Westchester Magazine’s Food & Wine Fest 2017

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This past June 6-11 Westchester Magazine held its annual food & wine festival. It was six days of culinary, wine and cocktail events with the signature event, the Grand Tasting Village held on Saturday afternoon. At the Grand Tasting 50+ local restaurants served their signature dishes, everything from pizza to tacos with 200+ wines and spirits to wash them down with.

It was an outdoor event held under the tents at the Kensico Dam Plaza in the Hamlet of Valhalla, Westchester, a sleepy village about a forty minute train ride north of Manhattan.  In addition to the many booths serving food and wine was the “connoisseur’s tent” where extra special juice was poured. It also offered a quiet space from the crowds in the general admission area.

Some of the wines I sampled:

 

Whites

NV Tattinger Brut La Francaise”

NV Moet Chandon Brut “Imperial”

2005 Tattinger Comtes de Champagne

2014 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Gris “Rotenberg”

2014 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Gerwurtrztraminer “Calcaire”

2008 Trimbach Riesling “Cuvee Frederic Emile”

2013 Alain Chavy Pugliny-Montrachet “Les Clavillons”

2013 Pierre Matrot Puligny-Montrachet “Combettes”

2015 Alois Lageder Pinot Grigio

2015 Infiné 1939 Pinot Grigio

2015 Au Bon Climat Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

2013 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Napa Valley

2015 Au Contraire Chardonnay Russian River Valley

 

Reds

2012 Penfolds “Grange”

2013 BV Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve “Georges de Latour”

2013 BV ‘Tapestry”

2013 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve “Knights Valley”

2013 Beringer Vineyards Napa Valley “Quantum”

2012 Stags’ Leap Winery “Ne Cede Malis”

2009 Chateau St Jean “Cinq Cepages” 1.5L

2013 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2014 Stonestreet Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2014 Columbia Crest “H3”

2007 Bertani Amarone

2014 Tenuta Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato”

2013 Secco-Bertani Original Vintage Edition

2010 Rocca della Macie “Sasyr”

2005 Faustino I  Rioja Gran Reserva

2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru

Amaro Lucano

 

 

 

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Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Fest 2017

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The 8th annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ festival kicked off its multi city tour this past Saturday, January 28th in Manhattan. Their motto is, Brew it, Taste it. Sip it. Pork it. It was a day of “down home Southern fried good time” to benefit the Spirit of Hope children foundation. There was plenty of beer, cider, whiskey and bbq for the crowd in addition to a DJ, cigars and beer games.  The event was held this year as in last at The Tunnel event space at 608 West 28th Street on the far West side of Manhattan.

After feasting on ribs, chicken and pork belly it was time to try several ryes, bourbons and ciders. Of the ciders that I tried, Angry Orchard wooden spoon was the most interesting, bone dry with wood notes on the finish.

 

Seminar: High End Whiskeys

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Single Barrel-Barrel Proof

Booker’s Bourbon Barrel Strength

Wild Turkey Bourbon Master’s Keep 17 Year

Bib & Tucker Bourbon

Jefferson’s Bourbon Ocean Aged

Sagamore Spirit Rye

 

 

A Grand Tasting, Porchetta & Mario

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The 9th annual Food Network Wine and Food festival whose motto is “eat, drink, end hunger” was held on October 13-16. It’s the largest food and wine festival in New York City with proceeds to help fight hunger benefiting no kid hungry and the food bank of New York City.  With over 100 events including dinners, seminars, hands-on classes, wine tastings and late night parties held at different venues throughout Manhattan, it’s four days of serious culinary partying.

On Saturday I attended the Porchetta, Pigs and Pints event hosted by Mario Batali. The event was held at the Standard Highline hotel Biergarten at the corner of Washington Street and Little West 12th Street in the trendy Meatpacking District of Manhattan. It was an evening of pig-centric food washed down with Italian wine, Mexican beer and cocktails with Four Roses Whiskey. Mario Batali was on hand for photos and to sign his cookbook.

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Grand Tasting at Pier 94 at 55th Street and the West Side Highway in Manhattan. An airplane hangar sized “130,000 square foot culinary wonderland” of food samples from local restaurants, wines and spirits and culinary demonstrations from culinary stars from the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. There was also the GEMS collection room presented by the Wine Spectator which featured high-end wines not available in the main hall. It was an afternoon of hundreds of people enjoying eating and drinking.

Some of the wines I sampled at the Grand Tasting:

2013 Lazy Creek Vineyards Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). Dark purple, brambly, dried herbs on the nose, thick and syrupy.

2012 Thomas George Pinot Noir “Bakers Ridge” (Russian River Valley). Medium brick, stewed fruit on the nose, juicy raspberry, low tannins and acids, easy drinking.

2014 Siduri Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). Medium to dark red, closed nose of roasted meat with cola on the moderate finish.

