Matter of Taste New York 2018

 

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Wine critic and writer Robert Parker’s wine magazine, the Wine Advocate, hosts a series of global wine events throughout the year “bringing iconic wines of the world to Advocate’s members”. They host walk-around tastings, Master Classes and Dinners. In 2018 the journal hosted events in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on November 10th, their 40th anniversary addition of Matter of Taste New York City. The event was held this year as in last at the Conrad Hotel  located at 102 North End Avenue down the block from the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan.

This wine event is one of, if not the best consumer wine tasting of the year. The walk-around tasting featured a staggering amount (over 300) of some of the best wines from the wine producing countries of Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States.

At these mega-tastings, there are far too many wines to try to sample in one afternoon or at least sample all and still be standing by the end of the afternoon, so I did what I usually do at these huge events and focused my tasting. That meant meandering around the Bordeaux and California tables and stopping to sample outliers at Spain and Italy. I was able to attend one of the interesting master classes as well. I tasted a lot of good juice this afternoon.

Some of what I sampled:

 

New World

2014 Kistler Vineyards Chardonnay “Kistler Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Light gold, dusty nose with gun-metal notes on the moderate fruit.

2014 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay “Estate” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark gold, juicy tropical nose with tropical fruit and lime notes on the finish.

1996 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mt) Dark brick with a pretty perfume of sweet fruit and dark chocolate, chewy and dusty fruit with firm acids.

2002 Joseph Phelps Vineyard “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roasted coffee and dried leaf on the nose, chunky with some cooked fruit notes on the fruit, still has good balance.

2007 Crocker & Star Winery Cabernet Sauvignon “Stone Place” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red with dark red fruit on the nose, chunky and juicy with silky, firm tannins.

2008 Ramey Cellars “Pedregal” (Napa Valley) From a 3 acre plot, black in color, dried leaf and black licorice on the nose, chewy and thick with herb notes on the finish.

2013 Continuum Estate Red (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard and crushed red fruit on the nose with chewy, barnyard fruit.

2013 Donelan Family Syrah “Obsidian Vineyard” (Sonoma Valley) Medium red with dusty barnyard on the nose, thick and chunky with smoky, dusty fruit on the balanced finish.

2014 Opus One (Napa Valley) Opaque black, warm crushed black fruit on the nose, tight and concentrated with a silky, tight finish.

2014 Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Dancing Bear Ranch” (Napa Valley) Dark red, barnyard notes on the nose, dark chocolate on the fruit, firm tannins.

2014 Diamond Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Red Rock Terrace” (Napa Valley) Opaque dark purple, floral herbs on the nose, chewy with a nice grip on the balanced finish.

2014 Brion Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Moon Mt” (Napa Valley) Deep black in color, crushed red fruit on the nose, thick dark chocolate fruit, balanced, long finish.

2014 Harlan Estate “Harlan Estate” (Napa Valley) Dark red with dusty crushed red fruit with some barnyard notes on the finish.

2014 Krupp Bros. Cabernet Sauvignon “Stagecoach Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, crushed black fruit on the nose, chunky and chewy black licorice on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Pahlmeyer “Proprietary Red” (Napa Valley) Dark red in color, toasty red fruit on the nose with dusty red fruit.

2015 Gallica Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley) 96 cases made, medium red, dusty plums on the nose with concentrated dark red fruit with a dusty finish, balanced.

2015 J. Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir “West Block” (Sonoma Valley) From old vines (1869), Medium purple with dark fruit and a touch of pine on the nose, tight, chewy fruit with some tart notes on the finish.

 

Old World

2014 Domaine Jean Chartron Chevalier Montrachet “Clos des Chevaliers” (Burgundy) Light gold, dirty nose with lime notes on the finish.

2005 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Paulliac) Dark brick with an amber rim, crushed dark fruit, mint and some barnyard on the nose, chewy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate tannins and acids, long finish.

2005 Chateau Trotanoy (Pomerol) Dark red to black with an amber rim with a floral perfume, chewy with bell pepper notes on the tight and tannic finish.

2008 Chateau Pape-Clement (Pessac-Leognan) Black in color, dark chocolate on the nose, tight with frim tannins and acid.

2009 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou (St-Julien) Dark purple, closed nose of mint and bell pepper, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Black in color, dusty red fruit on the nose with slate notes on the fruit, silky tannins.

2010 Chateau Figeac (St-Emilion) Dark red, toasty crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose with dusty slate notes on the finish.

