Brooklyn Reserve


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On Saturday March 2nd, City Farm, an entertainment production and marketing agency held its 2nd annual Brooklyn Reserve, a wine, beer & larder festival. The event “celebrates the passionate makers of the culinary world by connecting audiences to local and international producers”.

It was an opportunity to sample 30+ local and international wines, beer and a trio of Russian vodka with artisan bites from local restaurants.

The event was held at The Bell House located at 149 7th Street in the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn. It’s an event space in an old warehouse in the middle of nowhere just off of the Gowanus Canal.

The closest subway station, the Smith-9th Street station G and F train stop has the distinction of, at 87.5 feet high, of being the highest rapid mass transit station in the New York City subway system, and indeed in the world. It was built that high to accommodate the tall-masted that used the Gowanus Canal below it. It does have a spectacular view of the surrounding area at the top of the station.

The wines were from small, off the radar producers but very drinkable and music by the Jerome Sabbagh Trio. It was an enjoyable afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:


Maria Rigol Ordi Brut Nature Reserva Cava

2018 Caractere Unique Saint Chinian Blance

2017 Colombier Muscadet

2015 Chateau La Fleur Grand Landes Montagne St. Emillion

2016 Chateau Manos Cadillac

2015 Chateau de Peyguerol Costieres de Nimes

2016 Li’Infi Cahors

2017 San Marcello Lacrima di Morro D’Alba

2016 Barking Dog Old Vine Zinfandel



Pét-Nat On Long Island


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Pét-Nat (pétillant natural) wines are how they made sparkling wines in the old country (methode ancestral) before they came up with the methode champenoise method. Simply, after the wine undergoes its initial fermentation, it’s put in a bottle and capped while the wine continues to ferment and releases carbon dioxide into the wine. That’s simpler than the two-step process used in making Champagne. The wines are usually not disgorged or filtered which gives them a cloudy look with sediment at the bottom of the bottle.

This type of wine is trendy right now so it’s not surprising that some wineries on Long Island would produce them though they are in limited production as I found out when I went out for a tasting. I showed up at a couple of wineries that I knew poured pét-nats from previous visits only to find they were all out and the current inventory were still in the cellar.

I was still able to find a few to try. Anyone who enjoys a nice Lambrusco from Italy would like these wines. The ones I tried were crisp and refreshing and would be perfect for the upcoming warmer days.  


Peconic Cellar Door 2885 Peconic Lane, Peconic

This is a small tasting room opened by the wine makers from BQE and Saltbird Cellars and is adjacent to another tasting room (Winemakers Studio). They pour wines from small producers who don’t have their own tasting facilities.


2018 As If Wines “GratitudeGewürztraminer

Orange hue, green apple on the nose, clear with sediment at the bottom of the bottle, dry and crisp with orange notes on the finish.




Jamesport Vineyards  1216 Main Road, Jamesport

One of the first wineries you run into on the north fork wine trail as you drive East with one of the oldest vineyards on the North Fork. The tasting room is in a 165 year old barn.  


2016 Albarino

Cloudy medium yellow, lemon, pineapple and green apple on the nose, crisp and bone dry with flinty notes on the finish.


2015 Cabernet Franc

Clear copper with sediment at the bottom of the bottle, hints of strawberry on the nose, tight with lemony tartness on the finish. A bit more one-dimensional than the Albarino.




Craft Distillers Festival

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This past Saturday I attended the annual New York City Craft Distillers Festival. A pre-prohibition themed event of over 60 craft spirits with a live jazz style band.

A century ago New York States breweries and distilleries produced oceans of spirits made from local ingredients. The Volstead Act changed all that and Prohibition shut down most of those distilleries and breweries. The industry began to recover in the early 21st Century when the State laws regulating distilling were loosen which resulted in the explosion of local micro-distilleries and breweries. There are about 30 craft distillers and counting in New York State with some in Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx.

The event was held at the hip Bowery Hotel at 335 Bowery in Manhattan,  a castle-like venue. There were plenty of local whiskeys, gins, vodkas, tequilas, fruit-based eau di vie and even some absinthe.

With live music and people enjoying unlimited spirits, it was a party.

Some of the Distillers I sampled from:

Orange County Distillery

Cooperstown Distillery

Catskill Distilling Co.

Standard Spirit

Tres Papalote Mezcal

Black Button Distillery

Hillrock Distillery

Valentine Distilling Co.

Widow Jane

Tirado Distillery



Bad-Ass Reds

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New York Vintners is a wine shop on 21 Warren Street in downtown Manhattan, a stones throw away from the Trade Center memorial. It’s a very small wine shop that has an event space and kitchen in the back room. They put that back room to good use hosting many wine and food themed events. On Sunday I attended the Bad-Ass Reds wine class which was a sit down tasting of seven wines. The house Sommelier was on hand to discuss the wines.

2015 Manique Rosé of Pinot Noir (Argentina). Not one of the bad-ass reds but the aperitif wine, salmon in color with green herbs and damp earth on the nose, tart red cherry fruit.

2014 Castello di Verduno “Basadone” (Piedmont). Made from the obscure Pelaverga grape varietal, red amber, closed nose of tree bark with more fruit than the color would suggest, silky fruit with earth notes with silky tannin and moderate acids at the end. Different but tasty.

2014 Sean Minor Pinot Noir (Central Coast). Dark red, red cherry jam on the nose, juicy with mint and toast notes on the nose, crisp and balanced finish.

2006 Chateau Clairefont (Margaux). Black with an amber robe, violets, dried leaf on the nose, chunky, mint notes, balanced tannin and acids on the finish.

2005 Calabretta “Nerello Masalese” (Sicily). Dark red with an amber robe, crushed red fruit and slate on the nose, stewed fruit notes, silky tannin and black licorice on the finish.

2013 My Essential Red Blend (Santa Ynez). Black with a purple robe, crushed dark fruit and crushed rocks on the nose, chunky, chewy with dill notes on the juicy and jammy finish.

2013 Tikal “Patriota” (Argentina). A blend of Malbec and Bonarda, black with a purple robe, dark chocolate and anise on the nose, chunky and chewy with firm tannin and acids at the finish.



Cabernet Franc On Long Island

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Cabernet Franc is one of the varietals used in the classic Bordeaux blend and of Chinon in the Loire Valley. It’s a thinner skinned and earlier ripening relative of Cabernet Sauvignon. At one time on Long Island there was talk around that Cabernet Franc was going to be the varietal that was going to put the region on the map. It was said that the cooler, maritime conditions of the North Fork were perfect for the grape. Alas, it was not to be, Cabernet Franc was never able to dethrone Merlot as the primary grape in the region and wine makers have begun experimenting with other red varietals such as Syrah and Malbec. Cabernet Franc is still used in the Bordeaux blends that the North Fork wineries bottle and is still bottled on its own though some wineries aren’t growing it anymore or  bottling  it as a single varietal.


2013 Roanoke Vineyards Cabernet Franc (North Fork LI). Had this at their Love Lane tasting room since the winery tasting room is for members only. Dark red in color, opaque, slate,  and black cherry on the nose with stewed prune notes as the wine opened up in the glass, dense and chunky with black cherry fruit, nice balance.


2013 Clovis Point Vineyards Cabernet Franc (North Fork LI). Relatively new winery, began with land purchased in 2001. Dark red to black in color with a purple robe, crushed rocks and dried herbs on the nose with crushed black fruit, chewy with firm tannin on the juicy, dark chocolate finish.


2012 Palmer Vineyards Cabernet Franc “Proprietor’s Reserve” (North Fork LI). One of North Fork’s original wineries. Dark amber with a brick robe and cloudy, red licorice on the nose, juicy, red fruit with notes of sour cherry, tart with some green notes on the finish.



Wine Riot Spring 2016

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This past weekend was the Spring time version of the biannual Second Glass Wine Riot fest which was held at the 69th Regiment Lexington Amory event space on 68 Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. It’s a multicity, twice a year wine party.

The booths were separated into wine regions and into wine varietals of mid-range wines that the large crowd of mostly young wine drinkers were soon swarming over.

There were lectures and food booths scattered about.


Some of what I sampled:

Doff & Irion Brut Rosé

The Chook Sparking Shiraz

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve

2014 Dashe Cellars Grenache Blanc

2014 Ramsay Chardonnay

2014 Demoiselles De Castelnau PicPoul

2014 Domaine Michael Buraud Macon-Villages

2013 LaFond Pinot Noir

2013 Lioco Carignan

2014 Valravn Zinfandel

2014 Slingshot Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 J. Lohr Los Osos Merlot

2013 Di Georgio Family Shiraz

2012 Famiglie Merlot

2014 Ca ‘Momi Rosso

2013 Ca “Momi Cabernet Sauvignon



Winter Rosé

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La Nuit en Rosé is the “world’s first food and wine festival dedicated to rosé wine” with rosé themed events in Los Angeles, Miami and London. In June they host the mega rosé event on the Hornblower yacht in Manhattan which features over 100 rosé wines and is one of the most fun wine events of the year. This past Saturday, they threw a rosé winter garden party.

