Sparkling Wines Of Long Island

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Everyone starts the New Year with a glass of sparkling wine so on my next trip to wine country out East I decided to sample some of the sparkling wines produced in the area. Many feel that the cool climate of the Long Island wine-producing region is conducive for making sparkling wines which benefit from the higher acidity. All of these wines were made in the méthode champenoise method.


Martha Clara Vineyards: 6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead. Owned by the Entenmann family and anyone in the New York area who has ever satisfied a sweet tooth by picking up a box of cake or pastry from the local deli has had a product from the Entenmann family. One of those destination wineries with event spaces, art gallery and a petting zoo.

2005 Crémant Blanc. Estate fruit, 74% Chardonnay, 26% Pinot Noir. Gold in color with some copper notes, closed nose, crisp with bread dough notes on the fruit, crisp, clean with fresh bread on the finish.


Shinn Estate Vineyards: 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck. Founded in 1998, the first East coast winery to be solely powered by alternative energy and they use “holistic” farming techniques. They also produce brandy and eau de vie.

2010 Brut Blanc de Blanc. 100% Chardonnay. Light yellow in color with a greenish tint with crisp, green apple notes on the fruit, some bread notes on the crisp finish.


Sparkling Pointe Winery: 39750 County Road 48, Southold. A new member of the wine community on the North Fork that produces only sparkling wine. The wine making facility was completed the Summer of 2010 and they have 40 acres planted solely to the classic Champagne varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The tasting room was big and airy with couches and artwork, more lounge than tasting room. All of the artwork this week had a Brazilian theme.

2012 Brut. 38% Chardonnay, 38% Pinot Noir, 24% Reserve wines. Their flagship wine, light gold, clean with a hint of sweetness on the palate with a crisp and clean finish.




ABC’s Of Long Island

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ABC is an acronym for anything but Chardonnay or anything but Cabernet. That is a way to say that people should break out of their comfort zones of drinking the same thing all the time and try to drink other varietals other than Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon. Out on Long Island, the stalwart grapes are Chardonnay for white and early-ripening Merlot for red. There are other varietals planted, some more obscure than others and many with only a relatively few acres planted. On Sunday I took a trip out East to try those different and sometimes overlooked (for Long Island) wines.

Paumanok Vineyards: 1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue. One of the originals founded in 1983. A family run operation with the tasting room in a renovated turn of the century barn.

2014 Chenin Blanc. As far as I know the only Chenin grown out East, unoaked steel fermented 100% Chenin Blanc. Pale yellow in color, floral lemon and grapefruit on the nose with bright, clean fruit and a nice, crisp finish with lemon notes at the end.


One-Women Vineyards: 5195 Old North Road, Southold. Small winery with owner/winemaker Claudia Purita (the one-women), off the main road with a little red shack for a tasting room. They have a tasting room in Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan as well.

2014 Gruner Veltliner. The first and only producer of this Austrian varietal on Long Island with about four acres planted . Light yellow with some greenish tints, floral peach on the nose, peach and earth notes on the moderate fruit with good acidity on the balanced finish. This vintage is showing more fruit than the previous one.


Osprey’s Dominion Winery: 44075 Main Road, Peconic, Right off the main road with a large tasting room and picnic facilities.

2012 Carmenere. I believe the only winery to grow this varietal on Long Island with 2.25 acres planted. Originally planted in the Medoc region of France and one of the original six red grapes of Bordeaux, it is a member of the Cabernet family. Rare now in France, widely planted in Chile. Served in a small glass, inky black in color, crushed red berries on the nose, concentrated and silky with juicy mint and some smoke on the balanced finish.


Pelligrini  Vineyards: 23005 Main Road, Cutchogue. Founded in 1983 with a pretty tasting room and self guided tours of the barrel room.

2001 Petit Verdot. One of the red grape varietals of the Bordeaux blend and not too often bottled on its own. Served in a small glass, inky black with big dark cocoa on the nose with that dark chocolate, black and pepper and some smoke coming through on the fruit.


