Scarsdale Music Festival 2022

On June 6th, I attended the Scarsdale Music Festival located, not surprisingly, in the village of Scarsdale, New York which is a suburban town about a forty-minute train ride North of Manhattan. As you step out of the train station you are in the scenic village center where the festival was held. The festival was held to raise money for Feeding Westchester.

There were several food trucks scattered around the town center and a stage where a rotating selection of live music played throughout the afternoon.

The purpose of my visit was to experience the Grand Tasting Tent which was sponsored by local fine wine shop Zachys (now moved to Port Chester). I attended the last time the festival was held pre pandemic and I found that for a consumer event, the wine tent poured a nice selection of wines, and they did not disappoint this year. It made for an enjoyable sunny afternoon of wine drinking.

Some of what I sampled:

NV Bollinger Special Cuvee

2008 Charles Heidsieck Rare Millesieme

2011 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne

2020 Patrick Piuze Chablis

2009 Vina Tondonia Rioja Reserva

2015 Franco Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino

2016 Castello dei Rampolla d’Alceo

2016 Piancornello Brunello di Montalcino

2017 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino

2018 Heights Justice Vineyards Pinot Noir

2018 St.-Estephe de Calon Segur

2018 Ricasoli Colledila Chianti Classico Gran Sellezione

2018 Castello dei Rampolla Chianti Classico

2018 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru

2018 Montinore Estate Pinot Noir

2019 Ridge Vineyards Three Valleys

2019 Joseph Drouhin Cote de Beaune

2019 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertain

2019 Volpaia Chianti Classico

2019 Ornellaia

2019 Sassicaia

2020 Le Volte dell Ornellaia

Great Wines Of The World : New York 2022

James Suckling is a well-known wine critic with a wine blog that covers all things wine as including rating them on a 100-point scale. He hosts an annual Grand Tasting at someplace in the world and on June 2 & 3 the Grand Tasting was held in New York City for the first time.

Over 150 wines from around the world were poured, all curated by Mr. Suckling for wines that received 92+ points on his rating scale.

The tastings were held at the Altman Building event space at 135 West 18th Street in Manhattan.

The tasting was open to both the consumer and to members of the trade with a portion of the ticket price going to Sea Shepard, an organization involved with marine conservation.

The event did not disappoint, there were copious amounts of excellent wine from around the word, I focused on wines from the U.S. but was able to sample many nice wines from other countries as well.

Some of what I sampled:

2019 Bergstom Chardonnay “Bergstrom Vineyard” (Dundee Hills): Light gold, toasty nose with toasty fruit with green herbs on the finish.

2015 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Trailside” (Napa Valley): Dark brick in color, perfume of smoke and tree bark, silky red cherry fruit ending with bright tannins.

2016 Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot C-91” (Napa Valley): Clear medium red, earth and mint on the nose with tight, bright red fruit.

2016 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black, dried herbs on the nose, juicy and thick ending with silky red tannins.

2016 Silverado Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “SOLO” (Stags Leap District): Opaque medium red, black olives on the nose, tight, silky red fruit with a good grip.

2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Rutherford): Opaque dark red, sage, mint and crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight and dense with a nice grip at the end.

2018 Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Georges De Latour” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red to black in color, closed nose of spice and green herbs, dusty, silky red fruit ending with firm tannins.

2018 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red (Napa Valley): Opaque black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy with silky, firm tannins.

2018 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville Ranch” (Napa Valley): Opaque black, dark chocolate and black olives on the nose, chewy, juicy with silky tannins, nice grip and balance.

2018 Futo “OV” Red Blend (Oakville): Opaque dark red, roasted notes on the nose, chewy fruit with a nice balance.

2019 DAOU Vineyards Red Blend “Soul of a Lion” (Paso Robles): Opaque black, stinky red fruit and tree bark on the nose, chewy dark chocolate fruit with a nice grip and balance.

