La Paulée de New York 2023

La Paulée is a centuries old tradition of the end of harvest feast for the vintners and workers. The modern version began in 1923 when the Mayor of Meursault in Burgundy invited friends from the nearby domains to his winery for the celebration.

This tradition was brought to the new world in 2000 when the Daniel Johnnes, the sommelier of Montrachet restaurant at the time, created the modern-day version in New York City.

It began as a one-day event and is now a week-long event this year from February 24 to March 4. It’s a series of wine tastings and wine dinners culminating with the Grand Tasting on Saturday March 4.

I attended the Grand Tasting on Saturday where over 100 white and red Burgundy were poured from the 2020 vintage which is the latest vintage to be released.

The event was held at the Chelsea Piers sports complex in Pier 60 restaurant overlooking the Hudson River on the west side on Manhattan.

No one would call this vintage “opulent” by any means. I thought that the reds had some nice red fruit but, not surprisingly, very hard edged at this stage. I would love to taste them a few years down the road after they have had a chance to settle down.

The whites on the other hand, for the most part I was getting very pretty aromas but with very light fruit and good acidity. I suppose light and delicate would be a good way to explain them.

In any case it was an enjoyable afternoon drinking some of the best wines in the world.

2020 Vintage

Caroline Morey Chassagne Montrachet “Chambrees”: Light gold, big nose of tropical fruit with tropical fruit notes on the light finish. 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, toast and honey on the nose, mouth filling moderate fruit, nice balance. 

William Fevre Chablis Grand Cru “Les Clos”: Light yellow, floral nose, moderate fruit with crisp acidity, good balance. 

Bouchard Pere & Fils Beaune 1er Cru “Clos de la Mousse ” monopole: Clear light brick, soft leather on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins, long finish.  

David Duband Echezeaux Grand Cru: Clear medium purple, roasted vegetables on the nose, gritty and chalky black fruit ending with firm tannins.

Domaine Arnaud Mortet Charmes Chambertin Grand Cru: Clear medium purple, sweet, dusty spice on the nose, silky dark fruit ending with silky tannins. great balance.

Domaine des Lambrays Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru: Clear medium brick, leather and tobacco on the nose, silky dark fruit with a long, balanced finish. 

Domaine Duroche Gevrey Chambertin: Clear medium purple, sweet spices on the nose, silky red fruit and a great balance. 

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 1er Cru “Santenots”: Clear medium red, forest floor on the nose, dense black fruit ending with big tannins on the long finish. 

Domaine Chevillon Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru “Les Roncieres”: Clear medium purple, crushed black cherry and spice on the nose, juicy black fruit with firm tannins.

Domaine Henri Gouges Nuits St. George 1er Cru “Les Saint Georges”: Opaque dark red, dark leather and mint on the nose, cherry dark fruit with gritty tannins and a nice mouth feel. 

Domaine Derey Freres Marsannay “Les Genelieres”: Clear medium purple, crushed red fruit on the nose, silky red fruit ending tight and tannic. 

Domaine Didier Fornerol Cote de Nuits Villages Rouge: Clear light purple, earth and wood on the nose, juicy with tight and silky tannins.

Domaine Didier Fornerol Cote de Nuits Village Rouge “La Rue des Foins”: Opaque medium purple, black leather on the nose, silky black fruit ending with silky tannins, great balance. 

Domaine Michel Lafarge Volnay: Clear medium purple, nice perfume of tar, violets and tobacco with red fruit ending with firm tannins. 

Domaine Hudelot Noellat Vosne Romanee 1er Cru “Les Suchots”: Clear dark purple, crushed red fruit and damp earth on the nose with tight, dark fruit and gritty tannins. 

Domaine Meo Camuzet Nuit St. Georges 1er Cru “Aux Boudots”: Clear medium purple, roast meat on the nose, tight red fruit with crisp acids. 

Caroline Morey Chassagne Montrachet Rouge: Clear light purple, roast meat on the nose, silky fruit, tight tannins. 

Joseph Drouhin Beaune 1er Cru “Clos des Mouches”: Clear light purple, cherry and earth on the nose, juicy red fruit with leather notes, moderate tannins and acid. 

Wine & Spirits Top 100 2023

On February 15th, I attended the 3rd annual Wine & Spirits magazine’s Top 100 wine event.

Wine & Spirits magazine was founded in 1982 and focuses on, not surprisingly, the personalities, geography and news of the wine and spirits industry. They also evaluate and rate wines and spirits.

