Cochon 555 New York 2018

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Cochon 555 is a multi-city culinary tour to “further the conversation of heritage pigs on dinner tables across the nation” and whose goal is to “support family farmers and to educate influencers ultimately making them a better, more knowledgeable teacher”.

The 14 city tour kicked off in New York City on January 21 with a “friendly competition for a cause” featuring 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers.

The event was held at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi at 851 6th Avenue in Manhattan and showcased pork centric dishes from local restaurants (and the outlier steak tartare bar) and competitions that involved bartenders, sommeliers and butchers.

Of course to wash all that down were punches, Manhattans from the Manhattan Project and international wines some of which included:

 

2016 Mariotti Campi Rosato

2015 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc

2015 Ronco dei Tassi Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge

2005 Marquis de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva

 

 

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Matter of Taste New York 2017

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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate presented its Matter of Taste wine event on Sunday, December 3rd. It was the final event of the year of their global tasting series that had similar events held in London, Singapore and Macau. This year’s theme was The Ultimate Cult Cabernets and Champagne and featured over 300 wines rated 90 points or more by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

The event was held at the Conrad hotel located at 102 North End Avenue in lower Manhattan and was a walk-around tasting with a couple of seminars thrown in.

Wines were offered from many of the wine-producing countries of the world but the stars of the afternoon were the Cult Cabernets from California. There were many high-end wines from Washington State as well. As with tastings of this size I had to focus my efforts and that focus was on the California wines. Without a doubt this was one of the best tastings of the year with a copious amount of the best wines from California available for tasting.

Some of what I sampled:

California

2014 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose with chewy, cocoa and tobacco fruit on the nice balance.

2013 Blackbird Vineyards Paramour Proprietary Red (Napa Valley). Mostly Cabernet Franc, black in color, graphite on the nose, tight with teeth coating tannins at the end.

2014 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Ganymede” (Napa Valley). Black, warm cooked fruit on the nose, concentrated and thick with green herbs on the finish, moderate tannins and acids.

2013 Chimney Rock Cabernet Sauvignon “Tomahawk” (Napa Valley). Black, crushed black fruit and sage on the nose, concentrated with firm tannins, moderate acidity.

2013  Chimney Rock “Elevage” (Stags Leap District). Bordeaux blend, Black with a sweet perfume of violets and cooked ripe fruit, tight and concentrated black fruit with a good grip on the balanced finish.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate on the nose, chewy, dark chocolate fruit with silky, firm tannins.

2015 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon “Hirondelle Estate” (Napa Valley). Black, green vegetable nose, black fruit, firm finish, nice balance

2014 DuMol Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Dark purple, green herbs on the nose, concentrated with nice balance.

2011 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Dark red to black, green herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with tobacco notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2012 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mt). Black with green herbs and dark chocolate on the nose, dusty, firm, with cocoa notes on the balanced finish.

2015 Gemstone Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Alluvial Selection” (Napa Valley). Dark purple with tobacco and green herbs on the nose, chewy with moderate tannin and acids.

2013 Hertelendy Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Black in color, cinnamon spice on the nose, tight and concentrated with silky tannins and coffee notes on the nicely balanced finish.

2014 Hertelendy Audère Red Blend (Napa Valley). Black, sweet black cherry on the nose, concentrated and tight with big tannins.

2014 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black in color, roasted nuts on the nose with tight, silky red fruit with tobacco notes on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 Laurel Glen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Estate” (Sonoma). Black with a perfume of black leather, chewy and chunky with a nice balance.

2014 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon “Solari” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of tree bark, concentrated and juicy with a balanced finish.

2013 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley). Black, dark chocolate and dark red fruit on the nose, dusty, cocoa and nice silky tannin on the fruit.

2014 Martin Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Collector’s Reserve” (Napa Valley). Dark red with graphite and fresh herbs on the nose, dusty slate notes on the concentrated fruit, nice grip.

2015 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “Animo” (Napa Valley). Dark purple, plum and green herbs on the nose, deep red fruit with a moderate to long finish.

