Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux NYC 2023

On Monday, January 23, I attended the annual world tour of the Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux.

The Union is a trade organization that represents the Grand Crus of 130 chateaux in Bordeaux. The tour brings them to Europe, Asia and North America and showcases the current released vintage of the wines, in this case the 2020 vintage.

The event was held at Cipriani restaurant at 110 East 42nd Street in Manhattan with a trade tasting in the afternoon and the consumer tasting in the evening.

This was an excellent tasting with an opportunity to sample many grand cru Bordeaux while getting an idea on how the vintage turned out.

The 2020 vintage generally got good reviews, from my point of view I had the impression that many of the wines exhibited characteristics of a cool weather vintage. I was getting a lot of tart red cherry fruit and bitter cherry notes on the finish. Some were a mouthful of tannins while others were more approachable but even the approachable ones will need a few more years in the bottle to round things out. Alcohol levels were manageable since I wasn’t getting a lot of heat on the finish for the most part.

2020 Vintage

Saint-Emillion

Chateau Canon: Opaque medium red with a purple rim, petroleum on the nose, silky fruit with firm tannins and bitter cherry on the finish.

Chateau Canon La Gaffieliere: Opaque dark red, tar and tobacco on the nose, concentrated red cherry fruit with firm tannins and bitter cherry on the finish.

Chateau Fourtet: Opaque dark red, tar and violets on the nose with dusty sweet black and black licorice ending with firm tannins.

Chateau La Gaffieliere: Clear medium red, toasty leather on the nose, dusty and silky red fruit with silky tannins, good balance.

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Clear medium red, perfume of tar, leather and cigar box, silky red fruit with balanced tannins and acid at the end.

Pomerol

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit and toast on the nose, dusty black fruit with mint notes, firm, silky tannins.

Chateau Clinet: Opaque dark red, brambly, black fruit and green stem on the nose, silky black fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau La Pointe: Clear medium red, candy apple nose, black fruit with firm but balanced finish.

Chateau Le Gay: Clear medium red with a brick rim, dusty nose, red cherry fruit with bitter cherry notes on the tart finish.

Listrac-Medoc

Chateau Fourcas Dupre: Clear medium red, toasted barnyard on the nose, silky red fruit with a firm, nice balance.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Citran: Clear medium red with a brick rim, toasty red cherry on the nose, dusty black fruit with toast notes on the finish, moderate tannins.

Margaux

Chateau Angludet: Opaque medium red, stinky, tar and damp earth on the nose, juicy fruit with a tarry balance. Accessible.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Opaque dark red, sweet perfume and green herbs on the nose, tight red cherry fruit, firm tannins.

Chateau Cantenac Brown: Opaque medium red, dust crushed black fruit on the nose, tart, bright red fruit ending with moderate to low tannins.

Chateau Kirwan: Opaque medium red, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy red fruit with firm, silky tannins.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Clear dark red, pretty perfume of earth, tar and violets with silky black fruit, bitter cherry on the finish, silky tannins.

Chateau Branaire Ducru: Clear medium red, perfume of crushed black fruit and damp earth with earthy black fruit and a dusty finish. Moderate tannins.

Chateau Leoville Poyfere: Opaque red fruit with a purple rim, smoky gravel on the nose, black fruit with dusty, firm tannins.

Chateau Talbot: Clear medium red, big perfume of toasty black fruit, toasty red fruit with big tannins at the end.

Pauillac

Chateau Clerc Milon: Clear medium red, red cherry on the nose, red cherry fruit with leather notes on the finish, moderate tannins and firm acidity.

Chateau Duhart Milon: Clear medium red, wet earth and tar on the nose, silky red fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Lynch Bages: Clear medium red, toasted tobacco on the nose, tart red cherry fruit with moderate tannins.

Saint-Estephe

Chateau Ormes de Pez: Clear medium red, damp earth and barnyard on the nose, tight and tannic.

Cabernet Franc on Long Island

Cabernet Franc is a vtis vinifera black grape that is an important part of the blend of Bordeaux wines. It’s also the primary grape of the Loire wines of Chinon and Bourgueil. The grape is the parent grape of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon and was brought into France from the Basque region of Spain.

