Rib King NYC 2023

The Rib King BBQ festival was held on Memorial Day weekend on Saturday, May 27.

It was another food event curated by Food Karma and Jimmy Carbone that have also hosted other foodie events such as Pig Island, Brisket King and Bowl of ‘Zole.

The event was held at Industry City at 220 36th Street in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. Industry City is a complex of warehouses on the Brooklyn waterfront that have been repurpose into retail and commercial spaces.

With many eateries, a brewery, a sake brewery and a distillery, there were many opportunities to have something to eat and drink and on this sunny holiday weekend. The complex was packed with all sorts of people including families milling around and enjoying the day.

There was no way better to spend the unofficial start of Summer than by strolling amongst the pitmasters with the smoke of cooking ribs in the air.

Ribs providers:

Blue Smoke

Kam Rai Thai

Sands Jerk Hut

Taste of Surabaya

Pig Beach

Big Bob Gibson

Smoke Sweats BBQ

Empire BBQ

Bears Smokehouse

Zachys Welcome Port Chester Tasting

Zachys is one of the oldest fine wine and spirits retailer in the country and a spirits auction house. It’s a family-owned operation that was founded in 1944.

Their shop was located in Scarsdale village for many years but then they moved their operations to Port Chester, a town in northeast Westchester about an hour’s ride by Metro North rail.

Not surprisingly for a wine and spirits shop, they often host tastings in the store. On May 20 & 21 they hosted a “Welcome Port Chester” mega tasting at the store to benefit Meals on Main Street. For those two days they had advertised that would have 40 producers pouring over 70 wines.

I attended the event on Sunday afternoon. If you were a fan of Champagne, the selections that were poured were worth the price of the ticket just for that. Piper Heidsieck Rare, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne, and Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame were just a few of the top notch Champagne that were offered for tasting.

The rest of the wines were a good mix of Italian, U.S. and French and made for a nice afternoon of wine tasting. I did try something for the first time that I never had before, a pretzel croissant. Very delicious.

Some of what I sampled:

2020 Louis Jadot Meursault: Light gold, tropical fruit notes on the nose and on the fruit, good acidity.

2020 Louis Jadot Chassagne Montrachet: Medium gold, ripe, floral nose with tropical fruit notes and lime, nice balance.

2003 Chateau Clarke Listrac-Medoc (In Magnum): Opaque brick with a light brick rim, ripe bell pepper and peppermint on the nose, tight silky fruit, ripe vegetable notes on the nice and firm finish.

2012 Chateau Clarke Listrac-Medoc: Clear medium brick, closed nose of leather, tight with slate and pencil shavings on the finish, firm tannins.

2014 Joseph Swan Pinot Noir “Catie’s Corner” Russian River: Clear light brick, big nose of crushed cherry and forest floor, juicy red licorice fruit ending with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Col d’Orca Brunello di Montalcino: Clear light brick, perfume of crushed red fruit with silky red fruit and silky tannins. Some heat.

2015 Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva: Opaque medium red with a brick rim, dusty roast meat and bacon and the nose and fruit, firm finish.

2017 San Lorenzo Brunello di Montalcino: Clear medium red, tobacco on the nose, tight red fruit ending with dusty tannins.

2018 Raen Pinot Noir Royal St. Robert Cuvee: Clear light brick, forest floor and camphor on the nose, juicy red fruit with tar and tobacco notes, nice balance.

2018 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon: Opaque dark red with a brick rim, leather and tobacco on the nose, tight and dense with slate notes on the silky finish. Nice wine with a price tag to match.

2018 Vallepicciola Chianti Classico Riserva: Clear medium red, tar and leather on the nose, nice red fruit with good balance.

2019 Rombauer Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: Opaque medium red, purple rim, bell pepper on the nose, chewy with crushed rock notes on the fruit, firm and balanced.

2019 Forman Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: Clear medium red, woody crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy with black licorice and dark chocolate on the fruit ending with firm and silky tannins.