The event was held at the Art Beam gallery on 540 West 21st Street on the far west side in Chelsea, Manhattan. The venue is across the street from the Chelsea Piers sports facilities and is a brick wall-lined industrial space that was made to look like, no surprise, an outdoor garden. They poured about half of what was poured at the Summer event but that was still plenty of wine to keep everyone happy. The event was open to the public with an afternoon and an evening session. I attended the evening session which soon became filled with a well-dressed crowd enjoying a night out drinking rosé wines.

Some of what I sampled:

Ferrari Brut Rosé

Ferrari Perle

2014 Chateau D’Esclans “Rock Angel”

2015 Chateau D’Esclans “Whispering Angel”

2015 Domaine Sautereau “Sancerre”

2014 Chateau Berne “Impatience”

2014 Domaine Royal de Jarras “Pink Flamingo”

2015 Maison Marcel

2014 Axel Des Vignes

2014 Domaine Bellevue “Touraine”

2014 Lardiley

2015 Domaine de Terravecchia

2014 Chateau de Pourcieux

2014 Chateau de Jonquieres “Cuvee Cersius”

2014 Notre Dame du Quatourze

2014 Chateau La Gordonne

2014 Barton & Gustier Rosé D’Anjou

2014 Domaine Montrose 



Beer, Bourbon, Bacon & BBQ

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This past Saturday the New York City stop on the 2016 Beer, Bourbon and BBQ fest tour took place. It’s an event that says it will “put a big apple in the mouth of the pig”. The event was held in two sessions, an afternoon event with a bacon focus and an evening event with a bbq focus with both events serving various beer, cider and copious amounts of whiskey.

The event was held at The Tunnel on 608 West 28th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan. It was at rail freight terminal, turned nightclub, turned event space with a very distinctive brick-lined tunnel shaped main room. Unlike last Saturday, the weather cooperated this time around and there was no blizzard to slow things down. I attended the evening session and it was crowded with a young, casual crowd.



Snowy Day & Pinot Days

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This past Saturday I attended the 5th annual Pinot Days wine fest. The event was held this year as in last, at City Winery on 155 Varick Street in Manhattan. Pinot Days, whose mantra is “serious wine, serious fun” is the largest gathering of Pinot Noir producers in the world. The events are held in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and this week in New York City. In New York over 35 producers were scheduled to show up for this event to pour Pinot Noir mainly from California with a table or two from Oregon and New Zealand as well. At the San Francisco event there over 100 producers in attendance , much more than the New York event but there was still plenty of juice to be sampled on Saturday.

Last Saturday was also the day that a massive snow storm was scheduled to hit the city. There was speculation from high to low on how much snow would actually fall in New York, in fact the city got hit with the second highest accumulation of snow since they started keeping records for that sort of thing in 1869 with the official count at 26.8 inches (68cm) of snow on the ground. That missed the record by just .1 inch. Since the vendors and winemakers were already in town for the event and the product was at the venue, the show went on despite the blizzard and frankly, indoors drinking good wine was probably the best thing to be doing during a raging snowstorm. Many wine drinkers managed to find their way down to Varick Street and the event was surprisingly crowded with many happy drinkers.

In my opinion the 2013 and 2014 Pinots were drinking very well. Some of what I sampled:


Sojourn Cellars

2014 Pinot Noir “Sangiacomo” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with bright cherry nose, silky with some earth on the finish, great balance.

2014 Pinot Noir “Ridgetop” (Sonoma Coast). Medium red with earth notes on the nose, silky with a moderate to long balanced finish.

Proprietor Craig Haserot was kind enough to pour some his limited release (300-400 cases) Cabernet Sauvignon which was mighty tasty juice.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Home Ranch” (Sonoma Valley). Dark red to black in color, dusty mint on the nose, chewy and silky, camphor on the firm tannin, great balance.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black with a pretty perfume of dark plum and licorice, silky dark fruit, concentrated with great balance.

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon “Beckstoffer Georges III Rutherford” (Napa Valley). Dark red with a purple robe, dark chocolate and dried herbs on the nose, tight and dense with firm tannins and acids on the end. The most austere of the three.

Lula Cellars

2012 Pinot Noir “Costa Vineyard” (Mendocino). From a five acre vineyard, medium red with turned earth and red cherry on the nose and bright, silky fruit and crisp acids.

Waits-Mast Family Cellars

2012 Pinot Noir “Mariah Vineyards” (Mendocino Ridge). From a very small production winery (50-100 case lots). Light brick in color, slate on the nose, chewy with dark chocolate on the nicely balanced finish.

2013 Pinot Noir “Nash Hill” (Anderson Valley). Light red in color, red cherry and earth on the nose, Asian spices on the fruit, moderate to long finish, balanced.