My pet peeve: One part of the enjoyment of wine is drinking it in the proper vessel. That’s why the mouthfeel of the wine is better in a glass than in a paper cup. I understand that in a tasting room when you are pouring flights of wine, they use small wine glasses that are basically oversized shot glasses. To serve a full glass of wine in one of those classes really takes away from the experience. Being able to swirl the wine and getting your nose into the glass for a sniff of the aromas adds to the pleasure of drinking the wine as well as permitting the wine to open up and show all the aromas. It doesn’t have to be a Reidel glass but just something big enough to swirl the wine.



GimmeJoy Holiday Soirée

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Tis the season for holiday parties. To me it seemed that there were less consumer holiday parties this year than last, a couple of big events that were held last December weren’t replicated this year, or maybe I was just out of the loop. I did manage to attend one holiday party last Saturday evening on December 19th which was the Gimmejoy holiday party. The event was run by the same organization that ran the Secret Summer food and cocktail festival last August at The Foundry in Long Island City.

This soirée was held at the “hip and funky” artists’ loft, Poverty Row, deep in the heart of Chinatown in Manhattan at 277 Grand Street.

This was a more intimate event than the Summer event and was scheduled to run to 2am. With a team of mixologist making craft cocktails, a holiday photo booth, a DJ, live music by the jazz duo Acute Inflection and some frolicking reindeer; a good time was had by all.


Long Island Wines On A Sunday

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This month has been unseasonably  warm for December so on Sunday I took advantage of the warm weather and took a day trip to the North Fork of Long Island to visit some of the wineries.

Pugliese Vineyards: 34515 Main Road, Cutchogue

One of the original wineries on the North Fork established in 1980. Family owned and operated, you will always find a family member in the tasting room pouring wines. Pugliese has always produced sparkling wines and from what I understand, grow the only Sangiovese (about a couple of acres) on the Island.

2007 Blanc de Noir Nature Sparkling. Big copper color, doughy notes on the nose, crisp with bread notes on the finish.

2010 Blanc de Blanc Brut Sparkling. Nose of cooked bread, rising dough, lemon curd on the very ripe fruit.

2009 Merlot Sparkling. Fizzy with sweet herbs on the nose, moderate fruit with some green notes. Reminded me of a Lambrusco.

2012 Sangiovese. Medium to light red with pumpkin pie spices on the nose, tight and tart.


Lenz Winery: 38355 Route 25, Peconic

Another of the original wineries, founded in 1978 and having some the most mature vineyards in the area. I appreciate that they don’t release their wines too soon so you can try whites with some bottle age.

2012 Chardonnay “White Label”. Cold-fermented, gold in color with apricot on the nose, nice balance.

2013 Chardonnay “Gold Label”. Gold in color, toasty nose, dry with some oak on the fruit.

2012 Gewürztraminer. Light yellow with greenish tints, very aromatic, sweet floral, moderate fruit, low acid.

2012 Merlot. Medium to dark red, black cherry on the nose with toasty, black ripe leather on the fruit.


Duckwalk Vineyards North: 44535 Main Road, Southhold

The main winery is on the South Fork, this is the North Fork tasting room.

2014 Pinot Grigio. Light yellow in color, floral with some tropical notes on the fruit.


Sherwood House Vineyards: 1291 Main Road, Jamesport

The tasting room is in a comfortable 1860’s farmhouse connected to an antique shop barn where you can sip your wine around a fireplace.

2013 Chardonnay “Oregon Road”. The house chardonnay, last glass of the day, nice sipper.

Sunday Afternoon Wine In Chelsea

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This time of year are the dog days for wine events, the trade tastings slow down and most of consumer events are holiday cocktail parties. So I was happy to see that one of the Meetup groups I belong to was going to this wine tasting on a Sunday afternoon. Billed as “old world wines in an old world wine bar” the event took place at the Pierre Loti wine bar on 258 West 15th Street in Chelsea, Manhattan. The wine bar is one of a trio of similarly named wine bars in Manhattan named after a late 19th century French novelist, travel writer, naval sea captain and all around bon vivant  who become something of a national hero in Turkey.