2019 Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley: Clear medium red, crushed black fruit and tree bark on the nose, dusty fruit with slate notes on the fruit and finish, balanced.

2019 Paul Hobbs Pinot Noir Russian River Valley: Clear medium purple, forest floor on the nose, juicy red fruit with cola and crushed rocks on the balance finish.

2019 Greppicaia Bolgheri “Greppi”: Clear medium red, brick rim, dusty crushed rock on the nose, tight and juicy with brick dust notes, firm finish.

2021 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir “Estate”: Clear light brick, toasty earth on the nose, juicy cola on the fruit with tar and rocks on the balanced finish.

2021 Bethel Heights Pinot Noir “Aeolian”: Light brick with toasty earth on the nose, juicy cola on the fruit with tar and crushed rocks on the finish, nice balance.

Bourbon On Derby Day

The first Saturday in May is a good party day. There are many Cinco de Mayo parities celebrated that day, and it is also Derby Day which is another reason to throw a party.

The Kentucky Derby is run on that day at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. Called “the greatest two minutes in sports”, it is a tradition that began in 1875.

What better way to celebrate an iconic sporting event than with America’s iconic spirit, Bourbon.

That afternoon the Bourbon at Belmont event was held at Belmont Park racetrack located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont.

It’s a reoccurring event that features over 30 Bourbon with live horse racing and a simulcast of the Kentucky Derby.

It makes for an usual venue and for an old school experience. The event took place on the 4th floor clubhouse which gave us access to the outdoor grandstand overlooking the racetrack. If you wanted to, you could have placed a bet on a race, purchased a cigar from one of the vendors at the event and sat in the grandstand with a bourbon in one hand, a cigar in the other and cheered your horse on to victory.

All of the Bourbon producers have several renditions of the spirit on hand to pour as well as a bottled rye. These were a few of the producers I sampled:

BardstownHeaven’s Door
RedemptionCooperstown Select
Widow JanePenelope
Whipper SnapperCalumet
Hudson WhiskeyTunney
Great JonesGreen River
PinhookDogfish Head

ABC Wines of Long Island

ABC is an anagram for “anything but Chardonnay” (or Cabernet Sauvignon). Chardonnay is one of the premier grape varietals in the world and on the east end of Long Island wine AVA, the most widely planted white grape with Sauvignon Blanc a distant second.

Many people get stuck in a rut and drink only one type of wine and that’s too bad since there are many varietals grown around the world and bottled other than Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Out on the North Fork everyone bottles some type of Chardonnay, but many wineries have a few acres of the other whites planted as well.

One Sunday afternoon I drove out East to sample a few.

One Women Winery 5195 Old North Road, Southold

Family run winery with the smallest tasting ‘shack” on the wine crawl.

2020 Gruner Veltliner

Medium gold in color, earthy and floral notes on the nose, ripe vegetal, asparagus on the fruit ending with crisp acidity.

Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue

One of the first wineries to open on the North Fork with grapevines planted in 1980. They bottle several outlier grape varietals.

2021 Viognier

Medium yellow with a greenish tint, big nose of green apples with green apple notes on the fruit ending with a nice crisp finish.

Palmer Vineyards 108 Sound Avenue, Riverhead

Another one of the original wineries out East, it was recently sold to the folks who own Paumanok Vineyards.

2022 Albariño

Medium gold, asparagus and white flowers on the nose, juicy apples on the fruit with moderate to low acidity ending with tart lime notes.

Boston Wine Expo 2023

The Boston Wine Expo was a long running wine event held in Boston that ran for 25 years. I attended the event for the first time in 2012 and attended every year since then until the last year they held the event in 2017.

The Expo was held at the Boston World Trade Center, an expansive event space on the harbor. They stopped hosting the event before the pandemic, so Covid was not the reason the festival was shut down. I’m not sure if finances were the reason the event was stopped or that the event devolved into a drunk-fest, though in all the years I attended I never saw any of that type of issue despite the huge crowds with a copious number of wines being poured.