2013 Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon “M” (Napa Valley). Single vineyard Cabernet, dark purple to black, graphite and dark chocolate on the nose, firm and balanced on the long finish.

2013 Mauriston Wines Cabernet Sauvignon “Suther” (Sonoma). Dark purple with a perfume of smoky violets, dusty black cherry fruit ending with teeth coating tannins.

2014 Newton Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Dark red to black, sweet black fruit on the nose, green herb notes on the concentrated fruit, drops a bit at the end.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mtn). Black with a perfume of mint, tar and crushed sweet black fruit, juicy, crushed fruit, moderate acidity, tasty.

2004 O’Shaughnessy Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, sweet perfume of plums and toast, dusty concentrated, firm finish.

2014 Quintessa Winery Red Blend (Napa Valley). Bordeaux blend, dark purple, green herbs on the nose, juicy fruit with nice balance and a long finish.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Monte Rosso” (Napa Valley). Black, camphor, black fruit on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit ending with firm tannins.

2013 Sbragia Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Godspeed Vineyard” (Sonoma). Black, big perfume of mint, tight and concentrated with toast notes on the firm finish.

2013 Sojourn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Vineyard George III” (Napa Valley). Dark red, fresh herbs on the nose, dusty black fruit with a nice finish.

2014 Sojurn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville). Medium red, closed nose of spice with dusty red fruit and a long finish.

2010 Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon “MM Vineyard” (Napa Valley). Black with tobacco and red cherry on the nose, chewy tobacco notes on the balanced fruit.

Others

2010 Chateau Phelan-Segur (St-Estephe). Dark red, nice perfume of tar, tight dark fruit with silky tannins on the moderate to long finish.

2008 Ducru Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Dark red, camphor and petroleum on the nose with concentrated dark fruit with a grip of bitter black cherry at the end.

2014 La Croix de Beaucaillou (St-Julien). Medium red with herbs and toast on the nose, bell pepper notes on the moderate fruit and firm tannins.

 

CiderFeast Brooklyn 2017

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Cider Week in New York was on October 20-29. It was a week of cider and cider themed events at various venues and restaurants across the city.

CiderFeast was held on Saturday afternoon on October 28th at The Brooklyn Kitchen, “a radical cooking school on a mission to teach people to cook like grown-ups”. It’s located at 100 Frost Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

CiderFeast was hosted by Edible Brooklyn magazine and presented by Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy’s Nº 43 restaurant who has run many food and spirit events.

It was a walk-around tasting of over 20 local and international ciders with a live band providing the music and some really excellent cheeses from Bardwell Farms, an artisan cheese producer from Vermont and from Murray’s cheese shop.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Angry Orchard (NY State). The usual mass-produced cider you get on tap at a bar, they also make small production unique ciders such as the trio that was served here: Understood in Motion 01, EDU and Wooden Sleeper.

Diner Brewing Co. (NY State). This guy brought a tub of bottles with no labels since they were all experimental ciders including one made with Miso. He also brought over some home-grown Sicilian figs.

Descendant Cider Co. (NY State). New York City’s first cider company located in Queens. They poured their limited reserve ciders: Descendant Dry, English Kills and Wilderness.

Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider (NY State). Some of their offerings included specialty unfiltered and bottled conditioned ciders such as The Last Blacksmith and Northern Spy.

Barrika (Spain). Basque cider, the guy who was pouring made a show of it by pouring the cider from a glass carafe while holding it high above the drinking glass. He was a hit.

Bembel With Care (Germany). In addition to straight cider they served ciders flavored with cola and cherry (kirsh). The German guy pouring liked to crush the empty cans and soon the table was full of crushed cans.

Black Duck Cidery Woody (NY State). This is their barrel fermented cider.

Others I sampled:

EZ Orchards Roman Beauty Cider (Oregon)

Urban Farm Fermentory wild fermented ciders (Maine).

