Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience 2019


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The 39th annual Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience was held on October 17-19.

The Wine Spectator magazine was founded in 1976 and is one of the premier periodicals dealing with wine and wine culture. It’s 100 point wine scoring system is highly influential and often used as a guide by consumers in determining wine quality.

The Wine Experience was three days of sit-down wine seminars and lunches, two critics’choice grand tastings and a Grand Awards banquet and Champagne reception which hosted The Beach Boys as this years musical guests.

The event this year was held at its usual venue at the Marriott Marquis hotel located in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway.

I attended the Grand Tasting on Friday evening. Without a doubt this is one of the if not the best consumer wine tastings of the year. The tasting featured two floors of 273 wineries/chateau pouring various vintages of their wines that have been rated 90 points or higher by Wine Spectator. That’s an overwhelming amount of quality juice to be had in one evening. As such, I focused my efforts as I usually do at this event with the red wines of Bordeaux and Napa Valley Cabernet.

The Critics’ Choice Grand Tastings are sponsored by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation which awards scholarships and grants to students pursuing careers in enology, viticulture, wine service and other related fields.


New World

1999 Ridge “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mtn.)  Dark brick with an amber rim, perfume of sweet red fruit, chewy red fruit with great balance.

2008 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley)  Dark red with an amber rim, black licorice on the fruit and on the firm finish.

2010 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Kathryn Hall”(Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, tree bark on the nose with concentrated sweet red fruit.

2010 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon “Hillside Select” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, earth and black cherry on the nose, silky concentrated fruit with a moderate finish.

2013 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon “Trailside Vineyard” (Napa Valley)  Medium red with a tarry, black cherry nose, silky red fruit on the nice balance.

2014 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon “RBS Beckstoffer” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, closed nose of tobacco, concentrated, silky crushed red fruit, firm finish.

2014 Hestan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)  Black in color, closed nose of raspberry, juicy, sweet black fruit with a moderate finish.

2014 Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon “Vintage Selection” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, pickle juice on the nose with chunky, dark chocolate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Harlan Estate (Napa Valley)  Dark red, closed nose of toasty dark fruit, concentrated and juicy, balanced.

2014 Bond St. Eden Red (Napa Valley)  Dark red with a brick rim, sweet roast nuts on the nose, juicy black fruit with a moderate finish

2014 Ovid Red Blend (Napa Valley)  Dark red, sweet tar and violets on the nose, chewy with roast nuts on the firm finish.

2015 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask 23” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, crushed red fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit with a firm grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon “Special  Select” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, mint and roast nuts on the nose with juicy, big fruit and a moderate finish.

2015 Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon “Pritchard Hill” (Napa Valley)  Cloudy dark red, some cooked fruit notes on the nose, chunky, chewy and dense with black licorice fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2015 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley)  Dark purple, sweet nuts on the nose, juicy dark chocolate fruit with a sweet, long finish.

2015 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot No. 1” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, sweet dried leaf on the nose, chewy and dense red cherry fruit on the moderate finish.

2015 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “The Reserve” (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, roast nuts and black fruit on the nose, mouth filling chewy licorice on the fruit with a long and balanced finish.

2016 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” (Napa Valley)  Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, dark chocolate fruit, crisp acids at the finish.

2016 Pahlmeyer (Napa Valley)  Dark red to black, dusty dark chocolate nose with dark chocolate on the fruit with crisp acids on the finish.

2016 Opus One (Napa Valley)  Medium purple, smoky red cherry on the nose, chewy red cherry fruit with lip smacking silky tannins at the end.


Old World

2004 Chateau Margaux (Margaux)  Clear medium brick, pretty nose of floral wildflowers, tight red fruit on the firm finish.

2005 Chateau Leoville Barton (St. Julian)  Cloudy dark purple to black, dried earth, oak and cooked vegetable on the nose, tight and tart.

2008 La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)  Dark red, sweet flowers on the nose, dusty, tight fruit, hard finish.