2015 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Very dark amber, warm cooked black on the nose with tight, silky tannins.

2007 Marchesi Antinori “Solaia” (Tuscany) Black as tar with silky red fruit, tight finish goes long.

2013 Marchesi Antinori “Tignanello” (Tuscany) Dark red, green herbs on the nose with very tight fruit.

2013 Tenuta Guido “Sassicaia” (Tuscany) Medium red, warm dried leaf on the nose, tight, moderate juicy fruit with firm acids.

2004 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Dark red to black with dusty, dried leaf notes on the nose, dusty fruit.

2014 Pingus “Pingus” (Ribera del Duero) Dark purple to black with an amber rim, slate notes on the nose, tight with gun metal notes on the dusty finish.

 

Master Class: A Preview of the 2016 Bordeaux Reds

From what I’ve been reading, the 2016 vintage in Bordeaux was weird. The first part of the year saw massive rains which worried the owners and wine makers that the vintage would be a washout, but then the rest of the year was bone dry which seems to have balanced things out and many are calling it an excellent vintage. At this seminar I was able to sample one white and thirteen reds, many of which were recently bottled. At this stage they haven’t had a chance to settle in, with that I found a lot of concentrated red fruit with robust tannins. These wines are built for aging, I would love to try this tasting again ten years from now.

Smith Haut-Lafite Blanc                Smith Haut-Lafite

Pape Clement                                   Leoville Barton

Pontet-Canet                                     Rauzan-Segla

Canon                                                 Peby Faugeres

Troplong Mondot                             Valandraud

Belair-Monage                                  La Fleur-Petrus

Trotanoy                                           La Conseillante

 

 

 

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Raw Wine New York 2018

 

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The 3rd annual New York City Raw Wine Fair was held on November 4-5. This is the latest stop in an itinerary that has stopped at or will stop at London, Berlin, Montreal and Los Angeles. The New York event was held in a warehouse venue at 99 Scott Avenue in trendy Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Raw Wine is “committed to empowering wine drinkers through real informed choices” with wines that have “emotion and living presence”. The fair was an opportunity to try low intervention organic, natural and biodynamic wines from over 140 wine makers and growers.

According to Beverage Media Group, a trade publication, “green wines” are a small niche in the United States with 1% of wines by volume but has grown by 10% volume growth outpacing total wine growth which is nearly flat. When it comes to natural, organic and biodynamic wines, the rules can be a little fuzzy but basically they are wines made with minimal manipulation. I remember a time when the selection of these wines were pretty limited and the common theme through most of them was “funky”.

I attended on Sunday afternoon which was a beautiful Autumn day and the venue was packed with people. These guys are the mad scientists of the wine world which made for a lot of interesting characters at the fest, most are small producers and I wasn’t familiar with many of the labels except for a couple of California producers. Usually at a mass tasting like this I try to have a focus on what I will try but today I just wandered around the rooms stopping at tables that looked interesting (and not have a mob of people surrounding it).

 

Some of what I sampled:

Couquelicot Estate (Santa Ynez Valley) 2015 Malbec, 2015 Rose & Son Red, 2016 Rose & Son Red

Lo-Fi Wines (Santa Barbara) 2016 Grenache Noir, 2017 Cabernet Franc Couquelicot Vineyard, 2017 Malbec

Hiyu Winery (Oregon) 2016 Falcon Box, 2016 Columba, 2015 Argo Iris

Swick Winery (Oregon) 2017 Pinot Noir, 2017 Bring It, 2017 Un Oeuf

Domaine de l’Ecu (Loire) 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Rednoz, 2015 Cabernet Franc Mephisto, 2017 Syrah Noblis

La Baronne (Rousillon) 2017 Grenache Gris De Jean, 2017 Les Chemins de Traverse

Chateau Guadet (St-Emillion) 2014 Grand Cru Classe Red

Closerie Saint Roc (Bordeaux) 2015, 2016 Red

Collina del Pernione (Lombardy) 2016 Agnore, 2017 Alma

I Mandorli (Tuscany) 2012 Sangiovese, 2015 Cabernet

Castello Poggiarello (Tuscany) 2012 Collerosso

Amepeleia (Tuscany) 2017 Cabernet Franc, 2017 Carignano

Il Monte (Veneto) 2016 Valpolicella Superiore, 2015 Amarone

Paolo & Lorenzo Marchionni (Tuscany) 2016 Rossovigliano, 2015 L’Erta Poggio della Bruna

 

 

 

Wine Spectator’s NY Wine Experience 2018

 

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Wine Spectator magazine held its 38th annual New York Wine Experience on October 18-20. It was three days of sit-down seminars, wine pairing lunches, a critics’ choice Grand Tasting and a Grand Award banquet. Proceeds from the event go to support the Wine Spectator scholarship foundation.