Austin Eastciders (Texas)

Downeast Cider (Massachusetts)

Farnum Hill Cider Extra Dry (New Hampshire)

Aval (France)

Aspall Dry (England)

Craigies Cider Ballyhook Flyer (Ireland)

 

 

Chefs & Champagne 2017

 

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This past Saturday afternoon, July 29th I attended the James Beard Foundation’s annual Chefs & Champagne Summer tasting party held at Wölffer Estate Winery in Sagaponack, just east of the town of Bridgehampton on the south fork of Long Island.

The event raises funds for the philanthropic work of the foundation and this years honoree was Chef, author and philanthropist, Marcus Samuelsson.

There were 40+ Chefs serving tastings of their signature dishes to be washed down with wine and cider from Wölffer Estate, beer from Ommegang Brewery and cocktails from Tito’s vodka. This year the free-flowing Champagne was provided by Barons de Rothchild which poured their Brut and Rosé.

The weather looked liked it might be a factor this year with dark clouds looming on the horizon in the morning but the day turned into a gorgeous, comfortable afternoon, unlike the sweltering sauna-like conditions of last year.

 

Some of the bites I sampled:

Greg Baxtrom  Olmstead: Radish Top Gazpacho

Matt Abdoo  Pig Beach: Deviled Eggs with Country Ham Salad

Jefferey McInnis/Janine Booth  Root & Bone: Shrimp and Grits with Melted Tomato, Charred Corn, Pickled Onions and Bacon-Beer Jus

Domicic Rice Calissa:  Montauk Fluke Crudo with Watermelon Finger Limes, Pickled Watermelon Rind, Radishes, Sesame Seeds, Olives and Basil

Galen Zamarra  Mas Farmhouse: Trout Piscator

Daniel Skurnick  Le CouCou: Le Crêment d’ Anjou with Local Goat Cheese and Summer Berries

Stephen Bogardus  The North Fork Table and Inn: Chilled Sweet Corn Mousseline with Fermented Berries

Graeme Cockburn  Windstar Cruise: Seared Oak-Smoked Salmon

P.J. Calupa  The Spainard: Lobster Filane Toasts with Charred Corn, Crème Fraiche and Tarragon

Britt-Marie Culey  Coquette Pattisserie: Smoked Ohio Peaches-Elderflower Crémeux with Champagne Chartogne-Taillet Rosé Aspic

Andy D’Amico  Nice Martin: Moroccan Shrimp Burger

Brian Cheewing  Wölffer Kitchen: Montauk Tuna Tacos with Avocado Puree and Pineapple Salsa

Oliver Lange  Zume: Wagyu Beef Tartare with Saikyo Miso Bun and Australian Winter Truffle 

Marcus Samuelsson  Red Rooster: Jerk Pork Belly with Stone Fruit, Pickled Cabbage and Cornbread Crisp

Bryan Hunt  Fowler & Wells: Hamachi with Celery and Sea Urchin Lemon Posset with  Blueberries and Cornmeal Cake

 

 

Speedrack NYC Finals Season 6

 

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Speedrack is a speed-bartending competition for women.  There are eight regional competitions held in Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Boston with the finale held here in New York City. The winner would be crowned Miss Speedrack of 2017. The competition have the bartenders making specialty cocktails very quickly, to be judged by a panel of cocktail experts not only for speed but for deliciousness of the final product. Proceeds from the event go to breast cancer research,  education and prevention.

The finale took place May 21st at the Weylin event space located at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The event space, which is across the street from the iconic steakhouse Peter Luger, is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank. Built in 1875 back in the day when banks were built to impress with its cathedral-like frescoed dome, mosaics and wooden carvings, is an impressive venue for an event.

As befitting a cocktail competition, there were many cocktail stations scattered around the room with bartenders mixing specialty drinks using high end spirits and liquors.

The final pitted bartender Elyse Blechman from Texas against bartender Mony Bunni from Chicago. Ms Bunni won.

Some of the cocktails I sampled:

 

Negroni: The classic, 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari

Bust-Ed Punch: Jameson Black Barrel, lemon juice, pineapple juice, Monin cinnamon syrup, Lustau Manzanilla sherry.

Count of Mount Kisco: Averell Damson gin, Salers Gentian aperitif and Dolin Dry vermouth de Chambery.

“Haus” Negroni: Royal Dock navy strength gin, Cappelletti aperitivo and Cocchi vermouth di Torino.

The Hot Whisper: Singani 63, lime juice, jalepeno juice, cucumber juice and Perrier.

Moonwalk: Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, grapefruit juice, rose water and Champagne.

Pisco Paloma Punch: Olmeca Altos Reposado, grapefruit juice, lime, ancho reyes, GH Mumm Champagne.

“The Independent Ginger” Punch: The perfect puree ginger sour, the perfect puree blood orange, ruby red grapefruit juice and lime flavored seltzer.

 

 

Great Wines Of Italy 2017 Tour

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James Suckling is a wine and cigar critic who sponsored the Great Wines of Italy Tour. In 2016 the tour was international and stopped by the cities of Hong Kong, Bangkok and Phuket, this year the tour will take them to Miami, Beverly Hills and San Francisco. On March 8th it was New York City’s turn.

The event was held at the Frank Gehry designed IAC building at 555 West 18th Street on the far west side of Manhattan. You can’t miss the very unique and distinctive building with its wavy, white glass design.

The event had over 150 Italian wineries serving 92+ point wine wines handpicked by Mr. Suckling. Most of the wine regions of Italy were represented but I concentrated my tastings on Piedmont and Tuscany.

Some of what I sampled:

 

2012 Fattoria Del Cerro Vino Nobile di Montepulciano “Riserva”

2010 & 2012 Cordella Brunello di Montalcino

2011 La Poderina Brunello di Montalcino

2012 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

2012 Aletesino Brunellod di Montalcino “Montosoli”

2011 Carparzo Brunello di Montalcino “Riserva”

2011 Carparzo Brunello di Montalcino “La Casa”

2012 Fattoria La Leccaia Brunellod di Montalcino

2012 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino

2012 Poggio Antico Brunello di Montalcino “Altero”

2011 Il Bosco di Grazia Brunello di Montalcino

2012 Il Bosco di Grazia Brunello di Montalcino

2014 Tommasi Valpolicella “Rafael”

2012 Tommasi Amarone

2010 Pra Amarone

2011 Masi Riserva “Costasera”

2011 Masi Brolo Campofiorin “Oro”

2011 Aldo Conterno Barolo “Cicala”

2012 Rocche dell” Annuziata Barolo

2012 Fontanafredda Barolo “Serralunga”

2012 Sordo Barolo “Parussi”

2012 Sordo Barolo “Monvigliero”

2012 Pio Cesare Barolo

2011 Cascina Bruciata Barberesco Riserva “Rio Sordo”

2014 Orenellaia

2014 Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia

2013 Viticcio Chianti Classico “Riserva”

2013 Viticcio Chianti Classico “Gran Selezione”

2013 Fattoria Le Pupille “Poggio Valenti”

2013 Fattoria Le Pupille “Saffredi”

2013 Ceralti “Alfeo”

2013 Petra “Potenti”

 

 

Union Des Grands Cru De Bordeaux 2017: Philadelphia

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The Union des Grands Cru des Bordeaux is a French organization established in 1973 to promote and introduce the Cru wines of Bordeaux. These are the top-tier of the wine hierarchy of the 10,000 Chateau in the 57 appellations of the Bordeaux wine region. Every January they travel to the United States to various cities conducting tastings for the trade and consumer showcasing the current vintage that’s being released. This year that would be the 2014 vintage. While the wines are still young at this stage, it’s a great opportunity to taste how the that particular vintage was.

In New York City they hold their trade and consumer tastings on the third Monday in January. The last year I was able to attend was in 2014 and I would not have been able to attend the event this year. Fortunately for me this year, for the first time they held a tasting on Sunday afternoon, January 22 in Philadelphia. I did not want to miss this opportunity so it was time for a road trip to Philadelphia to visit historical sites such as the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall, eat a cheesesteak for lunch then spend the rest of the afternoon with some good Bordeaux. The tasting was held at The Rittenhouse hotel located at 210 West Rittenhouse Square.

I didn’t do research on the 2014 to influence my tasting. No one would have confused this tasting with a tasting of Napa Valley Cabernet. After trying most of the wines, I would have guessed that 2014 was a very cool and wet vintage for Bordeaux. In general the wines had pretty aromas but tight fruit with sour cherry notes, crisp acids and mouth coating tannins. I know the wines are way too young now and would love to sample in ten years but they are hard as nails now.

 

Pomerol

Chateau La Cabanne: Medium red with a brick rim, sweet red candy and cooked asparagus on the nose, tight and dusty, finish drops.

Chateau Clinet: Dark red, perfume of sweet fruit and fresh herbs, crisp acid, finish drops a bit.

Chateau Gazin: Dark red, sweet fruit with barnyard notes on the nose, silky, moderate fruit, moderate finish.

Pauillac

Chateau Clerc Milon: Dark red with a purple rim, pretty perfume of violets, tight with oak notes on the fruit with firm tannins and acids at the end.

Chateau Grand-Puy-Lacoste: Dark red, turpentine on the nose, tight.

Chateau Lynch-Bages: Black red, purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, tight, firm finish, some heat at the end.

Chateau D’Armailhac: Dark red to black, warm fresh herbs on the nose, silky red cherry fruit, nice balance. One of my favorites of the night.

Margaux

Chateau Cantenac Brown: Dark red, crushed dark fruit on the nose, tight and tart.

Chateau Desmirail: Dark red with a sweet perfume with notes of tree bark, tight, tannin with citrus acids.

Saint-Julien

Chateau Beychevelle: Dark red with a perfume of sandalwood, tight, with oak notes on the silky fruit, smooth tannins on the moderate finish.

Chateau Gruaud Larose: Medium red, smoky dark fruit on the nose with oak notes on the fruit.

Chateau Talbot: Black in color, crushed black fruit and mint on the nose, nice balance.

Chateau Leoville Poyferre: Dark red to black, nice perfume of violets, silky red cherry fruit followed by a mouthful of tannin.

Chateau Gloria: Dark red to black, toasted notes on the nose, tight, concentrated fruit.

Saint-Estephe

Chateau Phelan Segur: Dark purple, burnt wood notes on the nose, tight, tart.

Chateau Cos Lobory: Dark purple, dusty, crushed black fruit on the nose, dusty, oak notes on the fruit and finish.

Saint-Emilion

Clos Fourtet: Dark red to black with a purple rim, closed nose of tree bark, red cherry fruit, moderate finish, crisp acids.

Chateau Canon La Gaffellier: Dark red, perfume of violets and Asian spices, silky toasty fruit, moderate to long finish.

Chateau Canon: Dark red, purple rim, closed nose, tight, moderate fruit, balanced finish.

Pessac-Leognan

Chateau Haut-Bailly: Medium red, tar and pencil shavings on the nose, tar notes on the tight fruit.

Chateau Malartic: Black with a purple rim, smoky cooked vegetables on the nose.

Chateau Pape Clement: Dark red to black, perfume of sweet fruit with concentrated red fruit, moderate finish.

Chateau Olivier: Dark red with red melon and tea notes on the nose, red cherry and earth on the moderate finish.

Haut-Medoc

Chateau Coufran: Dark red, closed nose, sour cherry fruit, tannic.

Chateau La Lagune: Dark red, red cherry, pencil shavings on the nose, tart red cherry fruit, mouth coating tannin.

Chateau Cantemerle: Dark red, purple rim, chocolate on the nose, tight fruit, big tannins on the finish.

Chateau de Camensac: Dark purple, sweet perfume of cigar box, moderate fruit, nice grip.

Listrac-Medoc

Chateau Clarke: Dark red to black, barnyard notes on the nose, dense, silky fruit, nice grip at the end finishing with mouth coating tannin.