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

 

 

Bastille Day NYC 2017

 

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Bastille Day (July 14, 1789) celebrates French independence day. For over 20 years in New York City it has been celebrated with a three-block street festival on East 60th street between 5th and Lexington avenues in Manhattan.

The festival was run by the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) whose mission statement is to “create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the diversity and richness of French culture”. FIAF is the go-to organization in New York City for Francophiles to attend French cultural events including wine tastings, watch French cinema and learn the French language.

The block party had French themed performers, pastries, crepes and of course, Mimes. At their office on 22 East 60th street they held a “summer in the south” tasting which featured wines from Sud de France, Kronenbourg beer, Richard digestive, and cheese and charcuterie from trois petits cochons and President. They also held an after party at Amali restaurant on 115 East 60th which continued with more wine, beer and cheese.

 

 

 

Summer Fancy Food Show 2017

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The Fancy Food Show is North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event with over 2,400 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions. The Summer show is held annually in New York City while the winter show is held in San Francisco. This years partner country was Turkey.

The event was held at the Jacob K. Javits convention center at 655 West 34th Street in Manhattan. The event showcased anything from baked goods to vinegars including unusual products such as oxygenated water to the new “superberry” from Patagonia. As usual the event had loads of tasty hams and charcuterie from Spain and Italy, a myriad of cheeses, and cheese styles, specialty canned goods including tuna and anchovies, herbal teas and much more.

The food show is not a wine event but in the past you could count on the wine producing countries to have a booth or two serving wine. This year Italy as usual had a strong presence with the Vinitaly booth serving a rotating selection of Italian wines. Greece also a large contingent of wines poured but surprisingly, with the exception of one booth in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Chile and Argentina had no wines to sample.

 

Italy

NV Alta Versa Blanc de Blanc Pinot Nero Brut (Pavia). Medium gold, toasty bread notes on the nose, crisp with bread dough notes on the finish.

2015 Alta Versa Bonarda (Pavia). Sparking, dark purple, crushed rocks on the nose, slate, black licorice on the juicy fruit, bitter cherry on the finish.

2016 Medici Ermete Concerto Lambrusco (Emilia-Romagna). Black in color with a purple rim, grapey slate on the nose, dense and grapey fruit, crisp acids.

2011 Martino Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Dark red with an amber rim, fresh herbs and leather on the nose, tight, concentrated black leather fruit with firm acids.

2011 San Martino Aglianico del Vulture Kamai (Basilicata). Dark red, tar and black cherry on the nose, tarry dark fruit wit bitter cherry on the finish.

2011 Velusto Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Medium red, dusty black cherry on the nose, bitter cherry notes on the finish.

2013 Vino Nostrum Stupor Mundi Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata). Dark red with a brick rim, petroleum notes on the nose, chunky fruit with bitter black cherry on the finish.

 

Spain

2012 Burgo Viejo Reserva (Rioja). Medium red, cooked fruit and black licorice on the nose with bitter cherry on the firm finish.

2010 Palacio del Burgo Reserva (Rioja). 100% Tempranillo, medium to dark red, crushed black cherry on the nose, tight crushed rock and some petroleum on the fruit, firm acids on the finish.

2009 Graco Imperator (Rioja). 100% Tempranillo from a single vineyard, dark red with a perfume of sweet violets and tar, tart fruit with some heat at the end.  

 

 

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

 

 

 

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)