The Grand Tastings were held on Thursday and Friday evening. They were one of the best if not the best wine tastings of the year. It was two floors of over 269 participating wineries/chateaus pouring wines that have been rated 90 points or higher on the Wine Spectator ratings scale. Many of the owners and wine makers were on hand to pour and to talk about their wines.

The event was held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the heart of Times Square, Manhattan at 1535 Broadway. This was a mega tasting that one day of sampling didn’t do it justice but one day was what I had, I attended on Friday night. With so many great wines available I had to narrow my focus on what to drink. I decided to forgo white wines and Champagnes and narrow the tasting to Bordeaux and Napa Valley reds for the most part. Even with that I wasn’t able to get to all but I did my best. I drank some very, very nice juice.

The #1 wine of 2017 selected by Wine Spectator was the 2014 Duckhorn Merlot Three Palms Vineyard from Napa Valley.

 

New World

1993 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars “Fay” (Napa Valley) Medium brick, dusty nose of rusted metal, dried leaf notes on the good fruit and a long finish. Holding up well.

2008 Ridge Vineyards “Monte Bello” (Santa Cruz Mts) Opaque dark red to black, pretty perfume of fresh herbs, mint and red candy, chewy and chunky dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2008 Hall Cabernet Sauvignon “Jack’s Masterpiece” (Napa Valley) Black in color, roast nuts and crushed red fruit on the nose, thick, syrupy, dark chocolate on the fruit.

2009 Dominus Estate (Napa Valley) Red blend, opaque dark brick, tar, paint thinner on the nose, concentrated smoky fruit, tight, nice finish.

2010 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Vineyard “The OG” (Napa Valley) Thick black in color, crushed raspberry on the nose, thick and chewy, nice tannins.

2012 Harlan Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque medium red, roast nuts on the nose, chewy with silky firm tannin on the long finish.

2013 Kerr “Reserve” (Napa Valley) Black in color, crushed back fruit and ripe plum on the nose, thick, syrupy dark chocolate on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Clear dark purple, dark fruit on the nose, dusty, chewy red licorice on the fruit, moderate finish.

2014 Dariosh Cabernet Sauvignon “Darius II” (Napa Valley) Dark red to black, deep concentrated with chewy black licorice on the firm, balanced fruit, long finish.

2014 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon “Lot 1” (Napa Valley) Black, crushed black berries on the nose, chewy, minty with big acidity at the end.

2015 PlumpJack Cabernet Sauvignon “Oakville” (Napa Valley) Dark purple, purple rim, crushed red cherry on the nose, thick, juicy and toasty on the fruit.

2015 Joseph Phelps “Insignia” (Napa Valley) Black in color, toasty red berries on the nose, tight and concentrated with dark chocolate on the firm finish.

2015 Peter Michael “Les Pavots” (Knights Valley) Opaque dark red, crushed red fruit and red leather on the nose, concentrated with green herb notes on the fruit, balanced.

2015 Continuum “Sage Mt Vineyard” (Napa Valley) Black in color with a purple rim, crushed black fruit on the nose, thick and juicy with firm tannins at the end.

2015 Sinegal Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Black with a purple rim, crushed black fruit and dark chocolate on the nose, very chewy and concentrated, a big wine with a lip smacking finish.

2015 Staglin Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) Opaque dark red, sweet black cherry and roast nuts on the nose, red cherry fruit.

2016 Bergström Pinot Noir “Bergström Vineyard” (Dundee Hills) Light red, toasted nuts, bacon on the nose, black cherry on the fruit, tight finish.

 

Old World

2003 Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Pauillac) Dark amber, ripe plums, tar and leaf notes on the nose with oak notes on the balanced finish.

2005 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere (St-Emilion) Cloudy dark red, roasted tar and crushed red berries on the nose, starts juicy, tightens up at the finish.

2005 Chateau Montrose (St-Estephe) Cloudy black in color with a brick rim, herbs, roast meat and forest floor on the nose, finishes tight and hard.

2005 Chateau Pichon Longueville (Pauillac) Black with a red rim, crushed red berries and toasted nuts on the nose, very tight fruit that drops off, thought it was unbalanced.