2009 Chateau Haut-Brion (Pessac-Leognan)  Dark purple, sweet red fruit and tree bark on the nose with silky red fruit and a nice grip at the end.

2009 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac)  Dark red with a brick rim, pretty nose of smoky dark tar and graphite, tight and juicy red fruit, nice balance.

2009 Chateau Canon (St. Emilion)  Dark red to black with a funky, dirty nose, tight, silky dark fruit, firm finish.

2009 Chateau Clerc Milon (Paulliac)  Dark red in color, tarry, leather on the nose, tight and crisp.

2010 Clos Fourtet (St. Emilion)  Cloudy dark purple, pretty perfume of violets and stone, chewy dark fruit with excellent balance.

2011 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Paulliac)  Dark brick, sweet nose of violets and graphite, tight, red cherry fruit with some smoked earth on the finish.

2014 Chateau Montrose (St.-Estephe)  Dark purple, stone and pencil shavings on the nose, tight red cherry fruit with lip smacking tannins.

2014 Chateau Calon-Segur (St. Estephe)  Black, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and juicy crushed black fruit with mint notes on the finish.

2014 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Paulliac)  Dark red with a purple rim, tarry nose, tight red cherry fruit, crisp acids.

2015 Chateau Pichon Baron (Paulliac)  Medium red, roasted walnuts on the nose, tight and chewy, firm.

2015 Chateau Branaire-Ducru (St. Julien)  Dark purple with black cherry tar on the nose, concentrated and dusty with firm silky tannins at the end.

2016 Chateau Duhart-Milon (Paulliac)  Medium purple with a perfume of sweet red fruit and some toast, tight, silky red fruit with a moderate balance.


2016 Gaja Barberesco (Piedmont)  Medium brick, closed nose of sweet tar and sage, tight with mouth watering tannins.



Beef & Pork


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The 12th annual Food Network New York City Food & Wine Festival was held October 10-13.

It was a four day event that featured television chefs, culinary personalities, wine and spirits with over 100 events that included dinners, hands on culinary classes and late night parties. The festival raises money for the Food Bank of New York City and for the No Kid Hungry organization.


On Saturday afternoon I attended a couple of those events and was a day of meat.

I began the day by attending the Steak and Whiskey pairing held at STK Downtown restaurant located at 26 Little West 12th street in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan. It was a sit down affair that featured four different whiskey paired with four different types of beef.

Basil Hayden’s High Rye Bourbon paired with Lil Burgers made with a propriety blend of beef, onions, special sauce, tomato and cheddar.

Suntory Whisky Toki paired with Filet Mignon and signature STK sauce.

Bowmore 12 year Single Malt paired with New York Strip steak au poivre.

Knob Creek Rye paired with boneless beef Rib Eye with truffle butter.


Right after that event and a quick stroll down the block took me to the Octoberfest event hosted by TV Chef Andrew Zimmern. It was held at The Standard High Line Biergarden which is located at the southern terminus of the High Line walk at 41 Little West 12th Street.

In was a walk-around event and befitting an Octoberfest, there were many pork-centric dishes served including Zimmern’s famous wieners. Specialty cocktails, steins of Sam Adam’s beer, Pinot Noir and Riesling from Germany, and free- flowing Jägermeister were on hand to help wash it all down with.




Oysters & Cider


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In the last week of September, I attended a couple of Autumn themed events.

On Saturday September 28th I attended the 8th annual Long Island Pour the Core hard cider festival which was held at Heckscher State Park in East Islip Long Island. That’s about a 45 minute drive East from the Queens border. This is one stop on the Pour the Core tour that included Philadelphia and Brooklyn. This was an outdoor event and it was a beautiful, sunny Autumn afternoon.

Over 100 hard ciders were poured from across the country with many from New York State. Other countries such as England, Ireland, Sweden and Spain were represented as well. There were many of the well know big brands such as Angry Orchid, Magners, and Doc’s to name a few but there were many small producers represented as well.

Many styles of cider were on hand in various degrees of dry to sweet. Many were infused with fruit flavors and it seemed that rosé ciders are very popular this year.

