Buehler Vineyards is a 4th generation run vineyard perched on a mountain East of Saint Helena in Napa Valley.
This is their entry level Cabernet Sauvignon and is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot.
2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon: Opaque dark red, red leather, red licorice and roast meat on the nose, silky dark red fruit of crushed rocks with crunchy tannins and green herb notes on the moderate to long finish.
The Frescobaldi family have been involved in the political and social life of Tuscany for over 700 years. They’ve been making wine as well.
They produce wine from their six estates in Tuscany as well as producing famous wines such as Ornellaia from outside the region.
This wine is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantitia) that comes from Rufina which is the smallest of the seven sub-zones of the Chianti region. As a Riserva it’s aged a minimum of 24 months in oak before release.
2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva:Opaque medium brick, perfume of camphor, black olives and roast meat, moderate fruit with big, silky tannins on the finish.
Beringer vineyards has been producing wine in the Napa Valley since 1876. Their tasting room is a Napa Valley landmark.
They produce a wide range of wines from budget bottlings to their flagship Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon along with several bottlings of hard to get single vineyard wines.
Their Quantum bottle is a red blend of the Bordeaux varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot with some Petit Sirah.
2015 Beringer Quantum Red Blend: Opaque dark red, violets, anise and crushed black fruit on the nose, juicy and jimmy with black licorice and slate on the moderate to long finish, good grip, some heat.
The Allegrini family has been making wine in the Veneto region of Italy since the 16th century. The most famous red wines from that area are Valpolicella and Amarone, both red blends made from indigenous grape varietals.
Allegrini produces both Valpolicella and Amarone as well as single vineyard and proprietary wines. Their Palazzo della Torre wine is stylistically somewhat in the middle of those two wines. It’s made in the “ripasso” method in which some of the grapes are set aside to partially dry out and then blended with the finished wine to undergo a second fermentation. This adds body to the wine.
Everyone likes a good glass of Pinot Noir. Unfortunately the Premier Crus and Grand Crus of Burgundy are really not priced for everyday drinking, or at least for people in my financial reality. The conventional wisdom is that cheap Pinot Noir is not worth drinking which is often true. It was great to find and drink a budget friendly Pinot Noir that was interesting enough to make for a good glass of wine.
A to Z winery sources the fruit for their wine from across Oregan. They share a tasting room with Rex Hills Winery in Newberg in the Willamette Valley and was one of the wineries I visited during my Willamette Valley wine tour a couple of years back
2016 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir: Clear medium red, red licorice on the nose, medium juicy red fruit with some herb notes on the balanced finish. Nothing too serious but very drinkable.
During the lockdown their aren’t many opportunities to attend wine/cocktail tastings as those type of social events have been shut down.
In the morning I like to start the day with a walk for some air and sunshine, and during those walks I bring my camera along. One of those walks was in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Bushwick is a neighborhood in northeast Brooklyn bordering Queens. It’s very industrial neighborhood that at one time had multiple breweries,
After a period of decline the neighborhood came back as artists took advantage of the unused commercial spaces and set up shop. Local artists began leaving their make on the buildings and now the grafiti (street art) can be viewed in this open air museum.
J Vineyards and Winery is located in Sonoma County, California.
I’m not a big fan of the old style California Chardonnay that are buttery, fruit forward with loads of tropical fruit notes. There is still that style of wine to be had if you want it but many wine makers are moving away from long oak aging in their wines. This wine had a nice balance of delicious fruit and acidity to make it interesting.
2017 Chardonnay Russian River Valley: Medium gold with greenish tints, honey, saffron and cantaloupe on the nose, medium fruit with lemon curd and cinnamon on the finish and good acidity. Very drinkable.
Cabernet Franc is one of the major red varietals of the world and the parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It is medium bodied with medium to high acidity and in its historical home, France, it is one of the grapes used in the classic Bordeaux blend and the primary red grape in the Loire region. It’s also a major grape varietal in both the Finger Lakes and Long Island wine regions of New York State.