2012 Heritance Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford). Black in color, black cherry on the nose, dark and concentrated black fruit with nice balance.

2013 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley). Roasted nuts on the nose, chewy and chunky with dusty, mouth filling tannins with mint notes on the finish.

2012 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley).  Their flagship wine, a Bordeaux blend, dark purple to black in color, roasted meat and nuts on the nose, silky, minty fruit with a big mouthful of tannin at the finish.

2012 Stags Leap Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Fay” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black, closed nose, silky, dark fruit with great balance.

2012 Ferarri-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon PreVail “Back Forty” (Alexander Valley). 100% Cab, black in color with mint and crushed black fruit on the nose, chewy, roasted meat and tobacco on the firm and balanced finish.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “Pom” (Paso Robles). Decanted, primarily Merlot, dark red to black, crushed red fruit on the nose, juicy but framed with firm tannins, good balance.

2013 J Lohr Cuveé “St. E” (Paso Robles). Decanted, bordeaux blend, dark black, smoky, toasty, green olives on the nose, deeply concentrated black fruit, silky tannin on the firm finish.

2012 The Prisoner Wine Co. Merlot “Thorn” (Napa Valley), Dark red to black in color, strawberry jam on the nose, juicy fruit with coffee notes on the moderate finish.

2006 Bertani Amarone (Veneto). Dark brick, amber robe, red cherry and mint on the nose, silky, dark fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2010 Umani Ronchi Campo San Georgio Conero Riserva (Marche). Dark brick, tar, graphite on the nose, silky, concentrated, mint and tar notes on the fruit, moderate structure and a long finish.

2011 Castello D’Albola “Acciaiolo” (Tuscany). Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, black in color, strawberry jam on the nose and fruit, moderate tannins.

2010 Castello D’Albola Chianti Classico Gran Selezione “Il Solatio” (Tuscany). Medium brick, fresh herbs on the nose, concentrated, dusty fruit, finishing with a bit of astringency.

2011 Antinori “Guado al Tasso” (Tuscany). Bordeaux blend, dark red to black, roast meat on the nose, roasted nuts on the fruit, a hit of a mouthful of tannin at the end.

2008 Trefianco Carmignano Riserva (Tuscany). Dark brick, tight tannin, bacon, roast meat noteson the medium finish.

2009 Monsanto Chianti Classico “Riserva” (Tuscany). Magnum. Medium brick, spicy cherry nose, juicy, black cherry on the fruit with nice tannins on the balanced finish.

2005 Fontanfredda Barolo “La Rosa” (Piedmont). Brown brick with a brown robe, big tar nose, moderate tar and leather notes on the fruit, firm tarry finish.

2007 Nervo Barberesco (Piedmont). Magnum. Dark brick with a brown robe, tarry, red cherry nose, moderate fruit, tar, graphite on the moderate to long finish with firm tannins at the end.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Coste di Rose” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, tar, dried herbs on the nose, dusty fruit with big tannins and astringency on the finish.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Sarmassa” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, medium brick, red cherry and violet on the nose, tight with big tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Cannubi” (Piedmont). Single vineyard, dark brick in color, dried leaf and camphor on the nose, smoky tobacco on the finish with firm tannin.

2010 Marchese di Barolo “Barolo di Barolo” (Piedmont). Blend from various vineyards, dark purple with a brick robe, nice perfume of roses and fresh rosemary, tight with big dusty tannin at the end.

2013 Domaine Ponsot Clos del al Roche (Burgundy). Medium purple, roasted nuts on the nose, moderate red cherry fruit.

Oystoberfest New York City

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September 16-October 1st was Oyster Week in New York City. It was actually a couple of weeks oyster centric events at various venues throughout the city that celebrated the significant role of the oyster in the history, culture and economy of New York.

The geography of New York City harbor estuary was conducive to the production of oysters. In 1860 12 million of them were sold in New York markets . They became the classic New York snack by the 1800’s, the first real street food, cheap and plentiful and sold by street carts. By 1900 over-fishing and pollution caused them to disappear from the harbor.

I attended the grand finale event, Oystoberfest on Saturday evening. It was held on the cobblestone streets of the South Street Seaport in front of the old Fulton Fish Market. It was a casual, outdoor event with stalls of oysters being shucked all night. The oysters were served raw on the half shell and I added a mignonette of red wine vinegar, chopped onions and pepper to each oyster I sample in order to be consistent. Beer and wine were served and I made due with a generic white wine.

Excellent live music was provided by the band, “The National”.

What I sampled:

East Coast

Cape May Salt (New Jersey)

Fishers Island (New York)

Empire (New York)

Big Rock (Massachusetts)

Beach Soleil (New Brunswick)

Lucky Lime (Prince Edward Island)

Grand Isle (Louisiana)

 

West Coast

Olympic (Washington)

Purple Haze (Washington)

Little Skookum (Washington)

Imperial (California)

Beach Angels (British Columbia)

Kusshi (British Columbia)

 

 

Pig Island 2016

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This past Saturday afternoon, September 10th I attended the 7th annual Pig Island Porktacular BBQ festival.