Out at the east end of Long Island wine country because of the growing conditions there, at one time it was touted as the grape that would put the Long Island AVA on the map.

It never dethroned Merlot as the primary red grape of the region but since it was widely planted, most wineries bottle it on its own or uses the grape in whatever Bordeaux Blend red wine they produce.

One Sunday afternoon I took a drive out to the east end wine country for a visit and sampled a few Cabernet Franc.

One Women Winery

5195 Old North Road, Southold

The one woman is Claudia Purita, the owner and wine maker at this certified sustainable winery. All the wines are from estate grown fruit. The tasting “shack” can barely hold a handful of people (a new tasting room is under renovation) but on nice days there is a patio out front to sit at.

2017 Cabernet Franc

Opaque medium brick, white pepper and crushed red fruit on the nose with bright red cherry fruit and black pepper and gun metal notes on the firm finish with silky tannins.

Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room

165 Love Lane, Mattituck

The tasting room at the vineyard is for members only but the public is welcome to their satellite tasting room in Mattituck. It’s on Love Lane which is the shortest access between the two wine roads. A two block long business district with shops and a train station. There’s a nice deli across the street and next door to a cheese shop that serves fondue.

2020 Cabernet Franc

Clear medium red, sweet candy apple and some damp earth on the nose with silky, red leather fruit on the firm but balanced finish.

Clovis Point Winery

1935 Main Road, Jamesport

Named after the prehistoric projectile points found on the property, they have 10 acers under vine and the wines are estate grown.

2019 Cabernet Franc

Opaque black with a purple rim, big nose of toast and dark chocolate with bright black cherry and tobacco notes on the fruit ending with a good grip.

Wine Shop Wine Class

New York Vintners is a wine shop in lower Manhattan. For many years in addition to selling wine, they would host wine classes and wine dinners on a variety of wine topics.

The tastings were small, sit-down affairs and they were usually a lot of fun, unfortunately they stopped having those tastings a few years ago and the pandemic didn’t help matters.

They recently moved into a new shop at 63 Barclay Street right up the block from Eataly downtown and began hosting wine tastings and classes last December.

I signed up for the “Wines of the Southern Hemisphere” class on a Sunday afternoon in December. The new wine store is dark and chic and when I arrived for the class, I was given a glass of Prosecco (not southern hemisphere but close enough). It was an intimate event with me and two others and the in-house Sommelier presenting the wines. We were served five wines and some nice charcuterie.

The wines served in class:

2017 Klein Constantia Chardonnay (South Africa): Clear medium gold, ripe fruit and earth on the nose, ripe pear notes on the fruit, tight, oaky, dry.

2021 Fabre Montayou Torrontes (Argentina): Clear light gold, peach and spice on the nose, tight stone fruit ending dry and mouth watering.

2015 Casa Silva Carmeniere “Los Lingues Vineyard” (Chile): Opaque black with a purple rim, dusty, peppery, black licorice and tobacco on the nose, concentrated black fruit with oak, gun metal and dried leaf notes on the finish. Some heat.

2020 Fabre Montayou Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina): Dark black with a purple rim, closed nose of coconut, sage and black cherry, chewy and chunky with dusty black fruit and a crisp finish.

2019 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile): Opaque dark red with a purple rim, perfume of red bell pepper and floral red fruit, chewy with tobacco notes on the fruit, good grip at the end.

La Tablée NYC 2022

The La Tablée tasting was held in New York City on November 19 of last year and featured the wines of the Rhone Valley of France.

The term La Tablée denotes the meal celebrating the end of harvest, similar to Burgundy’s La Paulée and not surprisingly, the folks who ran this event also run the New York La Paulée event.

The Rhone is divided into the Northern Rhone and the Southern Rhone. In the north, Syrah is the primary grape used. Those wines are wines that California wine drinkers would love since they tend to be beefy wines with notes of roast meat and bacon on the nose.

In southern Rhone they are legally able to use up to thirteen varietals with Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Syrah doing the bulk of the work for the red wines. At this tasting I tried Chateauneuf du Pape that were 100% Grenache.

