La Tablée Rhone Tasting NYC

 

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The inaugural La Tablée New York City Rhone wine event was held on January 30-February 2nd.

It was run by the same team that produced the high-end French wine events of La Paulée and La Fête du Champagne. The series of events consisted of wine dinners, seminars and a tasting. I attended the tasting on Saturday February 2nd which was held at 26 Bridge, an event venue located at 26 Bridge Street in the trendy cobblestoned streets of DUMBO Brooklyn.

The term La Tablée originates in the village of Ampuis in Cote-Rôtie and denotes “the meal celebrating the end of the harvest (similar to Burgundy’s La Paulée), bringing to mind the colloquial French phrase, a table, the call given to family and friends to sit and enjoy a convivial meal around the table.”

The tasting was an opportunity to preview nearly 100 wines from the excellent 2016 vintage from 25 estates in the northern and southern Rhone. Other vintages were poured as well.

Some of what I sampled:

Pierre-Jean Villa

2016 Cote-Rotie “Fongeant”: Medium purple, cooked fruit notes on the nose with juicy black fruit and moderate tannins and acids.

2016 Cote-Rotie “Carmina”: 100% Syrah. Light purple, roasted dried herbs on the nose, chunky with sweet dark cherry fruit.

2013 Saint-Joseph “Tilde”: In magnum, dark red, roasted meat on the nose, juicy black fruit with silky, firm tannins on the long finish.

Yves Cuileron

2016 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium purple with a funky, dirty nose and juicy, chewy and firm fruit.

2007 Saint-Joseph “Serines”: Medium brick with an amber rim, nice perfume of tar and violets, tight and tannic.

Stephane Ogier

2016 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Medium purple, toasty green herbs on the nose, juicy, toasty fruit nicely balanced.

2007 Cote-Rotie “Reserve”: Cloudy dark brick with a perfume of crushed black fruit, mint and tar, juicy herb notes on the fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.

René Rostaing

2016 Cote-Rotie “La Landonne”: Medium purple, roast meat and red fruit on the nose, bright red fruit with firm, silky tannins.

2003 Cote-Rotie “Cuvee Classique”: Medium brick, pretty perfume of sweet red fruit, bright red fruit and licorice notes with firm acids.

Jean-Baptiste Souillard

2016 Crozes-Hermitage “La Tout”: 100% Marsanne, single vineyard. Light gold, lemon, petroleum on the nose with lemon custard notes on the tight fruit.

2014 Cote-Rotie “Couteaux de Bassenon”: Light purple, roasted meat on the nose, light with bright red fruit, nice balance.

Paul Jaboulet Ainé

2016 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose with dusty bright black fruit and a firm finish.

2013 Hermitage “La Chapelle”: Medium brick with a sweet nose of dried leaf and mint, sweet red fruit and red licorice on the nicely balanced finish.

Chateau de Beaucastel

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Roussanne “Vielles Vignes”: Light gold with tropical fruit notes on the nose and fruit, moderate acids.

2007 Chateauneuf du Pape: Medium brick in color, sweet dried leaf on the nose, juicy black licorice on the balanced fruit, long finish.

Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Piedlong”: 100% 70yr old Grenache vines. Light red, crushed red fruit and nuts on the nose, silky red fruit with a nice balance.

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieux Telegraphe”: Medium brick, perfume of mint and toast, chewy fruit with a roast coffee on the long and balanced finish.

Domaine de Crista

2016 Chateauneuf  du Pape: Medium purple, notes of earth and strawberry on the nose, chunky and earthy, good balance.

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape “Renaissance”: Dark brick, perfume of sweet earth, chewy red fruit followed by dusty and earthy tannins.

Domaine La Barroche

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Medium purple, roast meat on the nose, juicy ending with tight, firm tannins.

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature Julien Barrot: Cloudy medium brick, perfume of mint, tree bark, chunky fruit with mint notes on the finish.

Domaine Saint Préfert

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Dark purple, tree bark and crushed black fruit on the nose, dark chewy fruit ending with mint notes on the silky tannins.

2011 Chateauneuf du Pape Reserve Auguste Favier: Light brick, roast meat on the nose, juicy red fruit with earth notes on the balanced finish.

Domaine de Beaurenard

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Boisrenard”: Cloudy medium purple, cooked red fruit on the nose, dusty fruit with lip smacking tannins at the end.

2001 Chateauneuf du Pape: Black with a brick rim, perfume of crushed red fruit and mint with sweet red fruit and a balanced, long finish.