The wine bar itself was small with a horseshoe shaped bar dominating the space. Apparently my Meetup group wasn’t the only group invited and the bar quickly filled up. The bartenders did a heroic job of pouring and explaining the wines to the many people elbowing their way to the bar. Cheeses and charcuterie were served with some nice juice and a good crowd making for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

NV Canard-Duchêne Champagne Brut (Champagne). Dry and crisp with none of the yeasty notes.

2013 Juliette Chenu Sauvignon (Pays D’OC). Stinky peaches on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Domaine Pepaquié Cote du Rhone Blanc (Rhone). Peachy notes, easy drinking.

2014 I Stefanini Soave Classico Monte De Toni (Veneto). Floral, white flowers on the nose, tart.

2012 I Stefanini Soave Classico Mont De Toni (Veneto). Sweet lime juice on the nose, green herbs on the tart fruit.

2013 Baldovino Tenuta I Fauri Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo (Abruzzo). Red licorice on the nose, tight, dusty with dried herbs on the tart finish.

2010 Bodega Classica Hacienda Lopez de Haro Crianza (Rioja). Fragrant perfume of dark violets and tar, tight, silky and firm, some heat.

2004 Blason d’Issan Grand Cru Classe (Margaux). Big nose of tar and black cherry, dusty, green stems on the fruit, velvety with moderate to low tannin.

2004 Chateau d’Issan Grand Cru Classe (Margaux). Fragrant nose of crushed stone, tight and dense with firm acids oak on the finish.

2002 Chateau Lagrange Grand Cru Classe (St.-Julien). Stewed prunes on the nose, tight and dusty on the finish.

2013 Tokaji Kardos Late Harvest  (Hungary). Peach and apricot notes, not too sweet, low acids.




Brooklyn Crush 2015

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This past Saturday I attended the Autumn edition of the Brooklyn Crush wine & artisanal food festival. The event is the first part of the duo of wine events run by NY Wine Events with the other event next weekend.

The event was held at the Industry City event space at 882 3rd Avenue on the waterfront in the manufacturing district of Sunset Park, Brooklyn just off the Gowanus Expressway. The event is more of a wine party than a wine tasting with mostly second tier wines poured, and it seems that they cut back on the quantity of wines this year,  I felt that there were fewer choices available this time around. They were two sessions that day an afternoon and an evening session and I attended the afternoon session. There were several food station sprinkled throughout the room.

Some of what I sampled:


2013 Alamos Torrnetes

2014 Latium Soave

2014 Standing Stone Riesling

2014 Palmer Chardonnay

2014 Jamesport Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc

2013 Hermann Wiemer Gewurtztraminer

2013 Lammershoek White

2013 Remhoogte Chenin Blanc

2014 BQE Rosé Cabernet Franc


2012 Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc

2013 Banshee Pinot Noir

2013 Moric Blaufrankisch

2011 Dievole Chianti Classico

2013 Latium Valpolicella

2014 Crivelli Ruché

2013 Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon

2014 Alamos “Red Blend”

2014 Alamos Malbec

2013 Remhoogte Merlot


Somm Slam 2015

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October 25-27 was the 10th year of the International Chefs Congress, (ICC) which explored “the future of food and drink”. It was three days of cooking demonstrations, food, wine and bartender workshops and wine tasting seminars as well as the opportunity to sample very tasty food and cocktails. It was also the 6th annual Somm Slam competition and I was one of the judges for the event. Ten Sommelier competed against each other to be number one. The completion was held over the course of two days. On day one, the Somms were divided into two groups of five and each group was given a savory dish to pair with the wines (and beer) that were available. We, the judges rated each choice. After the first day the field was narrowed down to five who competed on the second day to determine the winner. The event was held at the Brooklyn Expo Center on 79 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Chef Evan Hennessey/ Stages At One Washington, Dover NH

Round 1: Oyster Stew: Great bay oysters, sea blight, sea rocket, smoked Pollack cracker and oyster chips.

Ashley Broshious/ Arkestone Vineyards, Napa CA

Nicholas Daddona/ Boston Harbor Hotel, Boston MA

Steven McDonald/ Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, Houston TX

Daneil Toral/ 50 Eggs, Miami FL

Andrea Morris/ Jean-Georges, New York NY

Round 2: Glazed hanger steak, ground ivy, white garlic, caramelized spinach, trumpet mushroom and petite brassica.