This was a tasting of what they considered the top 100 wines of the world for this year. It was also a benefit for the NY/NJ Baykeeper, an organization which bills itself as an advocate for the NY/NJ harbor estuary.

The event was held at the perennial event venue, the Metropolitan Pavillion located at 123 West 18 Street in Manhattan and was open to both Trade and Consumer.

They had a good sampling of sparkling, rosé, white, red and dessert wines of the world and I particularly enjoyed the California Cabernets. Whoever was responsible for the food at the event did a good job this time around, there was some very tasty nibbles to go with all that good wine.

Some of my highlights:


2020 Fess Parker Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard: Light gold with toasty notes, nice balance.

2021 Tablas Creek Cotes de Tablas Blanc: Medium gold, ripe flowers and lime on the nose with pineapple and lime notes on the crisp finish.

2019 Zind-Humbrecht St. Urbain Pinot Gris: Medium gold with a closed nose of green herbs, nice floral finish with a good balance.


2019 Corison St Helena Cabernet Sauvignon “Sunbasket Vineyard”: Clear medium purple, closed nose, juicy, silky fruit ending with firm, silky tannins.

2016 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt: Clear medium brick, dried leaf on the nose, juicy black fruit with mint notes, firm black cherry finish.

2018 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace”: Opaque dark red, black licorice and forest floor on the nose, silky red fruit with dark chocolate notes, great balance.

2018 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Gravelly Meadow”: Opaque dark red, perfume of black licorice and forest floor, concentrated with dark chocolate, slate and cherry notes ending with a silky grip.

2015 Jordan Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Nice to try a Cab with some bottle aging, clear medium red, violets on the nose, silky and balanced.

2018 Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Bello”: Clear medium red, black licorice on the nose with silky and dusty fruit ending with a balanced finish.

2019 Sullivan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Founders Reserve”: Opaque dark red, roasted nuts on the nose, thick with dark chocolate and black fruit notes, moderate tannins and acidity, drinking nicely.

2019 Delas Freres Cote Rotie “La Landonne”: Opaque dark red, roast meat on the nose, concentrated dark fruit with ripe, silky tannins.

2018 Fratelli Alessandria Barolo “Gramolere”: Clear light brick, closed nose of tar, dusty and tight.

2019 Ornellaia Bolgheri Superiore: Clear medium brick, leather and mint notes on the nose, dusty fruit with silky tannins, nice balance.

2019 Petrolo Barolo Val d’Arno di Sopra Boggina Riserva: Clear light brick, tree bark on the nose, silky, earthy fruit with firm, silky tannins.

2017 Produttori del Barberesco “Rabaja”: Clear light brick, closed nose of anise, silky and tight

2016 Sandrone Barolo “Vite Talin”: Clear light brick, dark chocolate and dirt on the nose, tight rasperry fruit ending with big tannins.

2017 Vega Sicilia Tinto Valbuena 5: Clear medium red, leather notes on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

Chianti Classico Book Seminar

On February 6, I attended a talk given by Alessandro Masnaghetti who wrote a newly published book on Chianti Classico.

The lecture was held at the offices of Baneville Wine Merchants located at 126 East 38th Street in midtown Manhattan.

It’s a big book with a lot of detail for that district of Chianti. I did learn what a UGA (Unita Geografiche Aggiuntive) is which are officially delimited subzones within a Chianti subzone.

As part of the lecture, we tasted five Chianti from five of those UGA subzones. They were from the 2020 vintage and were drinking nicely.

2020 Cigliano Di Sopra (San Casciano): Clear medium purple, dusty tar. graphite and earth on the nose, concentrated dusty bright red fruit with crushed rock notes on the finish.

2020 I Fabbri “La Mole” (Lamole): Clear medium brick, dusty nose of green stems and rocks, juicy red fruit and black licorice ending with a mouthful of tannins.

2020 Fattoria Le Masse (San Donato in Poggio): Clear medium red, big perfume of sweet crushed red fruit and some earth, concentrated silky black fruit with dusty leather notes on the long and balanced finish. My favorite of the flight.

2020 Tolaini “Mello” (Gaiole): Clear red with a perfume of violets and roast meat, tight red fruit with firm tannins and a long finish.

2020 Tolaini “Vallenuova” (Castelnuova Beradenga): Opaque dark red, perfume of tar, red leather and sweet fruit with dusty, silky red fruit with a good grip and a nice balance. Another favorite of the tasting.

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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.