Domaine de la Janasse

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Medium cloudy purple, crushed red berries on the nose, big juicy red fruit, red licorice on the firm finish.

1999 Chateauneuf du Pape “Vieilles Vignes”: Magnum. Light brick, mint and dried leaf on the nose, chunky red licorice fruit, firm and balanced.

La Vieux Donjon

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear medium purple, crushed blueberry on the nose, juicy red fruit with a good grip.

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Clear brick, sweet roast meat on the nose, sweet dark fruit with a good grip on the long finish.

Chateau de Saint Cosme

2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, damp earth on the nose, juicy, concentrated black fruit with coffee notes on the balanced finish.

2010 Gigondas: Dark red with an amber rim, chunky and chewy dark fruit, tight, silky tannin on the firm finish.

Maison Tardieu-Laurent

2016 Gigondas: Dark purple, roast meat and black licorice on the nose, concentrated and dusty fruit, firm balanced finish.

2005 Cornas “Vieilles Vignes”: 100% Syrah. Medium brick, petroleum notes on the  nose, chunky fruit with mint and dried leaf, nice balance.

Domaine Pierre Usseglio

2016 Chateauneuf du Pape: Opaque medium purple, green herbs and toast on the nose, spicy red fruit, firm and balanced.

2010 Chateauneuf du Pape: Light brick, stewed plums on the nose, chewy red leather fruit, nice balance on the long finish.

 

 

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2019

 

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Brew it. Taste it. Sip it. Pork it. That’s the motto of the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ festival which is a pork-centric, American multi-city tour that began in New York City on January 26th.

The event was held at The Tunnel, a former railroad freight terminal turned nightclub now an event space located at 220 12th avenue at West 28th Street in Manhattan. The festival promised “60+ beer, 40+ Bourbon and lots of BBQ”, though it was an all-American whiskey list that included whiskey other than Bourbon. Beer and hard cider were also served to help wash down all the bbq. Music was spun by DJ Flava.

There were two sessions that day and I attended the “whole hog picking” session in the evening.

 

Seminars:

Bulleit hosted by Adam Geissler

Bourbon, Rye, Barrel Strength, 10yr Bourbon.

Makers Mark hosted by Alexa Amendognine

Bourbon, Makers 46, Private Select.

 

Others I sampled:

Koval (Chicago) Millet, Rye, Bourbon, Four Grain.

Virginia Distillery (Virginia) Port Cask Highland Single Malt Whisky, Chardonnay Cask Single Malt Whisky.

Deadwood (South Carolina) Rye, Straight Bourbon.

Buffalo Trace Distillery (Kentucky) Straight Bourbon, Eagle Rare Straight Bourbon.  

Balcones (Texas) Single Malt, 100°, Brimstone, Baby Blue.

Elijah Craig (Kentucky) Small Batch Bourbon.

Four Roses (Kentucky) Straight Bourbon, Small Batch, Single Barrel.

George Dickel (Tennessee) Rye, Sour Mash.

 

 

 

Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux Tour 2019

 

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The Union des Grand Crus de Bordeaux is a trade organization based in Bordeaux, France that promotes the wines of its 133 member chateaux.

Every year they host a world tour showcasing the current vintage to be released, stopping in various cities in Europe and Asia with the tour arriving in North America on January 18-26.

In New York City on Monday afternoon January 21st, they held a tasting for members of the trade and a consumer event later that evening. Both events were held at the Cipriani Midtown event space located at 110 East 42nd street in heart of Manhattan, just down the street from the iconic Chrysler building. A former bank, the event space is a huge, pink marbled cathedral-like room.

The 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was a Jekyll and Hyde vintage. The first half of the year was very rainy which made the winemakers concerned that the vintage would be a bust, but the second half of the year turned out to be bone dry. 

For the most part, I thought the wines had good fruit and structure with firm tannins and manageable acids. Most of the wines were still wound tight but I think will age well. I didn’t think they had the immediate lushness of the 2015’s where I was getting a lot of California style flavor profiles, nor were they as hard-edged as the 2014 vintage. Overall some nice wines to be drunk in the future.

Vintage 2016

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Clear medium purple with a closed nose of crushed red berries and milk chocolate, tight with silky, firm tannins.

Chateau Talbot: Dark purple, roasted meat and sour fruit on the nose, juicy dark fruit with a firm, balanced long finish.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, tree bark and roast meat on the nose, tight silky fruit, moderate firm finish.