Pig Island was created in 2010 to support New York pig farmers with hogs sourced directly from small farms. This year the pork was provided by Flying Pig Farms in Shushan New York.

The outdoor festival was held on the waterfront at Erie Basin Park in Red Hook, Brooklyn which is surrounded with plenty of reminders of its industrial past with monolithic cranes and rotting piers.

Over 25 Chefs served pork-centric dishes for us to sample along with craft beer, artisan spirits and cider, and the beer and cider came in handy since this Saturday was brutally hot, with temperatures atypical for this time of year in the mid 90’s (34°). I have to give Kudos to the pitmasters who practiced their craft over a hot grill in these temperatures.

 

 

Harvest East End 2016

 

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This past Saturday, August 20th I attended the 7th annual Dan’s Harvest East End food and wine event. It is the last of the trifecta of foodie events held on Long Island presented by Dan’s Paper and the Long Island Wine Council.

The event showcased North Fork Long Island wine and food with local wineries and restaurants in attendance.  It was hosted by Iron Chef’s cookbook author and restaurateur, Geoffrey Zakaria and featuring emcee Joshua Wesson, Sommelier and founder of Best Cellars.

The event was held in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island under the big tents at the McCall vineyard and ranch.

All of the local North Fork wineries were at the event pouring their wines along with several beer and spirit vendors. A trend that I noticed this year was that many of the wineries released a Viognier, some of which where better than others

It seemed to me that they cut back on resources than in the previous years, no live music and much less food stalls.

 

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Chefs & Champagne 2016

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This past Saturday, July 23th I attended the 26th annual James Beard Foundation’s Chefs and Champagne Summer tasting party. The event which raises funds for the philanthropic work of the Foundation, featured over 40 Chefs serving food many from JBF awarding winning restaurants. This years honoree was New Orleans Chef and restaurateur John Besh.

This event was held under the big tents at Wöllfer Estate Vineyards on 183 Sagg Road in Sagaponick, Long Island, just East of the town of Bridgehampton.

This year the free-flowing Champagne was sponsored by Baron de Rothschild which poured a NV Rosé, a NV Brut and a NV Blanc de Blanc. The wines were provided by Wöllfer Vineyards, beer from Goose Island and the Long Island Beer Co., and spirits by Tito’s Vodka.

It was a brutally hot day that cooled off nicely when the sun set, and my Kudos to the cooks that were manning the grills in all that heat. It was also a day of competing social events with several parties being held on this Saturday afternoon including Dan’s Taste of Two Forks which I felt took a little of the thunder out of this event. Still, it was an enjoyable afternoon of Champagne and tasty bites.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Roxanne Spruance: Fossil Farms Pork Belly with Nasturtium, Black Sesame and Cocoa Nibs

Christopher Cipollone: Madai Snapper Crudo with Avocado, Flowers and Farro

Angie Mar: Tomahawk Rib-Eye with Cherry-Garlic Compote

Cédric Vongerichten: Chilled Peekytoe Crab with Sesame Emulsion, Dukkah Spice, Avocado and Basil

Jonah Miller: Basque Dog, Chistorra Sausage with Piquillo Mostardo and Aioli

Dean Jones Max: Nantucket Oysters with Uni Vinaigrette

Julian Medina: Tacos de Pato; Fossil Farms Duck Carnitos with Charred Habanero-Tamarind Salsa and Micro Greens

Alex Bois: Smoke and Wood Bread; Local Flours with Whole Grains, Applewood Smoke Barley Malt, Roasted Shagbark Hickory

Tim Cushman: Kanpachi Sashimi with Vietnamese Mignonette, Fried Shallots, Thai Basil

Paul Kahan, Perry Hendrix: Grilled Octopus with Sumac

Damien O’Donnell: Montauk Fluke Crudo with Tomatillo Relish, Blue Corn Chips and Avocado Crema

Glenn Olsson, Marcus Widell: Shrimp Skagen 2.0

Anthony Lamas: Tuna “Old Fashioned” with Bluegrass Soy Bourbon Broth, Ginger, Pineapple and Orange

Eric Gabrynowicz: Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon with Gold Bar Squash. Tarragon, Tomato Confit and Corn

Brian Cheewing: Local Spicy Octopus and Corn Salad with Calabrian Chiles and Micro Cilantro

Maille Mustard: Watermelon-Feta Salad with Maille Mustard

Jiho Kim: “Ants On A Log”, Pumpernickel Cake with Rum-Raison Reduction and Peanut Butter Custard

Pichet Ong: Valrhona Chocolate with Cherry, Honey and Saffron

Alina Martell: Profiteroles with Strawberries and Cream