What I enjoyed about the Expo was that for a consumer event, it was well run and had a nice selection of wines of the world available to taste, but the best parts of the Expo were the seperate VIP room which featured high end wines that were not poured at general admission and many seminars. I had attended some really excellent seminars.

After a six-year hiatus, another organization decided to bring the event back to the city on March 25-26. They decided to make the event more “intimate” by moving it to a smaller event space, the Boston Park Plaza hotel located at 50 Park Plaza, in the Back Bay district of Boston, and dividing the tastings into two, two-hour tastings plus a ‘VIP’ tasting before the general admission. The also hosted a handful of seminars.

As I was happy to see the event return to Boston, I was also disappointed by the fact that the VIP portion of the tasting was held in the same room with the same vendors pouring the same wines as in the general admission session. Also, no hard copy tasting book.

Some of the wines I sampled:

2016 Cyrus Red Blend Alexander Valley

2018 BV Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 BV Vineyards Tapestry

2018 Forman Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2018 Gilbert Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills

2019 Louis M Martini Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2019 Rutherford Hills Merlot Napa Valley

2021 Benton-Lane Pinot Noir Oregon

2021 Fess Parker Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills

2021 Sojurn Cellars Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Vineyard

2021 Sojurn Cellars Pinot Noir UV Lucky Wells Vineyard

2022 J Vineyards Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2020 Penfolds Bin 389

2021 Berne Inspiration Rosé Cote de Provence

SlowWine NYC 2023

The Slow Wine movement began 30 years ago in Piedmont, Italy and is aligned with the Slow Food movement.

The wineries that were selected by Slow Wine are wineries “that respect and reflect the local terroir and practice sustainable methods that benefit the environment” and are 100% free of chemical herbicides. They are given the “snail” seal of approval.

The multi city tour stopped in San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, Seattle and on March 14th, in New York City.

The event was held at Eataly downtown at 101 Liberty Street in downtown Manhattan in a stylish room with an expansive view of the surrounding area. Of course, since it was Eataly, some nice food was provided.

About three quarters of the wines at the event were from Italy with wines from the United States a distant second and a handful from the rest of the world. Most of the wine regions of Italy were represented, and the U.S. had a respectable showing with wines from California and Oregon.

My pet peeve: When I go to these events, I like to take notes on what I sample. I do it the old school way with a pen and paper. Usually in the past a book or sheet with the wines being poured and room to take notes was available. Nowadays they are forgoing a physical book for a QR code, and I have to grab a scrap of paper to write on and it’s time consuming to copy all of the wine information.

Some of what I sampled:

2019 Unti Aglianico (Sonoma): Rare Italian varietal in Cali, dark red to black, perfume of sweet violets, chewy dusty fruit, nice grip and a long finish.

2019 Unti Syrah (Sonoma): Opaque dark red, forest floor and camphor on the nose, juicy and chewy with slate notes, good grip.

2019 Ruby Vineyard Pinot Noir “Flora’s Reserve” (Oregon): Clear light purple, red fruit and earth on the nose with juicy red fruit.

2019 Evening Land Pinot Noir “La Source” (Eola-Amity Hills): Clear medium purple, earthy black cherry on the nose ending with tart red fruit.

2019 Gallica Grenache (Sonoma): Clear medium red, ripe crushed fruit on the nose, chewy, earthy fruit with crushed stone notes on the finish.

2019 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley): Opaque medium red, slate and crushed black fruit on the nose with dusty black fruit and a firm finish.

2018 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon Mt Veeder (Napa Valley): Dark red with a brick rim, roasted meat and camphor on the nose ending with tight red fruit.

2018 Newton Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mt (Napa Valley): 100% Cabernet, opaque dark red, tobacco and crushed rocks on the nose, dusty, dark fruit with silky tannins.