Chateau Leoville Barton: Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, chunky, sweet cherry fruit with firm tannins.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Medium red, toasty sweet fruit on the nose, gritty tannins on the dark fruit ending with big tannins.

Chateau Branaire Ducru: Medium red, toasty crushed red fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and green herbs on the finish.

Saint- Estephe

Chateau de Pez: Medium red with a perfume of sweet red fruit, tight red fruit.

Chateau Phelan Segur: Medium red, floral, green herbs on the nose, dusty dark chocolate and slate on the firm fruit.

Paulliac

Chateau Clerc Milon: Medium red, toast and crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight, red cherry fruit with crisp acidity.

Chateau Lynch Bages: Dark red, tar, violets and green herbs on the nose, tight with mouth puckering tannins.

Chateau Pichon Baron: Medium red, crushed dark fruit and violet on the nose, light, juicy fruit with firm tannins and acids.

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtese de Lalande: Clear, dark red, roast meat notes on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with a moderate finish.

Saint-Emillion

Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere: Dark purple, tar and leather on the nose, chewy, meaty dark fruit, long finish on the balanced finish.

Clos Fourtet: Medium purple, sweet tar on the nose, sweet red fruit with firm , tongue coating tannins.

Chateau Grand Mayne: Opaque medium red, dark chocolate and cigarette smoke on the nose, tight and tannic.

Chateau Pavie Macquin: Medium clear purple, tar and violets on the nose, dusty, red cherry fruit, moderate to long finish with moderate tannins and acids.

Chateau Balestard La Tonnelle: Medium to light red in color with a perfume of tar, tight, silky red fruit with crisp acidity at the end.

Pomerol

Chateau Clinet: Medium purple with a pretty perfume of violets and tar, juicy dark red fruit with moderate tannins and acids on the long finish. Drinkable.

Chateau Gazin: Clear medium purple, toast notes on the nose, juicy red fruit with some earth on the firm finish, tight.

Chateau Le Bon Pasteur: Medium red, cooked berries on the nose, leather notes on the fruit, firm and nicely balanced.

Chateau La Pointe: Medium red, strawberry and graphite on the nose, toasty sweet fruit on the firm finish.

Margaux

Chateau Brane-Cantenac: Clear medium red, tree bark on the nose, dark chocolate and gritty tannins on the fruit.

Chateau Giscours: Medium red, sweet red fruit on the nose with tight sweet fruit and a firm finish.

Chateau Lascombes: Opaque dark red with a perfume of sweet cherry, tar and mint, chewy dark fruit and silky tannins with moderate acids.

Chateau Prieure-Lichine: Dark red with green herbs and red cherry on the nose, juicy followed by big tannins and moderate acid.

Chateau Dauzac: Clear medium red, pixie stick notes on the nose, juicy red fruit ending tart.

Pessac-Leognan

Domaine de Chevalier: Opaque medium red, some barnyard notes on the nose with chunky red fruit, moderate tannins and acids.

Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere: Medium opaque red, sweet black fruit on the nose with silky black, ends tart, moderate tannins and acids.

Moulis En Medoc

Chateau Maucaillou: Medium red with a perfume of turned earth, chunky and rustic, with the fruit dropping a bit but still nice balance.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau La Lagune: Medium red with dark chocolate on the nose, juicy bright red fruit ends with tart notes.

 

 

Winter Wine Crawl On Long Island

 

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It’s that time of year, after the holiday rush when things slow down a bit including social events, but not completely this is New York City after all. I decided to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon in wine country. Usually I have a theme that guides me in tasting decisions but this time around I had none. When I got to wine country I decided on Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

 

Mattebella Vineyards  46005 Main Road, Southold

Mattebella is a small, family farm whose motto is “wine, passion, craftmanship”and who make “old world style wines” using sustainable winemaking practices. To get to the tiny tasting room you walk through a garage-sale motif yard.

NV Famiglia Red Blend: 932 cases produced, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Dark purple to black in color with slate and crushed blueberries on the nose, thick and juicy with gun-metal and  dark chocolate on the balanced fruit with soft and silky tannins.

 

Lenz Winery  38355 Main Road, Peconic

Lenz winery was established in 1978 making it one of the founding fathers of the industry out east, the tasting room is an old barn. They are known for their old vine Merlot but today I sampled a Cabernet Sauvignon.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: 2014 was an excellent year on Long Island. The wine is black in color with dark chocolate and slate on the nose, thick and chunky with moderate tannins, red cherry and slate notes on the finish, an enjoyable glass of wine.

 

Pellegrini Vineyards  23005 Main Road, Cutchogue

Winery with an Italian cloister design courtyard and building with a cellar and barrel room that you can take a self tour of. You sample the wines in a two-story, cherub strewn, wood-beamed tasting room.

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate”: Dark red to black with a purple rim, roasted coffee and ripe red fruit on the nose, thick and chunky with ripe red leather notes on the fruit with moderate tannins and acids.

 

Sherwood House/Hound’s Tree Vineyards  1291 Main Road, Jamesport

Finally, a tasting room with a proper wine glass and a nice one at that. I wish that tasting rooms would realize that their wines would show better in a wine glass that wasn’t thimble sized. The cozy tasting room is in a 1870’s farm-house with a fireplace and is attached to an antique/art store so there’s always some funky artwork on the property. They serve wines from two wineries.

2016 Hound’s Tree Cabernet Sauvignon: Dark red with an amber rim, roast bacon and hazelnuts on the nose, clean, fairly neutral fruit with moderate to light tannin and acids, easy drinking.

 

 

Holiday Wine Tour Of Spain

 

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The end of the year usually brings a lull to the wine/cocktail tasting events in the city, but there is still an event or two around town to attend.

Pierre Loti is a Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar with locations in Chelsea and Union Square in Manhattan. On Sundays they usually host some sort of wine tasting.

On Sunday, December16th they hosted a holiday wine tour of Spain at their Union Square location located at 53 Irving Place. It was a sit down tasting of ten interesting Spanish wines with a nice selection from sparkling to dessert. It was a cozy room filled with people there to taste some wine and to listen to commentary from Spanish winemaker April Cullom and resident wine guy, Robin Kelley O’Connor.

It was a nice way to spend a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon.

 

White

NV Caves Torllo Brut Reserve (Penedes)

30% Macebeo, 45% Xarel-Lo, 25% Parellada: Light gold, crisp and lemony

2017 Bodega Gaintza Txakolina (Tzakoli Guetaria)

85% Hondarrabi Zuri, 10% Gros Manseng, 5% Hondarrabi Beltza: White floral nose, with lime notes on the crisp finish, fresh.

2016 Casa Abril Godello (Valdeorras)

100% Godello: Orange and stinky undertones on the nose, moderate floral fruit with nice acidity on the finish.

 

Rosé

2017 Vinos Guerra Armas de Guerra (Bierzo)

100% Mencia: Very light red in color, red cherry on the nose, cooked vegetable notes on the moderate fruit, moderate to low acids.

2017 Zestos Rosado (Madrid)

100% Free Run Garnacha: Medium copper in color, dark flower and dark cherry on the nose, juicy with firm acidity on the finish, nice balance.

 

Red

2016 Bodegas Barreda Casa Abril Coupage (Tierra de Castilla)

60% Tempranillo, 20% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque dark purple, crushed black fruit and slate on the nose, tight with cherry and roast coffee note on the firm finish with tight tannins.

2016 El Quinon Barco de Piedra (Ribero del Duero)

100% Tempranillo: Opaque dark red, dusty green herbs on the nose, dusty and tart with firm tannins.

2014 Celler Vinos Piñol Portal (Terra Alta)

50% Garnacha, 20% Carignan, 10% Merlot, 10% Syrah, 10% Tempranillo: Opaque  medium red with crushed red fruit and toast on the nose, tight moderate fruit with crisp acids.

2016 Bodegas Nekeas El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa (Navarra)

100% Old Vines Garnacha: Medium red, crushed red fruit and dark flowers on the nose, bright, tight and toasty silky red fruit, crisp finish.

2010 Bodegas Ochoa Reserva (Navarra)

55% Tempranillo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot: Opaque dark red, crushed dark fruit and ripe leather on the nose, tight, juicy fruit with a medium to long finish.

 

Dessert

2016 Bodegas Ochoa Moscatel Vendimia Tardia (Navarra)

100% Single Vineyard Late Harvest Moscatel: Light gold with a big perfume of lychee, thick, with melon notes on the moderate finish.

Bodegas Alvaro Domecq Oloroso Reserva 1730 (Jerez)

Palomino Fino Aged 30 years:  The color of chocolate milk with a perfume of gun metal, cut grass and raisons, thick and creamy, not a shy dessert wine.

 

 

Italian Heritage On Long Island

 

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Italy is one of the great wine-producing countries,vacillating between itself and France as the largest wine producer in the world. With a climate ideally suited to viticulture, wine had been a part of the country’s culture and everyday life for thousands of years. With more than 350 varieties, the peninsula is one big vineyard.

With millions of Italians migrating the New World and many to the New York City area, it was only natural that some of the ancestors of those immigrants would be a part of the burgeoning wine industry on Long Island.  

With that, Italian wine varietals are very rare at the north and south fork wineries. You would think with many varietals grown in the cooler areas of the Italian peninsula, that wine makers would adapt those grapes for Long Island. Channing Daughters Winery on the south fork grows several such as tocai friulano, lagrein, teroldego and ribolla gialla but on the north fork there is practically none grown. The only winery I remember making an effort to grow Italian varieties on the north fork was Southhold Farm + Cellars but they closed down and moved on to greener pastures in Texas.

I spent one Sunday afternoon stopping at some of the wineries owned by Italian-Americans.

 

 

Macari Vineyards  150 Bergen Avenue, Mattitiuck

Owners: Joseph and Alexandra Macari

This is one of two tasting rooms they have on the north fork. As with a typical Italian-American experience, in his youth Mr. Macari made wine with his grandfather in the basement of his grandfathers home in Corona, Queens. On this Sunday, the tasting was decked out in Christmas decorations and a good crowd of people.

2014 Red Blend “Dos Aquas” A blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Opaque dark red with a purple rim, roast coffee and crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with some hazelnut notes, moderate tannins and acids.

 

 

Raphael Vineyards  39390 Main Road, Peconic

Owners: Jack and Joan Petrocelli

A family built, owned and operated winery named for the owners father and that “continues a centuries old family tradition of winemaking”. There are tasting rooms in the north fork that are cozy and rustic but this is not one of them. This is a huge facility built to look like an Italian villa that often serves as a wedding venue.

2015 White Reserve “Primo” An interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Riesling.  Dark gold with a honeyed nose with ripe tropical fruit though dry. The wine is starting to show its age and I think it’s past its prime.

 

 

Pugliese Vineyards  34515 Main Road, Cutchogue

Owner: The Pugliese Family

One of the original wineries out East established in 1980 and family owned and operated since. They were one of the first to make sparkling wines out East and the only winery I know on Long Island that grows Sangiovese (3-4 acres). They specialize in hand painted bottles and gift baskets which are on display in the understated tasting room.

2012 Sangiovese Clear medium red, crushed red fruit, black licorice and rosemary on the nose, soft red fruit with moderate to low tannins and some tartness at the end.

 

 

 

Brooklyn Whiskey Fest

 

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On Saturday evening, December 1st I attended the Brooklyn Whiskey Festival. The event featured over 100 styles of whiskey and craft spirits that included All-American Ryes and Bourbon and locally produced whiskey from New York State in addition to Japanese Whiskey, Irish Whisky, Scotch Whisky, Tequila, Gin and Vodka. There were also some specialty spirits that were flavored with ginger, lemon and in one case, root beer.

There were many spirits both brown and clear from New York State and New York City because of the explosion of new distilleries to open in both the state and city. That’s because in the early part of the 21st century the state of New York loosened the post Prohibition rules which made it difficult to open a new distillery. The distilleries are able to take advantage of the agricultural bounty of the state to use those local products to make the various craft spirits.

There were plenty of big name labels at the event as well as small, artisanal producers pouring. To focus my efforts I avoided clear spirits and concentrated on the whiskeys, stopping for an occasional Negroni for a change of pace.

The Festival was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center located at 72 Noble Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Lately, this venue has become increasingly popular for wine and spirit events.  

Some of what I sampled:

 

American Whiskey

Bulleit: 95 rye, bourbon

Bernheim: small batch wheat whiskey

Catoctin Creek: organic rye

Copper & Kings: reserve cask brandy, bourbon

Elijah Craig: small batch bourbon

Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel: select, rye, barrel proof

Journey Man Bourbon

Jefferson’s: very small batch, ocean

Michter’s: straight rye, sour mash, American whiskey

Misunderstood: ginger spiced whiskey

Old Forester: old fine whiskey, original batch

Pine Barrens Single malt

Rough Rider: the big stick rye, bullmoose rye, straight bourbon

Rocktown Bourbon

Ragtime Rye

Taconic Distillery: straight bourbon, founders rye

Van Brunt Stillhouse: rye, bourbon

 

Others

IWAI: Japanese Mars Whisky

J. J. Corry Irish Whisky

Sexton Irish Whisky: single malt

Root Out: root beer whiskey

The Real McCoy Rum: 3yr, 5yr, 12yr

The Funk: Jamaican Pot Still Rum

Chief Gowanus Gin