I prefer bone dry ciders and Bad Seed, Merchant’s Daughter and Descendant Cider Co. poured some very dry and crisp versions.

There were food trucks for the hungry and live music to keep everyone entertained on this beautiful Autumn afternoon.


The next day Sunday afternoon, I attended the Oystober Fest oyster party held at The Well at 272 Meserole Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

It was one of the many oyster related events held for the 8th annual New York oyster week from September 17-29. The events are a production of the OysterHood, a global community of oyster consumers, producers, distributers and shuckers.

The Well is a bar housed in a former brewery in a neighborhood that had many in the past and the event was held in their in the outdoor event space, the “graffiti garden”. They served a rotating selection of East and West coast oysters, freshy shucked with a choice of various  hot sauces, mignonettes and citrus juices. My favorite of the day were the St. Simon, small and plump with the right mix of sweet and salty.


Oysters that I sampled:

East Beach Blond  (Rhode Island) Miyagi  (California)
Fiddler’s Cove  (Massechusets) Kosshi  (British Columbia)
Macho Maine  (Maine) Shigoku  (Washington)
St. Simon  (New Brunswick) Capital  (Washington)
Tuxedo  (Prince Edward Island)  



Newport Mansions Wine & Food Festival 2019


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The 14th annual 2019 Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held on September 19-22 in Newport, Rhode Island.

The event was hosted by the Preservation Society of Newport county and supports historic preservation in Newport. All the proceeds from the festival go to preservation, protection and presentation of the historic homes.

It was three days of wine dinners, seminars, a Jazz brunch, an after party and a Grand Tasting. The Grand Tastings were held on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. I attended on Sunday afternoon. The events were held at the various historic homes in the area that included The Elms, Rosecliff, The Breakers and Marble House. The Grand Tastings were held at the Marble House.

These “summer cottages” were built for the wealthy industrialists of the Gilded Age in the late 19th to early 20th centuries and no expense was spared. It became sort of “arms race” among the wealthy tycoons to see who would build the more opulent mansion.  The Marble House where the Grand Tasting was held was built between 1888-1892 for William Vanderbilt as a gift for his wife’s 39th birthday at an estimated cost at the time of $11 million. To say no expense was spared would be an understatement.

The Grand Tastings were held in the backyard of the Marble House. Throughout the afternoon there were Chef demonstrations at the Culinary Stage, tasting stations with food from various local restaurants and tables full of wine and spirits scattered under the tents and on the cliffs overlooking Narraganset Bay. A notable feature in the backyard that was used as a seminar space this day was the Chinese Tea House which was modelled on a 12th century Song Dynasty temple.

The crew from Dole & Bailey, a purveyor of fine meat and fish, always have an impressive display of a massive grill with cooks mingling with the rising smoke to grill up various meats and fish for us to sample.

There were sprits from Tito’s vodka, Mount Gay rum, Brockman’s gin, Knob Creek whiskey, Don Julio tequila, hard cider from Angry Orchard and over 100 international wines. This is one of the better consumer festivals, held at a beautiful venue with some nice nibbles and lots of good wine and spirits to wash them down with. I did attend one seminar.


Seminar: Elegance and Balance; the style of Palmer & Co. Champagne

NV Brut: Steel aged, medium gold, yeasty, green apple nose, crisp and tart with a lemony finish.

NV Blanc de Blanc: Medium gold, subdued nose of brioche, more pronounced yeast and green apple notes than the Brut with  a stone, minerally finish.

NV Rosé: Medium copper, light strawberry on the nose, medium body with mushroom notes on the finish.


Some of what I sampled:

2018 Whispering Angle Rosé

2018 Cuvaison Sauvignon Blanc

2017 Chapellet Chardonnay Calesa Vineyard

2017 Cuvaison Chardonnay Napa Valley

2017 Scarpetta Friulano

2014 Seghesio Vineyards Sangiovese

2015 Seghesio Vineyards Zinfandel Home Ranch

2016 Sojourn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville

2016 Sojourn Vineyards Pinot Noir Gaps Crown

2016 Landmark Overlook Pinot Noir

2015 Smoking Gun Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2017 Olivier Leflaive Pugliny Montrachet

2016 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2015 Ferraro-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2015 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva

2011 La Macioche Brunello de Montalcino

2011 Chateau Musar Red Blend




Scarchella Music Festival


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On Saturday, September 14th the Scarsdale Business Alliance hosted the first annual Scarchella music festival which supports local charities to help fund community programs.