2019 DAOU Vineyards Red Blend “Mayote” (Paso Robles): Black in color with a purple rim, closed nose with some toast notes, chewy fruit followed with a mouthful of tannin.

2019 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville): Clear medium red, roast coffee on the nose, tight with coffee notes on the firm finish.

2019 Amici Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley): Opaque dark black, big nose of roast meat, tight, dense, lip-smacking fruit, long finish.

2019 L’Aventure “Estate Cuvee” (Paso Robles): Opaque dark red to black, red fruit and roast meat on the nose, dusty, chewy fruit ending with tight tannins.

2019 Louis Latour Corton Charlamagne Grand Cru: Light gold, tropical fruit on the nose, subtle, peachy notes on the fruit and nicely balance.

2011 Bertani Amarone (Veneto): Light brick in color, caramel dark chocolate on the nose, medium dark chocolate on the fruit with a nice balance.

2014 Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile): Opaque dark red with a brick rim, chalk, bacon fat on the nose, chewy, milk chocolate on the fruit, nice balance, long finish.

2014 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva (Rioja): Opaque dark red to black, spicy bacon fat on the nose, chewy and silky with good balance and a long finish.

2016 Phelan-Segur (St Estephe): Clear medium red, crushed black fruit and camphor on the nose, tight, dusty red fruit with a firm finish.

2019 Chateau Beychevelle (St Julien): Opaque dark red to black, black olives, tree bark on the nose, dense, silky fruit with a nice balance, still young at this stage.

Belmont Park Tasting

There are many venues where the professional and consumer wine tastings are held. Some are small, intimate tastings in an office or in a restaurant, some in much bigger venues with a much larger selection of product. But I have to say that one of the most exotic venues I’ve attended for a tasting is at a racetrack.

On May 21st I attended the Belmont Uncorked wine tasting at Belmont Park racetrack which is located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, just across the Queens border in Nassau County.

Belmont Park was built in 1905, during the heyday of horseracing it was one of many racetracks in New York which included Meadowlands Raceway, Aqueduct Raceway, Yonkers Raceway and Roosevelt Raceway. All of those have stopped hosting racing and Belmont Park is the last holdout. It’s an old school facility with a lot of parkland which on the Saturday afternoon of the wine tasting was full of people having picknicks or just wandering around enjoying the sunshine (and betting on the horses too).

There are professional tastings and there are tastings open to the consumers. With the consumer tastings, some are aimed at the wine geeks while other tastings are geared to the novice drinker, those for the novice drinkers are more of a wine party than a wine tasting.

Going to these events I don’t have an expectation that there will be much upper tier, or trophy wines poured. I have to admit the last time I went to this event I was disappointed, it’s not so much that the wines came from unknown producers but that the wines were terrible. This time around I’m happy to say the quality improved. Other than Kendall Jackson and Duckwalk Vineyards, the wines were still from unknown labels but at least they were drinkable on this nice Spring afternoon.

Bowler Spring Tasting

Another stop on the Spring tour of importers/distributors portfolio trade tastings, on April 4th I had attended the Spring portfolio tasting for Bowler Imports.

There are many distributors in the New York City area to choose from, some are small ones that focus on niche products while the larger ones carry a wide range of worldwide wines and spirits. Bowler is one of the larger companies, its tasting book is thick.

The tasting was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion event space at 125 West 18th Street in Manhattan which has been the go-to event space for many tastings this year.

I didn’t do a pre review of their tasting book so I didn’t have an agenda when I arrived at the tasting, I walked around and sampled what I thought was interesting.

Some of what I tried:

2011 Salicutti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva “Piaggione” (Piedmont): Clear light brick, perfume of tar and herbs, silky red fruit, earth notes on the light body, nicely balance.

2012 Vega Sicilia “Unico”: (Ribera del Duero): Opaque dark red, crushed rocks on the nose, dense red fruit, silky tannins, dark chocolate on the finish.

