Bastille Day Fête 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

July 14th is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. It celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation.

FIAF (french institute alliance francaise) is the “country’s leading French language and cultural center” founded nearly 120 years ago to promote French arts and teach French language and is now housed in the heart of Manhattan at 22 East 6oth Street. For over twenty years they have hosted New York City’s largest public celebration of France’s national holiday.

It was a three-block long party on East 60th Street with French themed food booths, French products and a stage with continuous live music throughout the afternoon.

Of course there were a couple of wine tastings as well, a Summer in Provence tasting and a Champagne, Cocktail and Jazz party which I attended. At the party they served five very drinkable Champagne and a specialty cocktail while being serenated by Avalon, a four-piece Jazz band.

 

Champagnes:

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé

Pol Roger Reserve

Delamonte Brut

Besserat du Bellefon Bleu Brut

Michel Gonet Brut Reserve

 

Cocktail: “La Quatorze Juillet

Made with Routin vermouth blanc, Giffard rubarbe liquour, Giffard Menthe Pastille (a pepperment flavored liquour), a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and topped with a slice of cucumber. It was very refreshing.

 

 

More Summer Rosé Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rosé season is kicking in to high gear now and there is plenty of pink wine coming out of the east end long island wineries to keep the thirsty satisfied.

Most of the wineries do a pretty good job of making a drinkable version.

One afternoon I drove out for another tasting.

 

 

Shinn Estate Vineyards  2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Winery using biodynamic wine practices, featuring a wine library with a barrel room view. They also have a B & B on property.

2018 Rosé

100% Merlot. Medium cherry red, crushed red cherry on the nose, red cherry and some funk on the medium body with moderate acids.

 

Lieb  Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cuthchogue

The rustic tasting room is in a quiet spot off the main road. Established in 1992, they make estate grown “small production reserve wines”. They also own a local custom crush winemaking facility.

2018 Bridge Lane Rosé

Mostly Cabernet Franc. Medium copper in color, fresh honeydew on the nose, clean melon notes on the fruit, moderate to low acids, very drinkable.

 

Paumanok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquebogue

The first winery you run into on the main road wine trail. Established in 1983 and the first winery to grow a Chenin Blanc.

2018 Dry Rosé

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Orange-copper in color, dried herbs and funky melon on the nose with some of those funky notes coming through on the fruit, nice balance of acids.

 

 

Côte du Rhône Festival

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The debut Côte du Rhône festival was held on June 23rd and promised to be “a free flowing wine and food experience in Manhattan”.

The event was held at the event space Second at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting with a French wine bar theme. There were also a couple of seminars thrown in. To accompany the generous quantity of wines that were served were pates, terrines, salumi, mussels, cheeses and pasta.

The Rhone is the second largest wine appellation in France and the Rhone AOC was established in 1937. The appellation is divided the into four classifications; Cote du Rhone, Cote du Rhone Villages, Cote du Rhone Villages + a village name and Cru wines which come from 17 defined crus.

The region is coming off of a couple outstanding vintages of 2015 & 2016 and I’ve tried some nice wines from across the classifications at every Rhone tasting that I’ve been to this year.  Viognier based whites are in general lush with peach and tropical fruit notes while the rest of the whites have nice minerality and floral notes. The reds have nice concentration with meaty notes on the Syrah based North Rhone reds with red fruit and earth notes and approachable tannins on the rest.

They hosted a Trade/Media tasting in the afternoon and opened the doors for the consumers later that evening, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

Unoaked Chardonnay Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

During the warm Summer months I’ve a fan of rosé wine, but sometimes I’m not in the mood for pink so I’ll have a glass of white. To sip on a hot day those big, fat, oaky and buttery whites won’t cut it in the warm weather so my go to wines will be the lighter, crisper versions with no or minimal oak treatment.

Chardonnay is the queen of white wines on the east end of Long Island. Wine makers love it since it’s malleable enough to make it in several styles. Most of the wineries on the east end make an oak and non-oaked version.