The tasting was held at City Winery located at 25 11th Avenue at Pier 57 overlooking the East River on the west side of Manhattan. With large picture windows overlooking the river, there was plenty of natural light in the room. The venue didn’t get overcrowded that afternoon but that was probably due to the price of the ticket than the perceived quality of the wines.

Many of the reds poured were from the 2019 vintage which received a very good score from the wine writers.

Some of the highlights:

Southern Rhone

2019 Domaine Giraud Chateauneuf du Pape “Tradition”: Clear light purple, red fruit with some earth on the nose, juicy and spicy with a nice balance.

2019 Domaine Roger Sabon Chateauneuf du Pape “Prestige”: Opaque dark purple, chalk and crusted stone on the nose with juicy black fruit and notes of green herbs, nice balance.

2019 Domaine de Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Clear medium red, crushed rocks on the nose, juicy, chunky dark chocolate fruit, good balance at the end.

2020 Domaine de la Janasse Chateauneuf du Pape “Chaupin”: Clear medium purple, toasted bread and crushed red fruit on the nose, silky, spice red fruit, great balance.

2019 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape “Cuvee Reservee”: Clear medium red, spicy tar on the nose, silky, tarry and spicy fruit ending with firm tannins.

2012 Domaine du Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape “Cuvee Laurence” ed jeroboam: Clear medium brick, pretty perfume of bacon and earth, silky, earth fruit, balanced with some bitter cherry on the long finish.

2019 Domaine de la Monardiere Vacqueyras “Vieilles Vignes: Opaque medium purple, ripe red fruit on the nose, chewy, silky, ending with firm tannins.

2019 Chateau de Beaucastel Gigondas “Clos des Tourelles”: Clear medium red, cigarette smoke on the nose, juicy red fruit, nice balance.

Northern Rhone

2019 E. Guigal Cote-Rotie “Brune et Blonde”: Clear medium red, gun metal and roast pork on the nose, sweet fruit of milk chocolate ending with a great balance.

2011 Jean Michel Gerin Cote-Rotie “Les Grand Places” en magnum: Cloudy medium red, sweet, minty nose, moderate fruit of leather, drops a bit but drinking nicely.

2019 Jean Michel Gerin Cote-Rotie “La Vialliere”: Clear medium purple, damp earth on the nose, tasty, silky black fruit, geat balance.

2019 Domaine Alain Graillot Crozes-Hermitage ‘La Guiraude”: Opaque medium red, smoky roast meat on the nose with tart, purple fruit.

2020 Cave Julien Cecillon Saint-Joseph “Babylone”: Opaque dark red, red leather on the nose, dark, earthy fruit, great balance.

2020 Cave Yves Cuilleron Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Clear medium purple, toasted notes on the nose with chewy leather notes on the fruit, nice balance.

Orange Glou Fair 2022

If the Raw Wine Festival showcased a niche in the world, a niche within the niche would be Raw Orange wines.

Everyone knows that the red in red wine comes from the pigments in the skin of the grape that gets extracted in the fermentation process. White wines are made from the pulp of the grape which means you can make a white wine with red grapes.

With orange wines, the skins of white grapes are fermented with the pulp and the result is a wine with an orange hue. I don’t know the science behind it but that’s what happens.

Orange Glou is a wine shop located at 264 Broome Street in lower Manhattan that focuses on Orange Wine. On November 6th they held the Orange Glou Fair, a tasting of over 50 orange wines from around the world. The event was held at Fig. 19, a cocktail bar at 131 Christie Street in lower Manhattan.

Unlike the Raw Wine Fest which was held in a cavernous event space with hundreds of wines, this was a bit more intimate. Wines from many countries were poured with a good many of them Natural wines. Austria made a strong showing. There was even an orange pet-nat from Long Island called Gratitude, that was poured.

Raw Wine Festival NYC 2022

On November 13th I attended the fall edition of the Raw Wine Festival. The festival, which was also held in London and Berlin as well as New York City, showcases wines from around the world made with few, if any additives.

