2016 Buehler Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

 

 

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.

 

2015 Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva

 

 

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. 

 

 

2015 Beringer “Quantum” Red Blend

 

 

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 BlendOpaque 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. 

 

 

2016 Allegrini “Palazzo della Torre” Red Blend

 

 

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.

 

2016 Palazzo della Torre

40% Corvina Veronese, 30% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese

Clear dark red in color, perfume of violets and dark cherry, dusty red fruit with gunmetal notes with bitter dark cherry and dark chocolate notes on the finish. 

 

 

2016 A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir Oregon

 

 

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

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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. 

 

 

Bushwick Street Art

 

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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.

 

 

2017 J Vineyards Chardonnay Russian River Valley

 

 

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. 

 

 

The Other Cabernet On Long Island

 

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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 2020

 

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 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.

 

La Paulée de New York 2020

 

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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.

Some of what I sampled:

2017 Vintage

Domaine Etienne Sauzet

Puligny Montrachet: Light gold, closed nose lemon curd, nicely balanced fruit.

Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres: Light gold, nose of fresh herbs, moderate fruit with a firm but juicy finish.

Bienvenues Bâtard Montrachet: Light gold, spicy cinnamon on the nose, moderate fruit with a firm, balanced finish. 

Domaine Roulot

Meursault “A Mon Plasir” Clos du Haut Tesson: Light gold with tropical notes on the nose, earthy, tart fruit, good balance. 

Domaine Bernard Moreau

Chassagne Montrachet: Light gold, tropical nose, dusty, tropical notes on the fruit, nice balance. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Vergers: Light gold, rosemary and tropical fruit on the nose, moderate fruit, pineapple, firm and balanced finish. 

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Morgeot: Medium to light gold, cinnamon and tropical fruit notes on the nose, fruit forward, drops at the end. 

Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey

Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, tropical fruit and cinnamon on the nose, minerally with crisp acids at the end.

Bâtard Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, tropical fruits and cinnamon on the nose with tropical fruit notes and lemon on the long finish. 

Olivier Laflaive

Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru Abbaye de Morgeot: Medium gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose with tropical fruit notes on the nice balance.

Meursault 1er Cru Blagny Sous le Dos d’Ane: Medium gold, toasty nose, lemon tart fruit with a firm finish. 

Bouchard Pere & Fils

Chevalier Montrachet Grand Cru: Medium gold, mashed peaches on the nose, moderate peachy fruit, great balance. 

Beaune 1er Cru Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus: Light brick, red leather on the nose, green herb notes on the balanced and long finish.

Joseph Drouhin

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Blanc: Light gold, toasted pineapple on the nose, moderate tropical fruit with oak notes, nice finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Mouches Rouge: Clear light red, pretty perfume of spicy berries, silky fruit with a nice balance.

Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru: Clear light red, spicy perfume with oak notes on the light fruit. 

Domaine Genot-Boulanger

Meursault 1er Cru Les Boucheres: Light gold, spicy tropical fruit on the nose, spicy, juicy fruit, long finish. 

Domaine de Montille

Meursault 1er Cru Les Poruzots: : Light gold, green herbs and tropical fruit on the nose, juicy fruit with lime notes, good balance. 

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Light gold, toast and tropical fruit on the nose, toasty lime fruit, crisp finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Les Sizies: Light red, red leather nose, silky red fruit and red leather notes on the firm finish.

Louis Jadot

Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru: Medium gold, sweet candy and toast on the nose, juicy with a firm finish. 

Beaune 1er Cru Aux Cras: Light red, roasted earth on the nose, dusty, juicy fruit with firm acids at the finish. 

Domaine Yvon Clerget

Clos Vougeot Grand Cru: Light to medium red, floral nose with sweet fruit and a tight finish.

Domaine Nicolas Rossignol

Volnay: Light purple, dried leaves on the nose, crushed rock on the fruit, good grip.

Domaine Jean Grivot

Nuits Saint Georges 1er Cru Ronciere: Light brick, dried herbs on the nose, medium body fruit with good balance and a long finish. 

Domaine Hudelot-Baillet

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, black licorice on the nose, juicy fruit with a nice balance.

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras: Clear medium red, toasty tar on the nose, silky fruit and nicely balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Clear medium red, tarry black fruit on the nose with silky red fruit and a firm balanced finish. 

Domaine Comte Georges de Vogue

Chambolle Musigny Vielles Vignes: Clear medium red, sweet perfume of strawberries with a tight and silky finish. 

Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru: Clear medium purple, pretty nose of sweet, dried herbs, juicy red leather on the fruit, nice balance.

Bonnes Mares Grand Cru: Medium brick, red leather and herbs on the nose, silky red fruit on the firm and balance finish.

Domaine Dujac

Morey Saint Denis: Light red, red leather nose with moderate juicy fruit, balanced. 

Clos de la Roche Grand Cru: Light red, dried herbs on the nose, dusty red fruit with firm, mouth watering tannins at the finish.

Domaine Duroché

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Lavaut St Jacques: Clear light purple, damp earth and rosemary on the nose with strawberry notes on the fruit ending with firm acidity. 

Echezeaux Grand Cru: Clear light red, strawberry and earth on the nose, red cherry fruit with rosemary notes on the finish. 

Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier

Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Cherbaudes: Light clear red, earth and herbs on the nose, silky finish with some heat at the end.