2017 Mount Eden Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Cruz Mtns): Clear medium red, smoky bell pepper on the nose, chewy, smoky red fruit with silky tannins.

2017 Gramercy Cellars “Langniappe” Red Willow Vineyard (Walla Walla): Opaque dark purple, crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy crushed rocks on the fruit ending with dusty tannins.

2017 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley): Clear medium brick, perfume of red licorice, juicy with herb notes on the long finish.

2017 Andrew Will “Red Blend” Two Blonds Vineyard (Yakima Valley): Opaque dark red with an amber rim, sweet tar and crushed black fruit on the nose, silky fruit with a good grip.

2017 Vega Sicilia “Valbuena” (Ribera del Duero): Opaque dark red, toasty petroleum, crushed rock and dark chocolate on the nose, silky dark fruit and dark chocolate on the fruit, great balance with a bitter chocolate finish.

2017 Hamacher Wines Pinot Noir “H” (Oregon): Clear light brick, closed nose of rose petals, silky red fruit with cola notes on the finish.

2018 Nicolas Jay “Bishops Creek” (Oregon): Clear light brick, earth and dried herbs on the nose, juicy, chewy black licorice fruit, firm tannins.

2019 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon “Clos Boissee”: Opaque dark purple, crushed rocks on the nose, dense red fruit, juicy, firm tannins.

2019 White Rock Vineyards “Claret” Estate (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red. plummy green herbs on the nose, tight and dense with coffee notes, firm finish.

2019 Clos Saron “Cuvee Mysterieuse” (Sierra Foothills): Clear dark purple, crushed green herb and camphor on the nose, dense purple fruit, green herbs on the finish.

Barell Tasting Of 2020 Burgundy

On April 5th I was invited to attend a barrel tasting of 2020 Burgundy. Specifically, the 2020 Burgundy in the portfolio of Fredrick Wildman & Sons distributor.

The tasting was for members of the trade and was a great opportunity to get some sort of idea how the 2020 vintage turned out as well as the opportunity to sample some of the finest wines in the world.

The whites are already bottled while the reds were just out of the barrel. My impression of the vintage was that the whites were drinking beautifully now, just enough fruit with balanced acidity. The reds were fruit forward, some were drinking nicely right out of the barrel, but lacked the structure for long term aging. The reds are definitely wines to be enjoyed sooner than later.

The tasting was held at Quality Bistro restaurant at 120 West 55th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

White

2020 Chateau Fuisse Pouilly Fuiseé “Tete de Cuvee”: Medium gold, closed nose of honey, medium fruit with a nice balance.

2020 Famille Vincent Bourgogne Blanc: Light gold, floral nose, medium body with tropical fruit notes, nice balance.

2019 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay Blanc “Source des Roches”: Light gold, green herbs on the nose, juicy, melon notes, good grip.

2020 Domaine Faiveley 1er Cru Puligny Montrachet “Champs Gains”: Medium gold, honey and tropical fruit on the nose, medium fruit with melon notes and honey with lemon curd notes on the finish

.

Red

2020 Domaine Jean-Luc Burguet Bourgogne Rouge: Clear light purple, green herbs on the nose, chewy young fruit with a nice grip.

2019 Domaine Bruno Clair Marsannay “Les Grasses Tetes”: Clear medium purple, green herbs and crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy, smoky, silky red tannins, long finish.

2020 Domaine Humbert Freres Fixin Vieilles Vignes: Clear medium purple, cigar box on the nose, chewy, silky red fruit, nice grip.

2020 Domaine Humbert Freres Gevrey Chambertin: Clear light purple, tobacco smoke on the nose, silky, dusty red fruit and balanced. Nice wine.

2020 Domaine Meo Camuzet Nuits St George: Opaque medium purple, crushed blueberry and tree bark on the nose, chunky black fruit with slate notes, nice acidity.