2013 Pinot Noir “Oppenlander” (Mendocino County). Light brick, smoky dark chocolate on the nose with smoky red cherry on the bright finish.

Panthea Winery

2011 Pinot Noir “Londer Vineyard” (Anderson Valley). Another small production winery (1500 case total). Medium red with a pretty perfume of with flowers, mint, silky dark fruit, nice balance on the moderate to long finish.

2012 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). From a 2.5 acre plot, light purple with dried herbs on the nose with juicy dark cherry fruit and silky acids at the end.

Trombetta Winery

2013 Pinot Noir “Gap’s Crown” (Sonoma Coast). Medium to dark red, prune notes on the nose with silky dark fruit and a great balance.

Chenoweth Winery

2012 Pinot Noir (Green Valley). Only 175 cases produced, medium red, spicy red fruit and some toast on the nose, juicy with firm acids.

Balo Vineyards

2014 Pinot Noir “Estate” (Anderson Valley). Medium red, dried herbs on the nose, bright cherry fruit with firm acids.

Brooks Note Winery

2013 Pinot Noir (Marin County). Very small producer with this bottling at 250 cases, light brick, turned earth on the nose, silky fruit, a little one dimensional but a nice glass of wine.

2013 Pinot Noir “Weir Vineyard” (Yorkville Highlands). 150 cases produced, light purple, tobacco on the nose, smoke, violets and tobacco on the hard finish.

Thomas Fogarty Winery

2012 Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mtn). Medium amber, barnyard on the nose with bright cherry herbs on the bright finish.

Bel Glos Winery

2014 Pinot Noir “Clark & Telephone” (Santa Maria Valley). Dark red, dried herbs on the nose with chewy dark chocolate fruit and good balance. An un pinot, pinot.

Mansfield Dunne Winery

2012 Pinot Noir “Peterson Vineyard” (Santa Lucia Highlands). Light brick with dusty oak on the nose, tight and silky.

Saintsbury Winery

2014 Pinot Noir “Lee Vineyard” (Carneros). Medium red, dried herbs on the nose with bright black cherry, crisp, moderate to long finish.

2014 Pinot Noir “Stanly Ranch” (Carneros). Closed nose, chewy and chunky dark fruit, good balance.

Bernardus Winery

2012 Pinot Noir “Pisoni Vineyard” (Santa Lucia Highlands). Medium clear red, crushed rocks on the nose, juicy, plummy, dark fruit, firm with some heat but tasty.




Wine Bars Of Queens

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Queens county is one of the five  boroughs that comprise the city of New York. It has the largest area and with a population of 2.3 million, the second most populous after Brooklyn. If Queens was an independent city it would be the fourth largest city in the United States.

It is also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world which means that there are many establishments that serve those various ethnic cuisines. Of course, wine bars are a part of that mix.

Many wine bars follow the same model of which they serve beer and ciders in addition to wine but usually no spirits. The space is usually small with a micro kitchen cranking out pannini and charcuterie. Hopefully there wont be a television in sight.


Wine Time Wine Bar: 40-15 235th Street, Douglaston.

This wine bar is in the North-Eastern fringe of Queens in a setting that’s more rural than urban and is tucked away right off the Douglaston LIRR station. It follows the formula of a small space, micro kitchen and votive candles on the tables. With an interesting wine list and someone on the guitar on the weekends. What I drank: 2014 Ca’Momi Zinfandel (Napa Valley).


BLVD: 4720 Center Boulevard, Long Island City.

This wine bar just celebrated its one year anniversary. It’s in a part of town that a few short years ago was deserted waterfront but is now full of luxury high-rise apartments. An “L” shaped bar with comfortable lighting with the usual suspects in the kitchen and a small out door terrace with a Manhattan view. In addition to their offerings on the wine list they have a quartet of wines on draught at reasonable prices. One of those is  a nice Cote du Rhone from Estezarques. This night I also had a Mont Marcal Brut Cava


Jack & Nellies: 10825 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills.

First time for me in this wine bar and on the rainy and windy weekday night I was there, the place was empty. I can’t see the wine list dark with candles on the bar and a small kitchen. What I drank: 2013 Broglia Il Doge Gavi (Piedmont), 2013 Vigna Madre Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo (Abruzzo).


Domaine Wine Bar: 5004 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

This one has been around for a while just steps from the No. 7 subway station. Small dark space with candles on the bar and  the usual micro kitchen. Even though the subway station is in front of the place, they never seem to get a crowd. The wine by the glass list is not too extensive. They do have an oyster happy hour. I had a glass of 2014 El Grano Carmenere (Chile).