Michael Dolinski/Junoon Restaurant, New York NY

Jordan Egan/The NoMad, New York NY

Todd Lipman/Bistro Du Midi, Boston MA

Winn Roberton/Bourbon Steak, Washington DC

Michael Duffy/Bowery Meat Co., New York NY

The ten Somms were pared down to five for the final part of the competition on Tuesday. The winner of the 2015 Somm Slam was Daniel Toral with Andrea Morris and Nicholas Daddona tying for second place.

Wine Spectator Awards Banquet 2015

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This year was the 35th anniversary of Wine Spectator’s New York Wine Experience. Three days of high-end tastings and seminars ending with the Grand Award Banquet on Saturday. The grand tastings on Thursday and Friday featured some outstanding wines, unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend those but I did attend the banquet on Saturday. At that banquet the Spectator presented the 2015 Grand Award winners and the 2014 Wine of the Year award which was 2011 Dow’s vintage port. They also presented the Distinguished Service award to Bill Harlan of Harlan Estate and one of his wines was poured at the dinner. The event as usual was held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, Manhattan and the entertainment was provided by Huey Lewis and the News.

The night was started with a Champagne reception of some very nice sparklers and then followed by dinner. I was surprised they only served two wines instead of the normal three with dinner until I found out the price of the Maiden.

Champagne Reception

2002 Salon Brut Blanc de Blanc Le Mesnil

NV Tattinger Brut Rosé Prestige

NV Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée

NV Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve

NV Louis Roederer Brut Premier

NV Piper-Hiedsieck Brut

NV Henriot Brut Souverain

Dinner and Wines Served

Heirloom Tomato and Burrata Salad with Arugula, Citrus Oil and Maldon Salt

2012 Sterling Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve (Napa Valley) Ripe green apple and oak on the nose with tropical fruit and oak on the fruit, moderate fruit. Big time oaky Chard.

Petite Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Fig-Braised Beef Short Rib Served with Bone Marrow Hedgehog Mushroom Pudding, Sweet Potato Puree and Fall Harvest Vegetables.

2012 Harlan Estate “The Maiden” (Napa Valley). Dark red to black in color, brambly, dried herbs, tight and concentrated, on the finish I was getting green olives, tobacco and dark chocolate. Started out as a fruit bomb but the finish tightened up with complex layers, still young.

Carmel and Vanilla Chocolate Bar with Brown Bread Ice Cream


A Grand Tasting & Meat On The Grill

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One of the events at the Food Network food and wine fest that I look forward to attending is the Grand Tasting. Samples from over 200 of the city’s best restaurants, chefs from the cooking channel and of course plenty of wine and spirits to sample and a lot of people enjoying it all. They had a separate “Wine Gems Collection” room that poured some extra nice juice. It was held at the aircraft hanger sized Pier 94 on 55th Street and 12th Avenue.

After the Grand Tasting, nearby was another event, Meatopia whose motto of the afternoon was “meat, drink, fire, music, the ultimate meat lover’s feast”. The event was held on the rooftop of what once was a parking lot overlooking the East River. It was a crisp Autumn afternoon of meat on the grill, smoke in the air, drink in hand and live music with a great view of the New York City skyline.

Some of what I sampled:

2012 Flowers Winery Chardonnay “Camp Meeting Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Big nose of ripe mango and vanilla with ripe fruit and you can taste the oak on the finish.

2011 Flowers Winery Pinot Noir “Seaview Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Light brick in color with dark cherry and turned earth on the nose, cola and red cherry notes on the balanced finish.

2013 Seaglass Vineyards Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara). Medium brick in color with smoky cola on the nose, spicy fruit on the balanced finish.

2012 Paon Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Mt Veeder). Black, crushed red fruit and mint on the nose, thick, dense, silky tannin, herbs on the balanced finish. Big wine.

2011 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley). Black, closed nose of dark chocolate, dusty herbs on the fruit, firm tannin on the finish.

2011 Inglenook Estate Cabernet Sauvignon “Cask” (Napa Valley). Inky black, dried leaf and black pepper on the nose, dense black licorice fruit with great balance.