The festival was held in the town of Scarsdale in Westchester county which is just under an hour north of New York City via the Metro North rail line and was located in the Scarsdale village center which is conveniently located just off the train station. It’s also where Zachys wine shop is located.

It was an afternoon of live music from various local bands, food trucks for the hungry and more importantly, the Zachys wine shop sponsored Grand Tasting Wine Village.

The wine shop has a good reputation for throwing good wine tastings so I had high hopes for the event. It did not disappoint and was well worth the fee that was charged for the quality of the wines that were offered this afternoon. There were a couple of quirks under the tent this afternoon. One was that none of the vendors pouring provided water to rinse out a wine glass, and the other was that you weren’t allowed (by State law apparently) to use your own wine glass. I always bring a proper wine glass with me when I go to consumer events because I know that sometimes the “glassware” consists of plastic wine glasses as it was in this case. Who knew?

In any case there were some nice wines poured this afternoon while being serenated with live music.


As usual I like to start the day with some Champagne.

2009 Dom Perignon Blanc de Blanc

2008 Louis Roederer Cristal

NV Deutz Classic Brut, Brut Rosé

Over 100 wines poured, some highlights:

2016 Dominus Estate Napanook: Decanted. Dark red, dried leaf on the nose, concentrated dark fruit, balanced, long finish.

2015 Spring Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon: Decanted. Dark red to black, crushed red berry and mint on the nose, concentrated with some oak on the firm finish.

2016 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon: Decanted. Cloudy dark red, crushed black berry on the nose, concentrated, dark dusty, firm fruit.

2016 Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia: Medium purple, green herbs and black olives on the nose, tight, smoky fruit and a peppery finish that drops a bit at the end.

2016 Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva: Medium amber, tar nose, silky red fruit, dusty, firm finish.

2016 Castellare di Castellina Poggia Ai Merli: Dark red with a purple rim, cooked fruit on the nose, thick and dusty.

2015 I Greppi Greppicaia Bolgheri Superiore: Medium red, sweet cherry on the nose, dusty black cherry on the firm finish.

2015 Barone Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione: Light red, sweet cherry nose with sweet red fruit on the moderate finish.

2014 Ridolfi Brunello di Montalcino: Light amber, sweet tar on the nose, silky sweet fruit on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Poggio Antica Brunello di Montalcino: Light amber, closed nose of tar, tight with big tannins.

2016 Fattoria Le Pupille Saffedi: Dark red, sweet tar and leather on the nose, starts juicy ending tight and tannic.

2016 Louis Jadot Gevrey Chambetin Poissenots: Medium red, toast and tree bark on the nose, foral,silky red fruit with great balance.

2008 Duhart Milon Rothschild: Medium red, amber rim, sweet perfume, minty black fruit, tight and crisp with dried leaf notes on the finish.

2016 Duhart Milon Rothschild: Medium purple, pretty perfume of tree bark and dark fruit, silky red licorice fruit with crushed nuts on the firm but balanced finish.

2016 Haut Bailly: Medium purple, dusty dried leaf on the nose, tight and concentrated, firm finish.

2010 Marquis de Murrieta Ygay Gran Reserva Limited Edition: Medium red, sweet red tar on the nose, red fruit with a firm, balanced finish.



Pig Island 2019


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The 10th annual Pig Island BBQ fest was held on September 7th.

The event was held on the waterfront at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook Brooklyn. The neighborhood of Red  Hook is an old industrial waterfront area that in the 1990’s Life magazine called “one of the worst neighborhoods in the United States”. That has changed as the neighborhood has been going to a resurgence. Box stores such as IKEA and Fairway have made their way into the neighborhood and many of the warehouses have been converted to galleries, artists lofts, breweries and distilleries.