I spent a cloudy afternoon out east looking for non-oaked white Summer sippers.

 

 

Laurel Lake Vineyards  3165 Main Road, Laurel

Established in 1984 it’s one of the older wineries on the east end, off the radar winery with consistent wines and a nice deck out back overlooking the vineyard.

2017 Estate Chardonnay

Medium to light gold in color, asparagus, crushed rock and cotton candy on the nose, tight with surprisingly buttery notes on the finish with nice acidity.

 

Lenz Vineyards  38355 Main Road, Peconic

One of the granddaddies of the wine industry on the east end being established in 1978. They are more known for their reds, especially their Merlots.

2014 Chardonnay “White Label”

An older vintage than expected. Dark gold in color, canned peaches and green herbs on the nose, tight, peachy fruit with lemon notes on the balanced finish. Holding up well.

 

Macari Vineyards  150 Bergen Avenue, Mattituck

A family run operation established in 1995 with a large tasting room and an outdoor deck with sweeping views of the vineyard.

2016 Estate Chardonnay

Served in a proper wine glass, medium yellow with greenish tints, green apple on the nose, dry, crisp with mouth watering acidity and green apple notes on the finish. Nice Summer sipper.

 

RG/NY  6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

This is the former Martha Clara winery that was recently purchased by the Mexican winemaking family Rivero Gonzalez. They are bottling wine under their label now.

2018 Scielo (Heaven) Chardonnay

Medium to light yellow, watermelon on the nose, peachy, melon notes on the full fruit with lime notes on the firm finish.

 

 

Westchester Magazine’s Grand Tasting 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Westchester Magazine held its 9th annual wine and food festival on June 4-9. It was six days of foodie events that included a Burger & Beer Blast, a Food Truck Fest a tasting tour of Italy and winemaker dinners.

It’s signature event was the Grand Tasting Village which was held on Saturday afternoon, June 8th. The village was an outdoor tented area that saw 50+ local restaurants serving food with over 200 wines and spirits to wash them down with. There was also a “connoisseurs tent”, a separate area from general admission that featured additional high end wines and food.

The event was held at the Kensico Dam Plaza in the sleepy village of Valhalla with its two block long Main Street located in Westchester. It’s about an hour train ride north from New York City.

There was plenty of food to sample with many different ethnic cuisines represented and for a consumer event,  an impressive selection of domestic and international wines. It was a beautiful Spring afternoon for eating and drinking.

 

Some of the wines from the connoisseurs tent:

Laurent-Perrier: NV Cuvee Rosé, NV Ultra Brut, 2007 Brut Millesime

2018 Chateau d’Esclans Rosé Les Clans

2018 Chateau d’Esclans Rosé Garrus

2017 Castello della Sala Conte Vipera

2015 Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva

2015 Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico

2013 Pian delle Vigne Brunello di Montalcino

2016 Tenuta Guado al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore

2014 Bodegas Pintia Toro Tinto

2015 Macan Rioja Clasico

2014 Macan Rioja

2015 Bodegas Alion Ribera del Duero

2013 Joseph Drouhin Chambolle Musigny

2016 Joseph Drouhin Chorey Les Beaune

2016 Domaine de la Solitude Chateauneuf du Pape

2016 Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2014 Rombauer Diamond Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

Rosé Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

With the warmer weather approaching that means that rosé season is upon us. It’s not surprising that on an island with miles of beaches and beach towns that drinking rosé wine would be very popular, in fact in the Hampton’s this year they are talking about a rosé shortage.

Every east end winery bottles a rosé which usually sells out quickly. While you won’t be drinking any of the grape varietals used to make rosé in the south of France such as Mouvedre, Cinsault or Grenache, they make do with Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc.

One recent Saturday afternoon I drove out East to try a few.

 

One Women Winery 5195 Old North Road, Southold

Small production winery, a real mom & pop operation with excellent wines. Small, cozy tasting shack with knowledgeable staff, not much space inside but there are tables surrounding the tasting room.

2018 Rosé

A blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir, recently bottled.  Light copper in color, watermelon on the nose with light melon notes on the fruit, nice balance with refreshing acidity at the finish.

 

Corey Creek Tap Room  36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

Owned by Bedell Cellars, as the name suggests they serve only small batch wines on tap, “fresh from our cellar”. The tasting room has a nautical décor with an outdoor seating area overlooking the vineyard.

2018 Rosé Syrah

Light pink in color with sweet melon on the nose and fresh peach notes on the fruit with some residual sugar coming through at the finish.

 

McCall Wines  22600 Main Road, Cutchogue

McCall is not only a vineyard but a cattle ranch as well. They raise grass-fed Charolais cattle, a heritage European breed, on the adjacent ranch and is one of the few vineyards that bottle a pinot noir. The rustic tasting room is a former potato curing barn. There’s always one of the owners on hand overseeing the tasting room and pouring.

2018 Marjorie’s Rosé

A blend of Syrah and Merlot, light copper in color, sweet kiwi on the nose, funky melon on the full fruit with crisp acidity on the finish.

 

 

Best of the West 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Best of the West was one of two events held as part of the 12th annual Taste of the Upper West Side. The events were a fundraiser benefitting the upper west side community. Summer in the City was held on Friday evening and Best of the West on Saturday evening. Both events were held under the tents on Columbus Avenue between 76-77th streets in the upper west side of Manhattan, just across the street from the Museum of Natural History.

Both events had 80+ chefs from local restaurants serving unlimited food along with some drinkable wines, cocktails made with the ever present Tito’s vodka and Rums from Puerto Rico, beer and hard cider.

It was a big foodies event, a night of good eating, so much so I couldn’t get to all the food stations but had tried my best. Just wish I had brought a doggie bag.

 

Some of what I sampled:

The Milling Room: Mini Lobster Roll, featuring Maine lobster on Amy’s challah bun.

8th Hill Restaurant: Stuffed beet leaves with meat.

The Loeb Boathouse Central Park: Yuzi cured Hamachi, cucumbers and watermelon salad with ginger dressing.

Leyla: Fava bean bruschetta, fava bean spread, arugula, pickled carrots, dill over sourdough bread.

Lincoln Center Kitchen: Chilled spring pea soup, jumbo lump crab salad, smoked bacon.

Da Capo: Veal meatballs, pan seared San Marzano tomatoes, Sunday Sauce, basil.

Elea: Grilled octopus, fava puree with pepper & onion “Stifado”.

Shake Shack: Cheeseburger topped with Monterrey Jack cheese, double smoked bacon and fiery shack sauce.

Café 21: Mixed seafood Ceviche with miso ginger Asian slaw.

Red Farm: Chicken with truffle Shu Mai.

Tavern on the Green: Confit of Berkshire pork shoulder, pickled julienne vegetables, Sambai aioli.

Dizzy’s Club: Smoked baby back ribs with Carolina BBQ sauce, with jalapeno, peach slaw.

Salumeria Rosi: Pork meatballs, fresh tomato sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano.

Café Frida: Mole negro cooked for 8 hours, chicken breast, fried sweet plantains, white onions and sesame seeds.

The Leopard: Parmigiana of zucchini with smoked mozzarella, fresh tomato sauce and basil.

Café Luxembourg: Tuna tartare, avocado mousse, rice cakes.

Tessa: Chilled octopus salad, celery, pickled red onions, preserved lemon, smoked paprika oil, micro arugula.

The Smith: Toasted ricotta gnocchi with truffle cream.

The Mermaid Inn: Chilled ruby red shrimp ceviche, charred tomato, avocado, cilantro and old bay popcorn.

Crave Fishbar: Salmon sashimi tostada, avocado puree, Calabrian chili oil, grapefruit, crisp shallot, micro cilantro.

Calle Ocho: Ceviche Demorro, black grouper, pickled vegatables, calle ocho pique.

Alice’s Teacup: Mini pumpkin scones.

Treat House: Sea salt caramels, chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream.