Côte du Rhône Festival

 

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The debut Côte du Rhône festival was held on June 23rd and promised to be “a free flowing wine and food experience in Manhattan”.

The event was held at the event space Second at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting with a French wine bar theme. There were also a couple of seminars thrown in. To accompany the generous quantity of wines that were served were pates, terrines, salumi, mussels, cheeses and pasta.

The Rhone is the second largest wine appellation in France and the Rhone AOC was established in 1937. The appellation is divided the into four classifications; Cote du Rhone, Cote du Rhone Villages, Cote du Rhone Villages + a village name and Cru wines which come from 17 defined crus.

The region is coming off of a couple outstanding vintages of 2015 & 2016 and I’ve tried some nice wines from across the classifications at every Rhone tasting that I’ve been to this year.  Viognier based whites are in general lush with peach and tropical fruit notes while the rest of the whites have nice minerality and floral notes. The reds have nice concentration with meaty notes on the Syrah based North Rhone reds with red fruit and earth notes and approachable tannins on the rest.

They hosted a Trade/Media tasting in the afternoon and opened the doors for the consumers later that evening, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

Fall Food & Wine Festa At Eataly

 

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On Friday October 5th I attended the Eataly Fall Food & Wine Fest which was held at the downtown store at 4 World Trade Center. That’s second Eataly to open in New York City, the first in 2010 at the former Toy Building on 5th Avenue in the Flatiron neighborhood of Manhattan. I’ve been to the Flatiron store many times but this was my first visit to the downtown store. Both stores are food theme parks where you can spend the entire day wandering around the store aisles eating and drinking.

Eataly is an Italian marketplace and mega store founded in 2007 in a former vermouth factory in Turin, Italy (A store I’ve been to). They now have stores worldwide and in Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston.

The food and wine festa featured over 40 regional Italian wines which were paired with small dishes from specific regions in Italy. I was an interesting mix of wines from several appellations and not surprisingly given the venue, the food was excellent.

I like the way the tasting was laid out. Instead of everyone crammed into a room, the wine and food stations were sprinkled throughout the store so you would have to stroll throughout the store to sample everything.

Some of my favorites:

 

Eats

Gnocchi con salsiccia e cime di rapa (Friuli) Gnocchi with sausage and broccoli rabe. (very delicious)

Halibut Barcaccia (Calabria) Halibut marinated in red wine vinegar, ginger and lime with Calabrian chilis. (loved the sweet, sour, salty combo on this)

Polenta Fritta (Trentino) Fried polenta with Parmigiano and rosemary.

Octopus Barcaccasi (Sardegna) Octopus marinated in extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar with potato, celery, chili flakes and sea salt.

Pane con Fonduta (Liguria) Housemade bread with a Parmigiano and Fontina dip.

 

Wines

Barone Pizzini: 2014 Saten Franciacorta,  NV Anima Extra Brut

Altesino: 2016 Rosso IGT,  2016 Rosso di Montalcino

Castello de Neive: 2013 Dolcetto d’Alba,  2015 Barberesco

Secodo Marco: 2013 Valpolicella Ripasso,  2011 Amarone

Boroli: 2012 Barolo Classico,  2012 Barolo Vittero

Tua Rita: 2016 Rosso dei Notri,  2014 Perlato del Bosco

Rainoldi: 2017 Rosso di Valtellina,  2017 Grumello

Colle Massari: 2014 Montecucco Riserva

Galardi: 2012 & 2013 Terra di Lavoro

 

 

 

Newport Mansions Wine & Food Fest 2018

 

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The Newport Mansions Food & Wine Festival was held on September 20-23 in Newport, Rhode Island which is a three-hour drive north of New York City. It was four days of wine dinners, seminars and a grand tasting. The grand tasting was held on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and featured cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs as well as international wines and food from local restaurants. I attended on Sunday afternoon.

The tasting was held at the Marble House located at 596 Bellevue Avenue, one of the many gilded-age mansions in Rhode Island overlooking Narragansett Bay that were built (for an obscene amount of money) for some of the early twentieth century robber barons. More specifically, the tasting was held in the backyard of the mansion.

The event raised money for the Preservation Society of Newport county which maintains and preserves the Marble House and other mansions which are open to the public.

As far as consumer food and wine events go, this festival is one of the best, with good food, an excellent selection of very drinkable wines and a killer view from the backyard.

I was happy to spend the afternoon noshing on some of the many cheeses available, on any paté from Les Trois Petits Cochons, on any cut of beef that the guys and gals from Dole & Bailey Grill manning the grills out back were serving and an amazingly good dish of seared scallop on a bed of pureed spinach with crispy bacon that was from a restaurant I didn’t write down. Of course, there was wine to wash that all down with.

 

Some of what I sampled:

2014 Miraval Rosé

2017 Chateau D’Esclans The Palm Rosé

2017 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé

2017 Simi Winery Rosé

 

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

2017 Qupé Marsanne

2014 Qupé Roussanne

2017 QTR Vineyards Chenin Blanc

2013 Anselmi Capitel Foscarino Soave

2016 Anselmi San Vicenzo Soave

 

2014 Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot Napa Valley

2015 The Prisoner Wine Co. Thorn Merlot

2015 Justin Vineyards Justification

2015 Justin Vineyards Isoscelles

2014 Smoking Gun Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville

2014 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Howell Mt.

2011 QTR Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt.

2013 QTR Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mt.

2014 QTR Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2016 Purple Hand Pinot Noir Stoller Vineyard

2016 Purple Hand Pinot Noir Kropf Vineyard

2014 Sbragia Vineyards Gino’s Zinfandel

2009 QTR Vineyards Dark Matter Zinfandel

2013 Altesino Brunello di Montalcino

 

USA Today Food & Wine Experience

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USA Today newspaper launched their 2018 Food & Wine Experience on June 16th in Cincinnati, Ohio. The 12 city tour will end on December 1st in Los Angeles, California and on Saturday September 8th, the tour arrived in New York City.

It’s an American culinary tour “showcasing the best food, wine, beer and spirits from local and national Chefs and Mixologists”. At the New York City event, Martha Steward was the featured celebrity Chef.

The festival was held at the Lefrak Center at lakeside in southeastern tip of Prospect Park in Brooklyn. This venue is an ice and roller skating ring when not used for events.

There were several themed areas, you entered through a kitchen mock-up, passing the beer tent and then passing “The Cellar” which hosted the seminars and the meet and greet with Martha Steward. This took you to  the main pavilion which is the skating ring and the pavilion was ringed with restaurants serving samples of sweet and savory dishes with an island in the middle serving wines and spirits. A two-piece string duo and a strolling saxophone player provided the musical entertainment with cooking demonstrations in the main pavilion. As is the case with many of these consumer events when general admission was let in, the lines at many of the popular food and drink stations got a bit too long for my taste but I was still able to sample several food and drink. The expected rains didn’t matterialize and everyone was able to enjoy the event.

 

Seminar: Unsung grape varietals of the world led by Sommelier A.J. Ojeda-Pons

NV Marques de Plata Cava Brut (Penedes): Light yellow with a greenish tint, sweet, funky nose, aged green apple on the finish.

2016 Jean Boisselier Bourgogne Aligote (Burgundy): Light yellow with a greenish tint, ripe honeydew on the nose, moderate, lemony, peachy fruit with moderate to low acids.

2016 Hayton Vineyards Viognier (Calif.): Light gold, canned peaches on the nose, melon and lime notes on the fruit, good acidity.

2012 Bambera Tempranillo (Valdepenas): Opaque dark red, tar, leather and black cherry on the nose, tight and lean with crisp acidity on the red leather and black pepper finish.

 

Some of what I sampled:

2016 Racine Cote de Provence Rosè

2016 Marquis de Bacalan Sauvignon Blanc

2014 Caducseus White Blend

2015 Franciscan Chardonnay

2017 Marchese Antinori “Bramito” Chardonnay

2015 Erath Winery “Resplendent” Pinot Noir

2015 Kenwood Vineyards “6 Ridges” Pinot Noir

2015 Arrowood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

2016 Girard Winery Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Chateau Ste Michelle “Indian Wells” Merlot

2016 Michael David “6 Sense” Syrah

2015 El Portal Red Blend

2016 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon

Ommegang “Rosetta” Cherry Beer

Astral Tequila

 

 

Chefs & Champagne 2018

 

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On Saturday July 28th I attended the 28th annual James Beard Foundation’s Chef & Champagne gala. It’s a huge foodie fest with 35+ Chef tastings washed down with free-flowing wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyards, beer from Heineken and cocktails with Tito’s vodka. This years Champagne sponsor was Boizel which poured their Brut Reserve. At the event they held a silent auction and announced the recipient of the 2018 Christian Wölffer scholarship. The guest host this year was Padma Lakshmi.

The gala is part of JBF’s year-long “rise” celebration; “a salute to the countless ways our food community rises to meet the world’s challenges and make it more delicious, diverse and sustainable place for all”. The foundation was named after cookbook author, teacher and champion of American cuisine, James Beard. They maintain the James Beard House at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.

The festivities, as usual, were held on the grounds of the Wölffer Estate Vineyards on the South Fork of Long Island just east of the town of Bridgehampton at 183 Sagg Road in Sagaponack.

It was a typically hot and steamy July evening but fortunately the rains stayed away.