Their mission statement is: “Raw Wine celebrates wines with emotion. Wines that have a humanlike or living presence. They are also wines that are an authentic expression of a place.”

The event was held at the Knockdown Center at 52-19 Flushing Avenue in Maspeth, Queens. It’s a music venue in an over 100-year-old brick building that was once a glass factory and a door factory.

This venue is huge, pretty much like a brick airplane hangar. It made for a experience different from the Spring edition of the festival when they hosted the event in Bushwick. That event was mobbed with most tables three deep to get to the pourer. This place was so huge overcrowding wasn’t an issue this time around.

Natural wines are a niche market that has grown tremendously in the last few years. At this event there were over 200 wines from all the major wine producing countries of the world and a few from outlier countries such as Georgia, Slovakia, Macedonia and Switzerland. The United States was represented with a handful of wineries from California, Washington, Oregon and New York with the largest showing of wines from France and Italy. All types of wine were poured with still, sparking, red, white, rose and pet-nats.

Venice Day & Night

After three enjoyable days touring the Valpolicella wine district, I had one more night left in Italy and since I was leaving from Marco Polo airport, I decided to spend my last night in Venice,

I’ve been to Venice several times before on day trips with my relatives from Chioggia, but I’ve never spent the night in the city until now, and it has been over fifteen years since I visited the city, so I was looking forward to spending the day in the city.

It was a beautiful October day, perfect for a walking around the city. What surprised was how crowded it was the first week of October. I’ll be sure not to visit during the summer months.

When I got off the main roads and wandered in the back alleys, the crowds thinned out somewhat. At night instead of sitting around a restaurant, I had my evening meal by going on a wine crawl. I would walk until I saw an interesting bar, usually with people hanging around outside drinking and socializing and stop in for a glass of wine and a cicchetti and then move on to the next bar. This way I had a meal and did a bit of sightseeing at the same time.

What can you say about Venice? It’s one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. Every bridge you walk over is a picture postcard, every alley you walk down is history.

Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience 2022

The 41st annual New York Wine Experience was held on October 20-22. The Experience was sponsored by the Wine Spectator, an influential magazine which covers all aspects of the wine world. A good score on its 100-point scoring system is highly converted.

The three-day event was a chance to meet the influential winemakers, owners and chefs and to sample their wines and eat their food at seminars and at the chefs’ challenge. They also unveil their top 10 wines of the year.

On Thursday and Friday, they hosted the Critic’s Choice Grand Tasting. It was two days with two floors of wines rated 90+ points by the Wine Spectator from over 250 wineries/chateaus. The Grand Tastings were sponsored by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

One thing that was missing this year was the Awards dinner which was held on the last night in which they presented the wine of the year awards followed by a performance from some recognizable band or singer.

I was able to make it on Friday night. As per usual with the sheer volume of wines available, I planned to focus on Bordeaux and California reds. which I did and after four hours I still didn’t get to all of the Bordeaux and Napa Cabs.

Looking back and looking through the tasting book, there were so many good wines I never had the chance to sample but would have liked to, but I still did sample some of the top-notch wines of the world.

California Reds

2002 Ridge Vineyards Red Blend “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mtns): Always a favorite, opaque dark red to medium brick, beautiful perfume of wood chips, chewy and dusty with dried leaf notes on the finish, great balance

2007 Lokoya Cabernet Sauvignon “Spring Mtn District” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, purple rim, citrusy nose, concentrated black fruit with a firm finish.

2012 Shafer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Hillside Select” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, crushed black fruit and cooked fruit notes on the nose, dense dark chocolate fruit, tight silky tannins and along finish.

2013 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon “Three Vineyard Blend” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red with a purple rim, crushed cooked black fruit on the nose, chunky cherry dark chocolate fruit with silky tannins.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, crushed black fruit on the nose, dense fruit with some toast notes.

2015 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Fay” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, purple rim, pickle juice notes on the nose, dense and chewy with dark chocolate and dusty brick notes on the fruit, nice balance.

2016 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Opaque, purple rim, perfume of crushed red fruit, mint and warm spices, tight red fruit with crisp acids at the end.

2017 Bond “Vecina” (Napa Valley): Black in color with a purple rim, warm crushed plums and cooked vegetable on the nose, chewy, juicy black fruit with a mouthful of tannins.

2018 Accendo Cellars (Napa Valley): Opaque black, earth and crushed black fruit on the nose, dense and chewy with mint notes on the balanced finish.

2018 Adobe Road Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Opaque black with a purple rim, ripe red fruit and warm cooked berries on the nose, chewy dark chocolate and coffeee fruit ending with silky tannins.

2018 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “The Reserve” To Kalon Vineyard (Napa Valley); Opaque black, purple rim, sage and dried herbs on the nose with concentrated red fruit.

2018 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Heritage Clone” To Kalon Vineyard (Napa Valley): Opaque black, purple rim, dark chocolate on the nose, dense, chewy red fruit ending with crips acids and firm tannins.

2018 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Private Reserve” (Napa Valley): Opaque black with a purple rim, crispy bacon on the nose, silky dark fruit ending tight and firm with a long finish.

2018 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot “Three Palms Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red with a purple rim, roasted meat on the nose, chewy red fruit with a juicy finish and a good balance.

2018 Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot No. 1” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, purple rim, crushed red fruit and green herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with a crisp finish.

2018 Pahlmeyer Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley): Black in color, violets and roast meat on the nose with dense and juicy black fruit.

2019 Ovid Red Blend (Napa Valley): Opaque black, spice notes on the nose, dense, chewy red fruit with a juicy finish.

2019 To Kalon Vineyard Co. Cabernet Sauvignon “Highest Beauty” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, crushed red fruit, cinnamon and spice on the nose, thick and dense with silky tannins.

2019 Continuum Estate “Sage Mtn. Vineyard” (Napa Valley): Opaque black with a purple rim, chocolate and crushed green berries on the nose, dense and syrupy chewy dark chocolate fruit, good balance.

Bordeaux

2010 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Opaque dark red, closed nose of crushed dark fruit and mint, silky red fruit with great structure.

2010 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan): Opaque dark red, nose of sweet smoke, violets and crushed red fruit, silky red cherry fruit with crisp acidity.

2010 Chateau Pichon Longueville (Pauillac): Opaque medium red with a brick rim, toasty red fruit on the nose, tight and balanced.

2011 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac): Clear medium red with a brick rim, forest floor on the nose, tight red fruit with a bit hit of tannin at the end.

2011 Chateau Margaux (Margaux): Dark brick in color, beautiful perfume of spicy violets, tight and silky with fine tannins, nice finish.

2015 Chateau Cheval Blanc (St Emilion): Clear medium brick, crushed rocks and rosemary on the nose toasty dark fruit with dried herb notes.

2015 Chateau d’Armailhac (Pauillac): Opaque dark red with a purple rim, spicy cooked fruit on the nose, tight red fruit with a firm finish.

2016 Chateau Montrose (St Estephe): Opaque medium red, roasted meat on the nose, tight red fruit with a firm finish.

2018 Chateau Leoville Poyferre (St Julien): Opaque black, toasty tree bark on the nose, chewy and juicy with mint notes, firm tannins at the ends. Getting some heat.

2018 Chateau Pichon Baron (Pauillac): Black with a purple rim, roasted meat on the nose, silky red fruit with dusty tannins with firm and long finish.

Others

2012 Bodegas Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero): Opaque dark red with a brick rim, perfume of toasted oak and roast meat on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice long finish.

2015 Gaja Barberesco “Sori Tildin” (Piedmont): Clear medium brick, sweet tar on the nose, dusty fruit with gritty tannins and a long finish.

Valpolicella Wine Crawl

After my stay in Chioggia, I drove east to spend a few days in the Valpolicella wine district. Valpolicella is part of the Veneto region of Italy and is about an hour’s drive east of Venice and directly north of the city of Verona. It’s a large area with Soave on the eastern border and Lake Gardo on the western one.

It’s a DOC with the sub districts of Valpantena and Classico. Valpolicella is a blended wine made with Corvina, Corvanone, Rondenella and Molinara with Corvina and Corvanone making up the bulk of the blend.

