able to sample a couple of wheated Bourbon from the cult status Weller, their Full Proof and their Special Reserve which I thought was quite smooth.

Another interesting whisky was a trio of single farm origin Irish whisky from Waterford, Dunmore, Rathclogh and Organic Gaia. They all had uncharacteristic notes of the terroir of where they were produced.

There was a nice limited release Bourbon from Booker’s, some interesting Rye’s from Dad’s Hat, the nice Private Select from Maker’s Mark, and Whistle Pig’s 18 year which were just a few of the whiskey I sampled this evening.

Finally Brunello 2021

The Consorzio del Vino Brunello di Montalcino is hosting Brunello week June 14-20. The theme is “Finally Brunello, The destiny of every bottle of Brunello di Montalcino is to wait for years”.

That refers to the fact that for Brunello’s according to the DOCG laws, the wines cannot be released for a minimum of 4 years for the regular bottling and 5 years for the Riserva. That means the wines from the outstanding 2016 vintage have recently been coming to the US market. And I suppose the “finally” was for the fact that they can begin having live tastings again.

For the Brunello week that means 40 restaurants and 2 clubs will be featuring special menus paired with wines from any of the 56 wineries that are participating in the Brunello week.

Prior to that week they hosted several webinars and events. On June 9th I was able to attend the Brunello Week Press Release Luncheon where we were served six wines from Montalcino paired with a three course lunch.

That lunch was held at Il Fiorista restaurant at 17 West 26th Street in Manhattan. This has to be one of the most unique restaurants in the City. Il Fiorista which means “The Florist” in English has a Florist theme with many plants and plant products that are on sale in the restaurant. They also use various locally sourced edible plants in their cooking. The lunch was excellent and went well with the wines that were served with them.

Four Rosso di Montalcino and two Brunello’s were served.

The Menu

Tagliatelli

Sun-gold tomatoes, tarragon, flowering arugula

Pork Belly

Cherry, farro, basil blosssoms

Sorbet

Blackberry, lap sang su chang (smoke-dried black tea)

The Wines

2016 Poggio Antica Brunello di Montalcino: Opaque dark red, closed nose at first then opened up with floral wood, petroleum and dark fruit notes, silky and juicy black leather fruit with bitter cherry on the finish.

2016 Cortenesi “La Mannella” Brunello di Montalcino: Opaque dark brick with floral green herbs and black leather on the nose, silky dark fruit and red licorice ending with silky tannins with excellent balance.

2019 Argiano Rosso di Montalcino: Dark purple with dusty, crushed red fruit on the nose, dusty tannins, black licorice and bitter cherry on the finish.

2019 Talenti Rosso di Montalcino: Opaque dark red, dusty crushed black fruit, green herbs on the nose, juicy red leather fruit, bitter cherry with a silky finish.

2019 Cortenesi “La Mannella” Rosso di Montalcino: Dark purple in color, tar, damp earth and floral violets on the nose with juicy red leather fruit and black licorice notes on the finish.

2019 Patrizia Cencioni Rosso di Montalcino: Clear medium red with tar and dried herbs on the nose, tight with crisp acids, a little unbalanced.

I.E.E.M. Chianti Classico Collection

On May 20 & 21st the I.E.E.M. (International Event & Exhibition Management) held another of its series of tastings where they showcase a particular wine to wine professionals and look for importers/distributor for the wines. This time around it was the Chianti Classico Collection. They were wines from the Black Rooster (gallo nero) Chianti Classico DOCG in Tuscany.

There are seven subzones in the Chianti DOCG, Colli Arentini, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Pisane, Rufina, Montespertoli and Montalano. Classico was a subzone but became its own DOCG in 1996.

This was a live tasting but modified for current conditions. You sat at a table and via smartphone would order 4 wines from their 200+ bottle list on hand and a Sommelier would come over and pour the wines.

It was a vertical tasting of the 2015-2019 vintages and all of the three quality tiers were represented including Gran Selezione, Riserva and the basic Classico. The formula for Chianti has changed in recent years and they are no longer required to use a small percentage of white grapes and they can now use foreign varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

In general, of the five vintages I would say that the 2016’s were showing well with the strongest concentration of fruit from the vintages. The 2019’s were for the most part still young and unbalanced, these are some of my highlights.

2015 Cantina Castelvecchi “Madonnino della Pieve” Gran Selezione: Opaque dark red, pretty perfume of sweet violets, tar and dried sage, silky fruit with firm tannins on the medium to long finish.

2015 Castello di Radda “Vigna il Corno”Gran Selezione: Clear medium brick, closed nose of toasted nuts with red cherry fruit and gritty, mouth coating tannins at the end.

2015 Piemaggio “Le Fioraie”: Riserva: Clear light red, red licorice, mint and violets on the nose, earth notes on the bright fruit, firm finish.

2015 Castello di Raddo Riserva: Light brick, closed nose of cooked vegetables, juicy black licorice fruit ending with a firm and balanced long finish.

2015 Istine “Levigne” Riserva: Clear light red, closed nose of dried herbs, bright red fruit with slate and toast notes, ending with firm tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Contessa di Radda” Riserva: Opaque dark red with a purple rim with crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy with toasty notes on the fruit.