2006 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac Leognan) Dark purple, sweet black cherry and turpentine on the nose, tight and chewy sweet fruit, firm tannins on the finish.

2008 Chateau Lafite Rothschild (Pauillac) Medium red, with sediment, green herbs on the nose, tight, light. Disappointing.

2008 Chateau Margaux (Margaux) Medium brick, toast and roast meat on the nose, tight with silky tannins on the finish.

2010 Chateau Pavie (St-Emilion) Opaqe dark red to black, mint and red leather on the nose, chewy with firm and silky tannins.

2011 Chateau Haut-Brion (Peassac Leognan) Dark amber, crushed dark fruit on the nose with sweet, dark fruit.

2011 Chateau Cheval-Blanc (St-Emilion) Opaque dark red, toast, roasted nuts on the nose, silky red fruit, firm, long finish.

2012 Bouchard Pere & Fils “Vigne de L’Enfant Jesus”(Burgundy) Light amber, ripe red fruit and mint on the nose, light cherry fruit, balances.

2012 Chateau Angelus (St-Emilion) Moderate red, toasty and green herbs on the nose. moderate fruit, nice balance.

2014 Chateau Canon (St-Emilion) Moderate purple, roasted bacon on the nose, tight, bright fruit, crisp finish.

2015 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) Dark red with a purple rim, barnyard on the nose, chewy red fruit with a long finish, nice balance.

2015 Chateau Lynch-Bages (Pauillac) Dark red to black, closed nose of roasted nuts, starts thick and chewy then drops to tight tannins.

2015 Clos Fourtet (St-Emilion) Opaque dark purple, vanilla on the nose, thick and chewy with good balance on the dark fruit.

***

2006 Vega Sicilia “Unico” (Ribera del Duero) Amber in color, toasty red cherry on the sweet dusty fruit with a moderate to long balanced finish.

2009 Tenuta dell Ornellaia “Masseto” (Tuscany) Medium brick, crushed cooked berries on the nose, starts chewy, finishes tight, long finish with some heat.  

2011 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino “Tenuta Greppo Riserva” (Tuscany) Light brick in color, red cherry on the nose, cherry leather on the fruit.

2013 Gaja Barolo “Sperss” (Piedmont) Light brick, roasted nuts on the nose, dusty, roasted meat on the light fruit, balanced.

2014 Pio Cesare Barberesco “Il Bricco” (Piedmont) Medium brick, tar, cherry leather on the nose, medium dusty, dried leaf on the fruit, ending with big acids.

 

 

 

Wine Fest At The Golden Nugget 2018

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On August 25th I attended the 7th annual International Wine Festival hosted by the Golden Nugget hotel and casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Golden Nugget, located at 600 Huron Avenue, is one of a handful of casinos in the Marina district of Atlantic City which is about three miles from the famous boardwalk.

It was a truly international wine event featuring over 100 wines from the United States, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Austria, New Zealand, Germany and even some sparkling wines from England. A live band provided musical entertainment and there was a nice buffet to go with all those wines.

Unlike many consumer wine tastings, the room never became overcrowded and I didn’t have to wait very long to get a sample of wine or to speak with one of the wine representatives that were on hand to answer questions.

Some of what I sampled:

Sparkling

2004 Paul Goerig Blanc de Blanc

NV Paul Goerig Rosé

NV Collet Brut Rosé

NV Coppola Sofia Brut Rosé

Rosé

2017 Mirabeau Classic Rosé

2017 Mirabeau Etoile Rosé

2017 Coppola Sofia Rosé

White

2015 Etude Chardonnay Grace Benoist Ranch

2015 Neyers Chardonnay

2017 Donati Family Chardonnay Unoaked

2014 Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape White

2015 Macon Lugny Les Charmes

Red

2016 Etude Pinot Noir Lyric

2015 Etude Pinot Noir Carneros

2014 Trione Winery Pinot Noir Russian River

2015 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir

2014 Neyers Zinfandel

2013 Trione Winery Henrey’s Blend

2014 Donati Family Claret

2012 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Riserva

2011 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico Il Solatio

2014 Ruffino Reserva Ducale Tan Label

2010 Arcanum Chianti Classico Reserva

2011 Arcanum Il Fauno

2014 Masi Campofiorin Roso

2012 Masi Costasera Amarone

2014 Andre Brunel Chateauneuf du Pape Les Cailloux Red

 

 

FIAF Bastille Day Party 2018

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July 14th is the French National Day, or Bastille Day which commemorates the storming of the Bastille during the French revolution.