2020 Domaine Meo Camuzet Vosne Romanee 1er Cru “Les Chaumes”: Opaque dark purple, roast meat notes on the nose, silky red fruit, slate notes, good grip.

2020 Domaine Virgile Lignier-Michelot Morey St Denis 1er Cru “Faconnieres”: Opaque dark purple, green herbs on the nose, chewy with tobacco and slate notes on the fruit, firm, silky tannins.

2020 Domaine Virgile Lignier-Michelot Clos de al Roche Grand Cru: Opaque dark purple to black in color, silky, chewy red fruit ending with slate and silky tannins.

2020 Domaine Faiveley Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Cazetiers”: Opaque medium purple, tar and crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy and dense, black licorice, silky tannin with bitter almonds notes on the finish.

2020 Domaine Faiveley Corton Grand Cru “Clos des Cortons”: Opaque dark purple, barnyard and crushed black fruit on the nose, silky and dense with a hit of tannin and some heat at the end.

2020 Olivier Leflaive Volnay 1er Cru “Clos de Angles”: Opaque medium purple, crushed rock notes on the nose, chewy fruit with slate and firm tannins.

2020 Comte Armand Pommard 1er Cru “Clos des Epeneaux”: Opaque dark purple, silky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

2020 Domaine Michel LaFarge Volnay 1er Cru “Clos du Chene”: Clear light purple, a perfume of violets and tobacco, juicy and smoky with moderate tannins and acid.

2020 Domaine Dominique Gallois Gevrey Chambertin “En Justice”: Opaque dark purple to black in color, slate and roast meat on the nose, juicy red fruit.

2020 Domaine Labruyere Moulin a Vent “Le Clos Monopole”: Opaque dark purple, green herbs on the nose, silky dusty fruit, good balance.

Rhone Masterclass Lunch

This past March 30th, I attended a Cote du Rhone Masterclass lunch.

The luncheon was held at Aldo Sohm wine bar located at 151 West 51st Street in Midtown Manhattan.

It was a three-course lunch served with six Rhone wines that included whites, reds and rosés. These were budget friendly wines that were meant to showcase that Rhone wines can be approachable and easy drinking.

It was an excellent lunch with each of the first two courses paired with a white, a rosé and a red. With the very good cheese course we drank what we wanted. Since the cheeses were semi soft, the white wines worked very well with them.

Menu

Golden & red beet, terrine seasoned goat cheese

2020 Vignerons de l’Enclave “La Resistance” Blanc: Medium gold in color, floral, green herbs on the nose, full fruit with melon notes, moderate acids, easy drinking.

2021 Cellier des Dauphins Rosé Reserve: Light pale red with strawberry notes on the nose, easy drinking with low acids and honeydew melon notes.

2020 Joseph Castan “Tresor du Rhone” Rouge: Opaque medium red. leather and rosemary on the nose, dusty black fruit, silky tannin and crushed rock notes.

Braise short rib, spinach, fried shallots, red wine reduction

2019 Andre Brunel “La Becassonne” Blanc: Medium dark gold with honeydew on the nose, medium to full bodied, tight, juicy fruit, good balance and very drinkable.

2021 Chapoutier Belleruche Rosé: Medium pale red, cantaloup melon on the nose, firm with some tart notes.

2019 Delas Freres “St Esprit” Rouge: Opaque dark red with green notes on the nose, chewy, black licorice fruit, silky tannins and a nice grip at the end.

Cheese of the moment Chef’s selection

Raw Wine Festival New York 2022

The Raw Wine Festival is an international Natural Wine fair that stops in London, Berlin, Los Angeles, Miami, Montreal and New York City. It’s all about low intervention organic, biodynamic, natural wines, “the most important event for artisanal and natural wines in the international wine calendar”.