The most famous wine coming out of that area would be Amarone. It’s a Valpolicella made in the Passito method in which the grapes are laid out on mats to dry prior to fermentation which concentrates the sugars and flavors.

Amarone is at the top of the pyramid but the progression of wine styles goes like this. Wines designated as Classico are newly bottle wines with minimal aging. The are light in color, young and fresh and can be served with a slight chill on them. Next would be the Superiore which get a bump up in alcohol and some more aging. Next on the progression are the Ripasso wines. These wines are made through a second fermentation of the must used in the Passito of the Amarone wines. This adds body and color to the wines. The Amarone range from the basic Classico wines to various single vineyard bottlings.

My hotel was a 17th century villa converted to a B & B in the Classico region. Rolling hills dotted with Medieval towns. Thank God for Google Maps.

Cantina Spada Via Villa Giradi 26, San Pietro in Cariano

This was the first winery I visited shortly after checking in to my hotel and was a recommendation from the front desk. A family run operation in the heart of Valpolicella.

2021 Classico: Clear medium brick, roasted meat and toasted nuts on the nose, medium fruit with an bitter almond finish.

2018 Superiore: Opaque dark brick, roast meat and dark leather on the nose, dusty, almost sweet fruit, Asian spices and nicely balance with bitter almonds.

2019 Ripasso: Opaque dark brick, roasted meat on the nose, juicy, dark plums with some tart notes on the end.

2017 Amarone: Opaque medium brick, sweet perfume of leather, silky red licorice fruit, dark chocolate and bitter cherry on the finish. Some heat at the end.

Tomassi Family Estates Via Ronchetto 4, Pedemonte

Pretty much a well know label back in the US, they’ve been making wine since 1902. They let me take a self-guided tour of the very impressive wine cellar.

2019 Ripasso: Clear medium brick, big notes of mint on the nose, silky plums and red fruit, ark chocolate, chalk notes and some toast on the finish as well as some heat.

2018 Amarone: Clear medium red, sweet toast on the nose, bitter red cherry fruit and feeling the heat at the finish.

2013 Amarone Riserva “Ca Florian”: Opaque dark red, sweet perfume of violets, milk chocolate and mint, concentrated, thick with mint and black licorice fruit with dark chocolate and chalk notes on the finish.

Speri Viticoltori Via Fontana 14, San Pietro in Cariano

Another family run operation on its seventh generation.

2021 Classico: Clear light purple, crushed red fruit and earth on the nose, medium to light bodied juicy red fruit with moderate acids on the spicy finish.

2019 Superiore :St, Urban”: Opaque dark red, spicy cinnamon on the nose, tight red fruit ending with firm acids.

2020 Ripasso: Opaque medium red, closed nose of tree bark and spicy earth, spicy cherry fruit with crisp acids on the long finish.

20017 Amarone Classico “St. Urban”: Medium dark red, closed nose of dried herbs and chocolate, silky, concentrated fruit with bitter chocolate on the long finish. Nicely balanced.

Agricola Tedeschi Via Verdi 4/A, San Pietro in Cariano

Definitely not the new kid on the block, making wine since 1630. They graciously opened the tasting room for me and poured an extensive selection of their excellent wines.

2019 Superiore “Maternigo”: Light brick, red licorice and earth on the nose with silky red fruit and ending with spicy notes.

2019 Superiore Classico “La Fabriseria”: Opaque medium red, pretty perfume of spicy cigar box, silky red fruit with a bitter chocolate finish with crisp acids.

2019 Ripasso “Capitel San Rocco”: Clear medium red with a brick rim, barnyard and spicy potpourri on the nose, silky red licorice fruit with leather notes on the well-balanced finish.

2019 Amarone “Marne 180”: Opaque dark red, dark chocolate and chalk on the nose, chewy and firm red fruit with a long finish.

2016 Amarone Classico Riserva “Monte Olmi”: Opaque dark red with a brick rim, tar, black leather and sandlewood on the nose, concentrated black fruit, silky and elegant and nicely balanced.