Out in the Long Island wine region, the early (than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) ripening grape was thought to be a perfect fit for the cooler climate on the North Fork. It hasn’t dethroned Merlot as the primary grape varietal but most wineries grow it either for blending or bottling on its own.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon I took a drive to wine country to sample a few.
Roanoke Vineyards Tasting Room 165 Love Lane, Mattituck
This is their satellite tasting room as the tasting room at the winery is now members only. On a two block long commercial area with a cheese shop next door and an Italian deli across the street.
2016 Cabernet Franc: “The Twelve Rows”: 98% Cabernet Franc from the site specific Twelve Rows block. Cloudy medium purple with a purple rim, camphor, crushed red fruit, licorice and dark chocolate on the nose, bright dark fruit with raspberry notes on the crisp finish.
Bedell Cellars 36225 Main Road, Cutchogue
A family owned operation with vines planted in 1980 using sustainable farming and “artistic blending”.
2017 Cabernet Franc:From estate grown grapes fermented with indigenous yeasts, opaque black with a purple rim, cooked berries, raspberry and mike chocolate on the nose, bright red fruit with firm acidity, I thought the finish dropped a bit at the end.
Paumanok Vineyards 1074 Main Road, Aquabogue
Founded in 1983 and entirely owned and managed by Ursula and Charles Massoud, the tasting room is in a turn of the century renovated barn.
2016 Cabernet Franc:100% Cabernet Franc, opaque dark red, purple rim, slate, crushed rocks and wet dirt on the nose, bright red cherry fruit with wet earth notes on the fruit, low tannin, firm acidity, on the light side.
Cochon 555 is a “nose to tail” culinary event that covers nine cities on its U.S. tour. The organization was created in 2008 with a mission to support family farms and to educate buyers about heritage breed pigs. The signature event featured 5 chefs, 5 pigs, 5 winemakers in a friendly competition for a cause where the winner is crowned “Princess/Prince of Pork”. Sommeliers were on hand for a to pour wines and to participate in a Somm Smackdown.
The New York City leg of their tour was held on March 8th at the Altman Building event venue at 135 West 18th Street in Manhattan. The venue is a landmark building dating from 1896 and was the carriage house for the B. Altman department store.
This was one of the last events I was able to attend before the virus lockdown and fortunately it was one of those consumer events that had a good crowd enjoying a good mix of food, spirits and wine. They had oysters, cheese and steak tartare for those who were pork adverse though it seemed they didn’t get the logistics of the new venue down right, some of the lines for food were way too long and that was before general admittance was let in. But with a couple of floors of food, drink and music people were enjoying what was probably the last party that were able to attend.
This year was the 20th anniversary of La Paulée de New York which was held from March 4-7. The week included seminars, tastings and some very expensive dinners. The Grand Tasting was held on Saturday afternoon at the Pier Sixty event venue located at 60 Chelsea Piers on the far west side of Manhattan overlooking the Hudson river.
In the U. S., the festival alternates between New York City and San Francisco and showcases the latest vintage of the Burgundian wines to be released. At the Grand Tasting on Saturday afternoon over 50 wine professionals were on hand to serve the wines from over 40 domains of Burgundy. A team of top-notch chefs prepared “petits plats” for guests to nosh on while they sampled the various wines. Members of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastvin were on hand to serenade (a capella style) the wine drinkers.
The event is Restaurateur and Sommelier Daniel Johnson’s homage to the annual La Paulée de Meursault in Burgundy. That originally began as a end of harvest festival thrown by the Burgundian growers for their guests and field workers and was revived in the early twentieth century as an annual event for the growers and their guests.
The 2017 vintage was a much better year for Burgundy than Bordeaux. The later suffered through epic frost while Burgundy was able haul in the biggest crop since 2009.
This was one of those tastings that I could have spent 2-3 days tasting through all the wines. There were over 150 of some of the most famous (and expensive) wines in the world to taste. I really enjoyed the whites, in general they were very elegant and balanced wines with just enough of the tropical fruit and oak notes to make them interesting. The reds were light in color with restrained fruit and firm acids, very old world style.