2010 Inglenook Estate “Rubicon” (Napa Valley). Inky black with a big nose of tar and crushed black cherry, tight silky tannin, firm finish.

2012 Emmolo Merlot (Napa Valley). Inky black, crushed black berries on the nose, with dense licorice sweet fruit. Thick.

2013 Coppola Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Directors Cut” (Alexander Valley). Black with crushed black fruit on the nose and thick and chewy black fruit.

2010 Torres “Mas La Plana” (Penedes). 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, decanted from a magnum, dark purple with leaf and dark plum on the nose, concentrated fruit.

2012 Tignanello (Tuscany). Dark red, closed nose, dusty, tight dark fruit with firm graphite on the finish.

2010 Alain Voge Cornas “Vielles Vignes” (Rhone). Medium purple with dried herbs on the nose, sour cherry on the finish.

2012 Domaine de Beaurenard Chateauneuf du Pape (Rhone). Medium purple, closed nose of slate, juicy fruit.

2012 Louis Max Charmes-Chambertin Grand Cru (Burgundy). Medium red, feminine perfume of crushed plums, tight, silky, smoky fruit, firm astringentcy at the finish.

2012 Louis Max Clos Vougeot Grand Cru (Burgundy). Brick color with warm crushed red fruit on the nose, tight with moderate tannins and acid, moderate to long finish.

2005 Marquis de Riscal Gran Reserva (Rioja). Dark brick with warm cooked berries and mint on the nose, chewy black licorice fruit and nicely balanced on the long tarry finish. Nice.

2010 Marquis de Riscal “Baron de Chirel” Reserva (Rioja). They tell me this isn’t available in the States, some Cabernet added, dark red to black with dried leaf and mint on the nose, herb notes on the silky and concentrated fruit, balance.

Food Network Cocktails, Caviar, Champagne and a Seminar

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The annual Food Network Food & Wine Festival began this week on Thursday. It’s a fun week of food, spirits, and parties. I began the festivities Saturday attending a wine seminar and a caviar, cocktails and champagne event.


The World’s Top Wine Estates hosted by Ray Isle

NV Drappier Brut Natural (Champagne).  An unusual dark copper color, yeasty, green apple on the nose, very tart green apple on the finish. No dosage added.

2013 Schloss Johannsberg Riesling “Silberlack Erstes Gewachs” (Rheingau). Medium yellow, dusty closed nose, tight fruit, closed, tart.

2013 Chateau La Louviere Blanc Pessac-Leognan (Bordeaux). Light yellow with greenish tints, turned dirt and green vegetable on the nose, toast notes on the fruit, mouth-watering astringency.

2012 Flowers Chardonnay Estate “Camp Meeting Ridge” (Sonoma Coast). Gold in color with ripe papaya and a hint of barnyard on the nose with lemon custard and crushed rocks on the fruit and finishes tight.

2009 Badia a Passignano Chianti Classico Gran Selezione (Tuscany). Dark brick in color with a big perfume of fresh rosemary and dark leather, concentrated, chunky and tight, silky tannin.

2012 Coudelet de Beaucastel Cotes du Rhone Rouge (Rhone). Dark red with crushed red berry and slate on the nose, chewy, dense fruit, stone, silky tannin on the long finish. Tasty.

2009 Mayacamas Cabernet Sauvignon “Mt Veeder” (Napa). Inky black with crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, dense and concentrated with cedar notes on the finish.

2011 Graham’s Quinta Dos Malvedos (Portugal). Black in color with cooked fruit and wet rocks on the nose, dense, very tight at the end with big tannin.

Later that afternoon, I attended the Delta Airlines sponsored Caviar, Champagne and Cocktails event at the Wayfarer at 101 West 57th Street in Manhattan. It was a big cocktail party with Caviars provided by Paramount Caviar, Champagnes from Henriot and various cocktails such as the Kentucky 75, Devil in a Red Dress, Courvoisier Cooler and the Courvoisier Classic. I’m not a huge fan of caviar but I did like the hackleback which were small pearls of very buttery tastiness. It was a fun party.