The event was produced by the Food Karma Project helmed by Jimmy Carbone who along with Josh Ozersky conceived Meatopia back in 2010. That wanted a farm to table event using pigs from small farmers.

With the cancellation of the Big Apple BBQ block party this year, this event was the premier bbq event of the year in New York and “the last great bbq event of the Summer”.

I attended after a two year hiatus. The park is on the waterway with expansive views of the harbor most of the way around. It was a big outdoor bbq with people and families spreading blankets on the grass while strolling from vendor to vendor.

Since my last visit more spirit vendors were in attendance this time around. Some of the interesting ones was Irish Whiskey from Kilbeggan and Tyrconnell which had a wide range of whiskey styles that I didn’t think Irish whiskey had. There were some nice single malts from Laphroaig, Auchentoshan and Bowmore, a couple of nice rye from Ragtime Rye and Knob Creek was on hand to make a smoked to order Old Fashioned.

When general admission was let in some of the food lines grew long, it seems that there’s a hierarchy of bbq vendors and some of the lines were longer than others.


BBQ to be sampled: 

Puerco a lo Cubano Vietnamese Larb
The Foxy Burger Mixiotes de Puerco
Apple Cider Brined Hog Pulled Pork Tacos
Puerco Ahumado Smoked Chorizo
Half Pig Porcetta BBQ Pigtail
Pulled Pork Bacon Cups Roasted Pernil



International Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2019


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On August 24th I attended the 8th annual International WineFest held at the Golden Nugget hotel and casino.

The Golden Nugget casino along with Harrah’s and the Borgata are in the Marina district of Atlantic City in New Jersey. That’s about a couple of miles from the famous boardwalk where the bulk of the casinos are located.

Originally, seven years ago the festival began as the Cal-Ital wine festival. It had paired Italian along wines with California wineries of Italian heritage. Some of those included Sbragia, Mondavi, Sebastiani, Seghesio, Peroncelli and Louis Martini to name a few. Italian immigrants had brought over their wine culture and wine making skills to the early winemaking industry in California. It was an exciting concept and they poured some nice juice.

Unfortunately I believe the organizers of the event found that concept too limiting for a large wine event so they segued into an international festival theme which gave them more product to bring into the fest.

The Wine Fest was a two day event with the grand tasting on Saturday evening which I attended. Over 100 wines from the wine producing countries of the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia were poured.

While there were no trophy wines present, it was a good opportunity for a neophyte wine drinker to experience a broad range of international wines and styles. The room was never overcrowded and there was never a long wait for a pour of wine.

Along with live music, a buffet and their signature attractive wine ambassadors pouring, it made for a fun evening of drinking wine before you got back to the business of gambling.


I was in a Champagne drinking mood that evening so my go to drink for the night was Champagne.

Paul Goerg: Brut reserve, blanc de blanc , brut  .

Pol Couronne’s: Brut cuvee, blanc de blanc, brut rosé.


Some others I sampled:

Robert Mondavi: Bourbon barrel aged Cabernet Sauvignon, barrel aged Chardonnay, rum barrel aged Merlot.

Rodney Strong: Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Vallery estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Merlot.

Francis Coppola: Sofia Rosé, Diamond Collection Oregon Pinot Noir.

Heavy Weight: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Knockout Red.

Smoke Tree: Rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

Dancing Crow: Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel.

19 Crimes: Hard Chardonnay, Shiraz, The Warden, Red Blend.

Oyster Bay: Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Barossa Valley GSM.

Perrin: Cote du Rhone Rosé, Cote du Rhone Villages Rouge, Vinsobre Les Cornuds.

Louis Jadot: Macon Villages Blanc, Rosé, Beaujolais Villages.

Cavaliere D’Oro: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva.

Laurennz V: Friendly Gruner Veltlener, Charming Gruner.

Quinta Do Crasto: Douro White, Douro Red.

Montes: Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon.