Unoaked Chardonnay Long Island

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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

 

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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.

 

 

Rosé On A Boat, La Nuit en Rosé 2019

 

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La Nuit en Rosé was the “world’s first festival dedicated exclusively to summers favorite drink, rosé wine”. What began in New York City in 2014 has expanded to Los Angeles, Miami and the Hamptons.

In New York this year the festival took place on May 10-11 with an afternoon and an evening session both days. The event was held on the Hornblower yacht which is docked at Pier 40 on the Hudson River just west of Houston Street in lower Manhattan.

The yacht had three floors of rosé wines that included a VIP room on the top floor which served exclusive wines and food. The rest of the boat had plenty of rosé from around the world to keep everyone busy. Nibbles included cheeses from President cheese company, lobster rolls and oysters from the Lobster Joint and risotto from Risoteria Melotti. A DJ provided the music.

In the warmer months I enjoy a nice glass of rosé. I like to think of these wines as the sweatpants of the wine world; easy going with nothing to make a fuss about. I attended the Saturday afternoon session as I usually do and in the past the weather has not been optimal for what I would like for a day cruising the Hudson River but this afternoon was a beautiful Spring day and perfect for a cruise around lower Manhattan while sipping on a glass of rosé on deck. This is a popular event and the stylishly dressed crowd (mostly women as it turned out) enjoyed the cruise and the wines.

 

Some of the wines I sampled:

NV Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé (California)

NV Segura Viudas Brut (Spain)

2108 Gerard Bertrand JOA (France)

2018 Gerard Bertrand Gris Blanc (France)

2018 Chateau Robine La Rosé (France)

2018 Chateau Auguste (France)

2018 Chateau Berne Romance (France)

2017 Ultimate (France)

2018 Listel Grain de Gris (France)

2018 Le Roi des Pierres Sancerre (France)

2018 Barton & Guestier Reserve (France)

2018 Barton & Guestier Tourmaline (France)

2018 Mouton Cadet (France)

2018 Lu ientu (Italy)

2018 Grecia Salento (Italy)

2018 JNSQ Rosé Cru (California)

2018 Bonterra (California)

2018 Day Owl (California)

2018 Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir (California)

2018 Erath (Oregon)

 

 

Bourbon at Belmont

 

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On Saturday May 4th I attended the Bourbon at Belmont whiskey festival.

The event was held at Belmont Park which is located at 2150 Hempstead Turnpike in Elmont, just over the New York City border in Nassau County. Belmont Park is one of the remaining thoroughbred horse racing facilities in the New York City area that at one time had several. The raceway was opened in 1905 and hosts the Belmont Stakes which is the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown. The first leg of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby was held on this Saturday.

The festival was held in the Grand Stand overlooking the racetrack and featured over 30 whiskey.  Though advertised as a Bourbon event, it was an all-American (with one outlier, a Mexican distiller) whiskey event that featured many Rye and whiskey blends as well as Bourbon whiskey. In addition to whiskey, Bourbon barrel aged craft beer was served.

It was a “live” racing day with horseracing throughout the afternoon and a live simulcast of the Kentucky Derby later that afternoon. Of course while sipping on whiskey, you had the option to place a bet on any of the races.

There was a good selection of high end whiskey with a couple of new producers that I had never tried before.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Clyde May’s: Straight Rye, Straight Bourbon

Elijah Craig: Small Batch Bourbon

Finger Lakes Distilling: McKenzie Bourbon, McKenzie Bottled in Bond, McKenzie Wheated Bourbon

Hudson Whiskey: Baby Bourbon, Manhattan Rye, Maple Cask Rye

Hillrock Estate Distilling: Estate Single Malt, Solera Aged Bourbon

High West Distilling: American Prairie Bourbon, Double Rye, Campfire

Jefferson’s: Ocean Aged, Very Small Batch, Very Old Small Batch

Kings County Distilling: Straight Bourbon, Bottled in Bond

Larceny: Very Special Small Batch Bourbon

Montauk Hard Label: Original Whiskey

Russel’s Reserve: 10yr Straight Bourbon, Single Barrel Bourbon

Splinter Spirits: Slaughter House American Whiskey

Sierra Note Mexican Whiskey: Yellow, Black

Taconic Distilling: Dutchess Private Reserve, Barrel Strength Bourbon

Widow Jane Distilling: 10yr Bourbon, American Oak and Applewood Aged Rye

Whistle Pig Distilling: 10yr Straight Rye, 12yr Old World Cask Finish

Wild Turkey: Longbranch

 

 

Cochon 555 2019

 

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Cochon 555 is a culinary competition featuring heritage breed pork. The competition is a 10 city tour that stopped in New York City on Sunday April 13th.

It’s a “nose to tail” culinary event with 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 wine makers. The mission of the tour was conceived as a way “to educate buyers about the agricultural importance of eating heritage breed pigs”.

The event was held at the Weylin, a former Williamsburg Savings Bank at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s an architectural gem with a beautiful copula in the center of the room.

As far as food festivals are concerned, this is on of the better ones with good wines, spirits and pork centric dishes from local restaurants.

There were a couple of cheese tables with excellent cheeses paired with various wines. A Sommeliers table that featured a rotating selection of eclectic wines throughout the evening. Spirits made a good showing with a good selection of brown spirits with some white spirits as well. I did have a nice cannoli too.

A butchering competition had a contestant breaking down a whole hog into kitchen ready parts.