2016 Castello di Verrazzano Riserva: Clear dark brick in color, sweet violets and dried herbs on the nose, dusty earth on the fruit with firm tannins.

2016 Canoica a Cerreto Riserva: Clear medium red with dried leaf on the nose, tight with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Agricoltori del Chianti “Montegiachi” Riserva: Clear dark red, perfume of violets and roasted meat, concentrate dark fruit with slate notes, nice balance with dried herbs on the long finish.

2016 Castello di Radda Riserva: Clear medium red, tar, roasted nuts and camphor on the nose, juicy fruit with silky tannins, nice balance.

2017 Banfi Riserva: Opaque medium brick, pretty sweet nose, starts out with juicy fruit that drops at the end with black licorice notes.

2017 Brancaia Riserva: Clear medium red with roasted nuts on the nose, firm red fruit and a balanced finish.

2018 Badia & Coltibuono Classico: Clear light brick, pencil shavings and forest floor on the nose, delicate and light bodied.

2018 Pasolini dall’Onda “Sicelle” Classico: Clear medium red with toasted notes on the nose with silky fruit and a nice a nice balance.

2018 Castello di Radda Classico: Clear medium red, pretty nose of violets, tar, graphite with moderate to light fruit and light tannins at the end.

2019 Marchese Antinori “Peppoli” Classico: Clear light red with dried herbs on the nose, bright fruit.

2019 Felsina “Beradenga” Chianti Classico: Clear light red, bacon fat and roasted nuts on the nose, bright fruit with silky tannins.

2017 Y. Rousseau Single Vineyard Tannat

This wine is not something you see coming out of California very often, a wine from the Tannat grape varietal. The grape is native to the French Basque region in the southwest part of the country and grown in Gascony in the Madiran AOC.

It’s been grown in California for over a hundred year used primarily as a blending grape to beef up wines. It’s gotten a foot hold in Paso Robles but this version is grown in the tiny Clarksburg AVA which is West of Napa Valley and about an hours drive North of Lodi.

Yannick Rousseau, a French native born in Gascony is the owner/winemaker.

2017 Y. Rousseau Tannat, Clarksburg, California

A blend of 90% Tannat and 10% Syrah. Opaque dark purple to black with crushed blueberries, menthol and sage on the nose, juicy black fruit finishing with dark citrus notes, mouth coating tannins and moderate acidity.

McCall Winery

McCall Wines 22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

McCall began producing wine in 2007. A couple of unique things about this winery are that they have 11 acres of Pinot Noir planted which is one of the biggest Pinot Noir vineyards on the East coast and that in addition to growing grapes, they also are a cattle ranch raising grass-fed Charolais cattle, which is an historic breed from France.

The tasting room is in a rustic former potato barn not too far from the huge wine turbine they have on property.

2016 Chardonnay “Reserve”

Dark gold in color with an aromatic nose of tropical fruits, big bodied with honey, melon, pineapple and mouth filling glycerin on the finish with some nice acidity at the end. Starting to show its age but still very drinkable in an old school California full bodied style.

2016 Cabernet Franc

Clear medium brick in color with an amber rim, black cherry and sweet spice on the nose with tar, leather and black fruit ending with some tart notes on the finish.

Brisket King 2021

On April 21st I attended the 9th edition of Brisket King NYC. It was another food event presented by Jimmy Carbone and Food Karma Project which are responsible for many fun foodie events including Pig Island, Pozole & Mezcal and CiderFeast.

The event was held at Pig Beach, a BBQ restaurant located at 480 Union Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn with an outdoor patio overlooking the beautiful Gowanus canal.

This BBQ event focused not surprisingly, on Brisket which is one of the least tender cuts of beef. That means low and slow is the way to go.

All the pitmasters had their own proprietary spice rub that they used on their Brisket. A couple of interesting outliers were a “Jewish Style” brisket stew and a brisket sandwich made with donuts instead of bread. Surprisingly it worked well since the sweetness of the donuts paired well with the rich fattiness of the brisket.

On this chilly Spring afternoon, storm clouds looked like they might pour down rain on the outdoor event but the BBQ gods smiled down upon us and the event went on rain free with plenty of people enjoying food, drink and good company.

Participants

Avellino Family BBQCentral City BBQ
Blue SmokeChef Jesse Concepts
Carlitos TacosFriends of Firefighters
Juicy Lucy BBQHill Country BBQ
PulkiesSmokehouse Tailgate Grill

Beer & Cider

Bronx BreweryIndian Ladder Farms
Austin EastcidersRomily

Spirits

Knob CreakJim Beam
LaphroaigOld Overholt
Bowmore

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD Sonoma Coast

Decoy wines are part of the extensive Duckhorn Vineyards portfolio which includes the Paraduxx, Canvasback, Migration, Calera and Goldeneye brands.

This Pinot Noir was made with grapes from the Russian River Valley, Green Valley and Carneros AVA’s.

2018 Decoy Pinot Noir LTD

Clear, bright red in color, floral, tobacco and wood notes on the nose with bright red fruit, cherry, cola, some earth notes and firm acids on the finish. Nothing flawed about the wine but it’s a little one dimensional.