The Spring edition was held in New York City on March 27-28 at an event space at 99 Scott Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

These wines are still a niche market, but the market has grown tremendously the past decade. I attended on the first day on Sunday and the event space packed with trade and consumers ready and eager to try the wines. All of the major wine producing countries and several of the smaller ones were represented this afternoon with all styles of wine poured including still, sparkling, pet-nats and orange wines.

Many of the wine makers themselves were on hand to discuss their wines and not surprisingly were a colorful cast of characters.

These wines have come a long way in the past few years with the “funk” factor toned down.

Vintus Imports Portfolio Tasting

Many of the distributors that supply the wine and bar industry here in New York carry a wide range of wines and spirits. Not surprisingly every bar and restaurant have its particular needs. They might be looking for a good wine by the glass or something out of the ordinary or maybe they’re looking for a trophy wine.

On March 21st I attended the Spring portfolio tasting of Vintus Imports which was held at their offices at 48 West 38th Street in Manhattan.

I was not familiar with this company and was curious to check out their portfolio. They did carry a good selection of wines as well as some interesting spirits including several aquavits.

Some highlights:

2007 Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Opaque medium brick with a sweet perfume of graphite and black licorice, silky red fruit with dark chocolate notes finishing with green herbs. Lovely wine.

2018 Darioush Signature Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Opaque dark red, sweet nose of tar and wet earth, dense and chewy black fruit. Some heat at the end.

2019 Far Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon “Fission” (Sonoma): Opaque dark red to black, nose of ripe fruit, chewy and chunky black fruit with a dusty and chewy finish and a nice balance.

2017 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Baudes”: Clear light brick with graphite and leather on the nose, juicy red fruit with earthy notes, tight acids and a long finish.

2017 Lucien Le Moine Volnay 1er Cru “Clos des Chenas”: Clear light red, toasty red fruit on the nose, silky red fruit with some earth notes, nice balance.

2018 E. Guigal Saint-Joseph “Vignes de l’Hospice”: Clear dark red with a beautiful nose fo wet earth, mint and crushed black fruit, silky red fruit with wet rock notes on the fruit, balanced and long.

2016 Chateau de Nalys Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear dark brick, closed nose of bacon fat, dusty, silky dark fruit with slate notes, balanced and long.

2008 Tommasi “De Buris” (Veneto): Clear medium brick with damp earth and prunes on the nose, pruney green herbs on the tight finish.

2017 Tommasi Amarone Classico (Veneto): Clear light brick, closed nose of dark chocolate, juicy with raison and herbs of the long finish. Great balance.

2015 Casisano Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Clear light red, tar and graphite on the nose, silky with earthy fruit and nicely balance.

Passport To Eataly

Eataly is the “world’s largest artisanal Italian food and beverage marketplace”. It’s like an Italian food theme park with Italian themed groceries, restaurants and bars.

They also host cooking classes, wine and beverage classes and about once a month they throw an in-store party.

The standard formula for these parties is to offer 40+ Italian wines with several Italian inspired appetizers, a jazz band and plenty of people having a good time. Usually there is a theme either with the wine or the time of year. On March 25th at the downtown location (101 Liberty Street) that theme was Passport to Italy.

At this “Fiesta” the wines were mainly from the South of Italy with selections from Calabria, Sicily, Basilicata, Puglia, Molise, Lazio, Campania and Abruzzo.

A couple of the standout appetizers were the Vesuvio Con Salsiccia E Cime di Rape; house made pasta with sausage and broccoli rabe. Another was Spado alla Siciliano; Swordfish in a sauce of tomatoes, raisons, olives and pignoli nuts.

As usual it was filled with people enjoying the wine, food and music.

La Paulée de NY: Verticals Tasting 2022

La Paulée de New York is Daniel Johnson’s homage to La Paulée de Meursault, a three-day long end of grape harvest festival held in Meursault, Burgundy in France. The festival itself was a revival of the end of harvest banquet that the medieval monks threw for their growers and workers.

Mr. Johnson brought that festival to New York in 2000 and after a one-year hiatus it’s back in New York City. It’s several days of tastings and wine dinners featuring the red and white wines of the Cote d’Or of Burgundy.