In New York City on Sunday July 15th, FIAF (French Institute Alliance Francaise) has celebrated Bastille Day for over twenty years with a three-block long party on 60th Street in Manhattan.

FIAF is a private not for profit created in 1898 to “promote and enhance knowledge of French and Francophone culture” through cinema, lectures and language classes.

The fête featured live entertainment, street art, a French-themed market and a couple of wine tastings; a  jazz and Champagne event and a tasting of wines from the south of France provided by Sud de France. The tastings took place at their office at 22 East 60th Street.

As luck would have it, this year France made it to the finals of the World Cup which was played on this Sunday afternoon which added to the festivities of the day.

There was an after-party at Amali restaurant at 115 East 60th Street with free-flowing wine from the south of France , rum from Martinique and cider from Normandy.

 

 

La Nuit en Rosé 2018

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La Nuit en Rosé is the “world’s first festival dedicated exclusively to rosé wine” whose mission is to showcase the versatility and diversity of rosé. In addition to the event in New York City they have held the festival in Miami, Los Angeles and the Hamptons.

In New York the event was held on May 18 & 19 on the Hornblower yacht which is docked at Pier 40 on the west side of Manhattan.  They featured 100+ rosé plus food stations. Most of the wines poured were French with other countries thrown in here and there.

To me, rosé are like the sweatpants of the wine world, casual and comfortable and nothing to make a fuss about, if it’s dry I’ll drink it. On this Saturday afternoon Mother Nature did not cooperate as is was cold and rainy, but with a boatload of all you can drink rosé, a DJ and a dancefloor, the weather didn’t stop people from enjoying themselves.

Some of what I sampled:

 

French

NV Veuve Ambal Brut

NV De Chanceny Cremont de Loire Brut

NV GH Mumm Brut Rosé

NV Veuve du Vernay

NV Leoube

2017 AIX (Methuselah)

2017 Remy Pannier Rosé de Loire

2017 Listel Grain de Gris

2017 Domaine D’Hondrant Elle & Lui

2017 Diving Into Hampton Water

2017 Triennes

2017 La Chapelle Gordonne

2016 Mouton Cadet

2017 Romance du Loire Saumur

2017 Cantarelle Riviera Bistro

2017 Domaine Montrose

2017 Aime Roquesante

2017 Lurton Fumees Blanches

Others

2017 Day Owl

2017 Bonterra

2017 Frescobaldi Alie

2017 Danzante

 

 

Brooklyn Crush Spring 2018

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Brooklyn Crush is a biannual wine fest presented by NY Wine Events which hosts several wine-themed events throughout the year. The event showcased global wines and samplings of foods from local vendors.

The fest was held at Industry City, a large complex of reconverted warehouses located on 36th Street on the far west side in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The complex has a mix of commercial businesses where you could spend the day eating, drinking and shopping. It’s a destination venue in itself.

The event was held on May 12th and was open to the consumer for an afternoon and evening session. I attended that afternoon and this consumer event had more interesting wines than many of the similar wine fests I’ve attended so far this year.

 

Some of what I sampled:

Some nice Brazilian wines:

NV Cave Amadeu Rosé Brut

2013 Cave Geisse Nature

2016 Cave Geisse Brut

2013 Salton Winery Cabernet Franc

2015 Casa Perini Tannat

Others:

2015 Sparkling Point Brut

2015 Sparkling Point Topaz Imperial Brut Rosé

2017 90+ Cellars Lot 33 Rosé

2015 Ironside Cabernet Sauvignon

2015 Ferreira Carpenter Winery Montelpulciano

2016 Piazza Brothers Wine Room Amerone

2014 Jamesport Vineyards East End Cabernet Franc

2013 Dancing Coyote Petite Syrah

2017 Rhonea Vacqueyras White

2015 Atha Ruju Cannonau di Sardegna

2015 Castelucci Miano Perricone

2014 Don Tony Perez Petit Verdot

2014 Don Tony Perez Syrah

2015 Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

2015 Ruffino Il Ducale Red

2016 Roberto Ferraris Barbera d’Asti

Spirits:

Brooklyn Kura #14 Ginjo Nama Genshu (locally made saki)

Pallini Lemoncello

Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur

Taconic Distillery Founders Rye

Taconic Distillery Private Reserve Bourbon

Interesting Nibbles:

Ends Meat (charcuterie made in Industry City)

Buli Olive Oil (from Tuscany)

Les Trois Petits Conchon (paté)