Some of what I sampled:

 

Gregory Goudet  SAGE RESTAURANT GROUP: Grilled Oregon Albacore with lemongrass, galangal, chile and lime. (My favorite)

Audrey Villages  2 SPRING: Shrimp Po’Boy with lemon aioli and lettuce cup.

Barbara Sibley  LA PALAPA: Tacos de Barbacoa, guajillo braised brisket tacos.

Alex Baker  YVE’S: Mussels Provencal with cherry tomatoes, garlic croutons and parsley.

Angie Rito, Scott Tacinelli  DON ANGIE: Vitello Tonnato.

Roxanne Spruance  KINGSLEY: Grilled Angus Beef short ribs with pecan Barbacoa sauce, heirloom lettuce, buttermilk and goat cheese.

Janice Booth, Jeff Mcinnis  ROOT & BONE: Wood grilled oysters with greenneck butter and charred bread.

Ayesha Nurdjaja  SHUKA: Whipped Feta with watermelon and pistachio Dukkah.

Patti Jackson  DELAWARE & HUDSON: Duck Bratwurst with spiced peaches, mustard, chowchow and turnip sauerkraut on pretzel roll.

Tom Fraker  MELISSA’S PRODUCE: Tropical crab crostini with mango jelly.

Emma Bengtsson  AQUAVIT: Grilled Isterband sausage sliders.

Stephan Bogardus  NORTH FORK TABLE & INN: Corn soup with truffles.

Hillary Sterling  VIC’S: Marinated Albacore tuna with harissa, black olives, hazelnuts and mint.

Matthew Woolf  RAINBOW ROOM & BAR 65: Olive oil poached King salmon with charred leek emulsion, jersey corn puree, black garlic and corn crackling.

Jessica Craig  L’ARTUSI: Blueberry tartlette with lemon thyme and almonds.

 

 

Summer Fancy Food Show 2018

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The Summer Fancy Food Show was held in New York City on June 30-July 2nd and this year an additional day was added. This is the sister event to the Winter show held in San Francisco at the beginning of the year. The event was held at the Javits Convention Center at 655 West 34th Street in Manhattan.

It’s the largest specialty food show in North America and had many countries showcasing that country’s food products in addition to many small and large companies of specialty food products. There were a wide range of food products from A to Z. I strolled around the large venue sampling what I thought would be interesting, cured hams, many from Spain (with all due respect to my paesani, Spain has some of the best cured hams in the world), olives from around the world, and an eclectic selection of cheeses from small producers, many from the United States. There seemed to be many “healthy” snacks being marketed as well.  This years partner country was Greece.

The show wasn’t a wine fest but some producers had wine and cordials to sample.  VinItaly had a tasting bar which featured a rotating selection of regional Italian wines. When I stopped by they were pouring sparkling wines from the Trentino region which are not nearly as well-known as Prosecco.

 

Some wines I sampled:

2017 Macchie S. Maria Fiano di Avellino “Signifer”. Light yellow with a subtle  nose of hazelnuts, roast meat on the fruit, crisp acidity.

2009 Cantina della Vernaccia Vernaccia di Oristano “Juichissa”. Unusual white, clear brown, nutty, almond notes on the nose and fruit, very sherry like.

2016 Salton Winery Marselan. From Brazil’s oldest winery, Marselan is a hybrid blend between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, dark purple with crushed strawberry on the nose and big fruit.

2015 Salton Winery Tannat. Dark red with spice notes on the nose, chewy green nuts on the firm but balanced fruit, stem notes on the finish.

2012 Carash Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva. Dark red, roasted meat on the nose with bitter almond notes on the finish.

2013 Sartori Amarone. Dark red with an amber rim, crushed black fruit and tar on the nose, dense and juicy with bitter almond/cherry on the finish.

 

 

 

Pizza & Prosecco In Bushwick

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The Prosecco DOC Consortium wrapped up Prosecco week with a Prosecco and pizza garden party held at Roberta’s restaurant at 261 Moore Street in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The consortium is an organization which coordinates and manages Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controlatta, the controlled designation of origin).

The Consortium showcased Italy’s most popular sparking wine and Roberta’s, which has been ranked as one of the best pies in the country, provided the pizza so it was a perfect match.

The industrial area of Bushwick has been one of the last neighborhoods in New York City to be homesteaded, its empty, industry rich infrastructure given new life with trendy restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries to name a few. It’s also known for its street art (a.k.a. graffiti)

It was a nice warm afternoon for a garden party and about 10 different Prosecco were poured and though the line for the pizza was long, it was pretty tasty pizza.

 

Some of the Prosecco served:

Zonin

Villa Sandi

Mionetio

Carati 075 Millesimato

Ca’ di Rajo

La Marca

Astoria

Castello di Roncade