Agricola Nicolis Via Villa Girardi 29, San Pietro in Cariano

And yet another family run operation.

2020 Classico: Medium purple, crushed red fruit and mint on the nose, dusty fruit with a bitter almond finish.

2019 Ripasso “Seccal”: Clear medium red, crushed rocks and red leather on the nose, dusty red fruit ending with mouth coating tannins.

2016 Amarone Classico: Opaque dark red, ripe, sweet, port like nose, ripe fruit with teeth coating tannins, dry finish.

2013 Amarone “Ambrosan”: Opaque dark red with a brick rim, toast and green wood on the nose, silky red fruit followed by mouth coating tannins.

Brunelli Winery Via Cariano 10, San Pietro in Cariano

Winery in the heart of the Classico subregion, their wine cellar has been around since 1700.

2018 Ripasso: Light brick, tar and leather on the nose, silky, dusty dark fruit, nicely balanced.

2018 Campo del Maestro: A blend of nine grapes, medium brick, sweet red fruit and black pepper on the nose, silky red fruit with roast meat and mushrooms notes, good grip and a long finish.

2019 Amarone Classico: Clear light red, sweet strawberry jam and smoke on the nose, tight, silky red fruit.

2017 Amarone Riserva “Campo Inferi”: Opaque brick, perfume of black cherry and black licorice, silky ripe fruit but not overly ripe, with red licorice notes on the finish.

Zyme Winery Via Ca’ del Pipa 1, San Pietro in Cariano

This is the outlier winey in the area, from the name which means “yeast” in Greek, to the circular elevator in the tasting room and the wines.

2018 Superiore: Opaque light brick, dried herbs on the nose, juicy red fruit with a nice balance.

2019 “Kairos”: A red blend made with 15! grape varietals. Clear medium red, juicy black licorice on the nose, juicy and chewy black fruit with some green notes on the finish.

2017 Amarone Classico: Clear medium brick, big toasty notes on the nose, juicy black leather fruit with a nice grip and balanced.

Ca La Bionda Via Bionda 4, Marano di Valpolicella

Very low key winery that was recommended to me by another winery, a drive up into the hills where the hospitable gentleman (owner?) sat down and gave me a private tasting.

2021 Classico: Clear light red, young red juicy fruit, a fresh wine with a nice grip.

2019 Superiore “Casalvegri”: Medium red with a pretty perfume of tar and leather, silky red fruit with a long and balanced finish.

2019 Ripasso “Malavoglia”: Clear medium to light red, black licorice and dried herbs on the nose, silky, medium red fruit with a great balance. Tasty wine.

2016 Amarone Classico: Opaque medium red, crush spicy red fruit on the nose, juicy, chocolate fruit with nice acidity at the end.

Oysters & Pizza

The New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF) was held on October 13-16. Now in its fifteenth year, it’s a four-day festival of wine and spirit tastings, parties, dinners and culinary demonstrations to raise money for God’s We Deliver charity.

On Saturday afternoon, I attended the Ultimate Pizza Party. This event was held at Forino restaurant located at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn.

The Pizza Party had several local pizza restaurants and Pizzaioli baking their signature versions of pizza. Cocktails were served on the rooftop level which had an outstanding view of lower Manhattan.

Some of the pizzerias at the event;

Forcella La Pizza di NapoliDi Fara Pizza
MotorinoRosie Pizza Bar
SweetbriarSpeedy Romeo
UplandMacoletta
Table 87

On Sunday afternoon, I attended Oysterbash. This event was held at the Biergarden at The Standard hotel in the Meatpacking district of lower Manhattan.

It was a walk-around event with a copious selection of raw, baked and fried oysters from local restaurants and seafood purveyors. Of course, wine, beer and cocktails were served to accompany all those oysters.

Restaurants and purveyors:

Cape May SaltsBarnegat Oyster Collective
Laughing Gull Oyster FarmChapin Sea Farms
Duxbury Oyster FarmsThe Standard
Flex MusselsEl Fish Shack
Ama Raw BarMollusca
Fish CheeksLure Fish Bar