2021 Vicara Grignolino (Piedmont): Very light red, smoky nose, delicate fruit with crushed stone notes ending with moderate acidity.

2020 La Spinetta Barbaresco “Bordini” (Piedmont): Clear light brick, toasty barnyard on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with moderate acidity.

2019 Castello di Neive Pinot Nero (Piedmont): Clear light brick, tree bark on the nose, tight red cherry fruit, moderate tannins and acid.

2019 La Spinetta Barolo “Garretti” (Piedmont): Clear light brick, tar and leather on the nose, silky dark fruit with gritty tannins and a long finish.

2018 Pian delle Querci Brunello di Montalcino (Tuscany): Clear light brick, tar and cigar box on the nose, good fruit with a nice balance.

2016 Col D’Orcia Cabernet Sauvignon “Olmaia” (Tuscany): Clear medium red, barnyard on the nose, black licorice fruit.

2016 Badia a Coltibuono “Sangioveto” (Tuscany): 100% Sangiovese, clear light brick, toasty nose, tight, dark ripe fruit with red licorice notes on the finish.

2015 Col D’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva “Poggio al Vento” (Tuscany): Clear medium brick, cooked ripe fruit on the nose, tight and tannic.

Bloody Mary Festival 2023

The Bloody Mary is an iconic drink, a staple of brunches. The origins of the cocktail are a little murky but probably originated sometime in the 1920’s or 1930″s.

A pretty basic recipe would be vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and tabasco.

On March 18th I attended the 9th annual Bloody Mary Festival, a multi city tour which came back to New York City this year after the pandemic hiatus.

The event was held at City Point, a venue in a Mall located at 445 Albee Square West in downtown Brooklyn and had over a dozen restaurants and cocktail mix producers vying for the title of the best Bloody Mary.

Each participant had their own versions of the Bloody Mary. There was some wiggle room with the ingredients used but the creativity came in to play with the garnishes used on the drink.

My favorite was the Bloody Mary from the Lobster Joint.

Some of the participants:

Bill’s Bar & BurgerBrooklyn Rabbit Bar & Grill
Lobster Joint The Wilson
Dos CaminosCrave Fishbar
390 SocialFever Tree
Toma Bloody MaryChela

Irish Whiskey Fest NYC 2023

On March 11th I attended the third annual New York Irish Whiskey Festival. The festival was established back in 2019 and after a two-year pandemic break, returned to New York City in 2022.

At one time, Irish Whiskey was the most popular style of whiskey in this country, Prohibition and politics brought that all to a halt and for decades less than a handful of distilleries remained in the country. In the past couple of decades, the industry in Ireland has been infused with innovators and new startups that has expanded the industry greatly making it a one of the fastest growing categories in the U.S. with sales of $1.3 billion in 2021.

The basic regulations for Irish Whiskey are that the spirit has to be distilled in Ireland from a mash of malt and cereals, triple distilled and aged for a minimum of three years. Most (90%) are blended whiskeys, but they also produce single malt, single grain, single pot still and potcheen (unaged) whiskeys that have been aged different types of barrels. There is much more diversity than the usual Bushmills/Jameson pours available at the local pub.

At the well-attended event I, and the rest of the crowd was able to try a wide range of over 25 Irish whiskeys, The blended whiskeys in general were smooth and drinkable while I found the aged single malts the most interesting.

The event was held at The View at the Battery, an event space at 1 Battery Place at the southern tip of Manhattan overlooking New York Harbor.

Some of what I sampled:

Keeper’s Heart American and Irish blendBushmills 10, 12, 16, 21, 25, 30yr old single malt
Powers Irish ryeRedBreast 12yr single pot still
Croithli single maltTeeling single pot still
J J Corry The GaelThe Quiet Man blended
Roe & Co blendedProper Twelve blended
Proclamation blendedDrumshanbro single malt
The Tyrconnell blendedNaterjack blended
UAIS blended

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.