They threw two tastings, the Grand Tasting in which they poured 100+ wines from the current vintage release, and the Verticals Tasting in which each producer poured at least three different vintages of their wine.

I attended the Grand Tasting in March 2020 which was held just a few days before the lockdown, it was the last major tasting for me for almost two years. This year they were showcasing the 2018 and 2019 vintages to make up for the lost year. This year I didn’t attend that tasting but was able to make it to the Verticals Tasting. It was a little smaller in size than the Grand Tasting but was a great opportunity to drink Burgundy with some age to them. It was well worth the 10am start time.

The tasting took place at the event space Second in the Eventi Hotel at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan.

Some highlights:

White

2011 Domaine du Duc de Magenta Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru “Clos de la Chapelle”: Light yellow, toasty nose, roasted nuts and lime on the finish.

2012 Domaine Christian Moreau Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos “Clos des Hospices” en magnum: Dark gold in color, ripe tropical fruit on the nose, dusty, nutty on the finish.

2014 Bouchard Pere & Fils Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light yellow with honey and cinnamon on the nose, mouthful of fruit with a nice balance

2015 Domaine Eleni & Edouard Vocoret Chablis 1er Cru “Les Butteaux”: Light yellow with a floral nose, nice balanced fruit ending with a firm finish

Red

2006 Domaine de la Vougeraie Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, tar and cigar box on the nose with earthy, tobacco fruit and a long finish.

2007 Benjamin Leroux Volnay “Clos de la Cave du Ducs” Monopole: Clear light brick, beautiful nose of earth and barnyard with tobacco and cigar box notes on the long finish.

2009 Chandon de Briailles Corton Grand Cru “Les Bressandes” en magnum: Clear light red, plummy tobacco on the nose with silky bright red fruit and green herbs on the finish.

2009 Domaine Faiveley Echezeaux Grand Cru: Light brick, crushed raspberry and earth on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins and a long finish.

2010 Domaine Simon Bize Savigny les Beaune 1er Cru “Aux Vergelesses”: Clear light brick, cigar box on the nose, bright red fruit ending with mouth coating tannins.

2010 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin Clos de Beze Grand Cru: Clear light brick, tar and tobacco on the nose, silky, earthy fruit with firm acids and tannins at the end.

2010 Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Aux Brulees” en magnum: Clear light brick, crushed blueberry on the nose, red toasty fruit with a silky finish.

2011 Domaine Faiveley Nuits St. Georges 1er Cru “Les Saint Georges“: Light brick in color, cigar box on the nose, nice balanced fruit with a long finish.

2011 Derey Freres Fixin 1er Cru “Les Hervedets”: Light brick, cinnamon, smoky tobacco and ripe fruit on the nose, chewy and nicely balanced with a long finish.

2011 Pierre Morey Pommard 1er Cru “Grand Epenots”: Clear light red, closed nose of crushed black fruit and dried herbs, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

2012 Antoine Donnedieu Clos de Tart Grand Cru monople: Clear light red, barnyard and green herbs on the nose, tight and tart.

2013 Domaine d’Eugenie Vosne-Romanee 1er Cru “Brulees”: Clear light red, perfume of crushed red fruit and cinnamon, bright red fruit with some earth notes on the finish.

2014 Domaine Jean Marie Fourrier Vougeot 1er Cru “Les Petits Vougeot”: Clear light brick, pumpkin spice on the nose, silky red fruit ending with silky tannins.

2014 Jerome Galeyrand Gevrey-Chambertin “En Croisette”: Clear light brick, toasty, earth nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending balanced and long.

2015 Yvon Clerget Pommard 1er Cru “Rugiens”: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit on the nose, ripe and chewy black fruit ending with silky tannins.

2015 Nicolas Rossignol Volnay 1er Cru “Chevrerz”: Clear light red, red smoke on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.